HOOKED ON CLASSICS
In this, our 160th year, Pearson is releasing two ‘anniversary jerseys’, classic, high-performance road cycling jerseys that commemorate two equally classic rides.
By Emma Winterson
Classic cycling routes attain such status for a reason. For some riders, that first taste of a classic route is enough to make them fall in love. For others it’s repetition, the familiarity turning a route into an old friend. In 2020, Pearson is celebrating its 160th anniversary. That makes us, officially, the world’s oldest cycling business. It all began in a blacksmith’s forge, in Surrey in 1860, where our founder, Tom Pearson, earned a reputation for exceptional metalwork. The bicycles he worked on served the same purpose as the road bikes and adventure bikes we make today, a way to escape the city and enjoy the freedom of the open road.
To celebrate this landmark year, we’ve created two road cycling jerseys, each celebrating a classic road ride or climb within easy reach of Pearson’s Sheen location.
The view of 248m high Ditchling Beacon at sunrise, for early risers, is just before 5am on the solstice weekend!
First up is our new To Brighton cycling jersey. London-to-Brighton is a Pearson favourite, a blend of rolling hills and A-roads which have been, recently, blissfully quiet. This 87km cycle route also sets out from Richmond Park, passing through Banstead and Battlebridge before delivering you to postcard-perfect villages – such as Old Selsfield and Wivelsfield – and too many good country pubs to mention. (When things reopen, we recommend The Cat, in West Hoathly, a beautiful, timbered drinking hole since the 16th century). Between lunch and the coast stands Ditchling Beacon. OK, it’s hardly Mont Ventoux but if there’s a stiff onshore breeze you’ll still notice the 248m elevation and the nine kilometres between you and Brighton.
The route is adorned on the inside of the "To Brighton" merino jersey, although safer to use a GPS whilst on the road.
Although not as much as you’ll notice them on the return journey, should you decide to double up. That route has hosted Pearson’s Brighton-and-Back ride on six occasions, the first being the 2010 edition when Pearson was a youthful 150 years old. Boasting the same performance features as its Box Hill counterpart, our To Brighton cycling jersey comes in a blue-and-red colour and features its own unique graphic.
Lining up alongside To Brighton, is Box Hill Loop, a summer cycling jersey every bit as classic as the route itself. Made from high-performance Sportwool, the soft, midweight fabric boasts natural performance properties. An all-black cycling jersey designed in keeping with Pearson’s commitment to sustainable manufacture, merino wool is a highly breathable and wicks sweat for exceptional moisture transfer. It also prevents odour build-up and so needs less washing.
Surrey's most visited cycling destination, largely for the coffee at the top.
As for the ride, the 70km loop sets out from Richmond Park, through the leafy suburbs of Ham and Cobham, before crossing Great Bookham Common. From there it’s on to Leatherhead and finally Box Hill. The total elevation gain is 589m, though Box Hill itself is a modest 129m. The average gradient is 5%, and never more than 8%, but there’s something special about the place.
During world war two, it was possible to stand on Box Hill at night and observe the Luftwaffe on their way to illuminate London. More recently, Box Hill featured in the Olympic Road Race, in 2012, when nine laps of the hill were included to insert some lumps into the course. On the day, Team GB arrived at Box Hill at the head of the peloton, with Mark Cavendish still very much in contention. In the end, victory went to Kazakhstan’s Alexander Vinokourov.
A perfect spin out of town and into the leafy Surrey lanes.
The cycling jersey created in honour of this famous Surrey lump has a full-length zip and, in the absence of a team car, three rear pockets to store supplies. A Pearson rose on the arm is your guarantee of quality, a hallmark first used by Tom Pearson in the 19th century. An additional Pearson logo features on the shoulder and the cycling jersey also features an exclusive Box Hill graphic.
Visit our Pearson 1860 Strava page to download some inspiring routes here.