Origin Stories

Pearson bikes are designed with personality and to celebrate all aspects of our national character. So, when it comes to choosing their names, we take inspiration from some unusual sources.

By Louise Waugh

I may be some time - Bike

The term ‘origin stories’ means different things to different people. To ancient and indigenous people, they were the oral narratives by which they recorded their own history. For the major religions of the world, they are predicated upon humanity’s interaction with the divine. In the secular present, they seem to be the starting point for every ‘journey’ of a modern celebrity or else central to Hollywood marketing strategies, in particular for those Marvel franchises not so gradually swallowing the industry via multiplexes and streaming.

What Wolverine has in common with Westminster Abbey is heritage. Where you’ve come from influences who you are. Many brands talk about heritage, and not just those trying to sell superhero lunchboxes. At Pearson 1860 however, we have something else to back it up - pedigree. Since Pearson first opened for business the world has seen big changes. Two world wars and revolution in Russia, the splitting of the atom, recognising female suffrage, the discovery of penicillin and witnessing humans landing on the Moon.

All Mod Cons - Bike

But changes can be modest too. Where once we repaired penny farthings, today Pearson House Design (PHD) offers the very best in precision bike-fitting and manufacture. It’s reassuring to know that after 159 years discerning cyclists continue to put their trust in Pearson.

There was a time we gave our bikes redoubtable names, those that seemed to fit the period, the age of empire and expansionism - not to mention the sheer effort required to ride those early bicycles. It persuaded our founder Tom Pearson to give his early machines names such as ‘Endeavour’ and ‘Pioneer’.

As one generation of Pearson has passed the torch to the next, those influences have changed too. One constant is that we’ve never been a company that goes in for exotic-sounding names, especially those that aren’t even words. You won’t, for example, find a Pearson Aventador, a Pearson LaPearson, or anything that sounds remotely like a supercar.

Not that it doesn’t work for some. Aston Martin hasn’t fared too badly with names such as Vanquish and Vantage adorning their marque but they’re happy to play the numbers game too. The DB6, for example, is shorthand for timeless style — the perfect conveyance for a suited-and-booted Bond.

At Pearson however, we take a less formal approach. For one thing, we believe cycling should be fun, a balm for body and soul. And when it comes to naming our bikes we prefer something a little more light-hearted. For all the precision and expertise that goes into creating our bikes and apparel, our products are given distinctive names that celebrate the quirks of our national character.

Just Killing Time - Bike

Some seem to pick themselves, those big-ticket cultural references. Hence you’ll find bikes in our range such as Objects in Motion (thank you, Sir Isaac Newton) and Summon the Blood (Shakespeare’s Henry V). But not all are dictated by the greats of science and art. Others are no more than catchphrases from a much-loved TV show for example, or lines from Britain’s rich musical history. I’ve Started So I’ll Finish, our race-focused cyclocross bike, takes its name from the catchphrase of legendary host Magnus Magnusson, from BBC quiz-show ‘Mastermind’. Magnusson himself was Icelandic rather than British yet given his ubiquity, he was quickly taken to British hearts.

We’re not precious about what inspires us; earworms, tunes we whistle during the day or even the idioms woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. Keeping company with the Bard and a beloved quizmaster, you’ll find the likes of Patrick McGoohan, star of Kafkaesque 1960s drama ‘The Prisoner’, whose imploring line, ‘I Am Not a Number’ adorns the top tube of our go-to carbon sportive bike.

Gillet - Cycling

Now in 2019, Pearson 1860 is launching a new line of clothing. In keeping with our ever-changing moods, it will feature a different set of conventions. For example, our upcoming Road Insulated Gilet has by our standards a relatively straightforward name; a ‘Colin’, perhaps where our bikes are more ‘Orlando’. But you’ll still find that Pearson sense of fun; the gilet story is inspired by the lyrics of 10cc — just as British and every bit as distinct. By naming them in this way we hope you find that Pearson products are not just designed to offer excellent performance but that they also have their own personality.

We hope you have enjoyed this article, please rate below, thank you

Authored By Will Pearson
Will represents one half of the fifth generation of the Pearson dynasty. He boasts a riding career of almost 50 years, having beaten his siblings to staying upright on a two-wheeler at the age of two and a half. Coaxed out of bed on Sunday mornings to ride cyclo-cross most of his younger life, his interest in cycling is also focussed in road and gravel adventure riding. Chiefly responsible for Pearson bike geometry, design and specification.
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