In reaching a Wimbledon singles semi-final, Cameron Norrie achieved a uniquely British form of sporting immortality. But his choice of off-court transport might make him a torch-bearer in other ways.cameron norrie wimbledon

(John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

As the BBC presenter Sue Barker observed somewhat grimly this week, the list of British men to make a Wimbledon singles semi-final is a short one (although compared to the list of finalists it’s positively an encyclopaedia): Fred Perry, Roger Taylor, Tim Henman and Andy Murray. But then last Tuesday, 5th July, up stepped Cameron Norrie, the latest in a truncated line of plucky Brits to have battled through to the penultimate stage of the All England Lawn Tennis Championships. Though South African-born and a former Kiwi junior international, British tennis fans are so used to clutching at straws they’ll take heroes any way they come. (Just ask Murray; British in victory, Scottish in defeat.)

Where Norrie draws Pearson’s admiration is – apart from that quarter-final victory over Belgium’s David Goffin – his choice of transport around the notoriously knotty roads of south-west London. Over the past fortnight, Norrie has been cycling to and from the All England Club. Moreover, he’s been doing so aboard a trusty Pearson.

“I don’t even have a car,” he told somebody, somewhere on Twitter, “I have a single-speed [bike], that makes it tough for the hills.” Given Norrie credited his quarter-final win in part to improved fitness, we’re only too happy to help. “I’ve not been recognised while out cycling,” he went on, “but it’s nice to beat the traffic.” Somewhat ironic then, that the machine Norrie rides is a Pearson Now You See Me; from a position of relative anonymity, he now finds himself fully in the public glare and in the sights of the predatory Novak Djokovic, who now lies in wait for Norrie.

Cameron Norrie Cycling Pearson Bike

The ever-modest Brit (for he is thus) also claimed he wasn’t a “proper cyclist”. At Pearson, we know every cyclist is a proper cyclist. Just as we know the traffic-taming benefits of Now You See Me (and all our other bikes for that matter). Forged from tough, double-butted cromoly, NYSM’s steel frame provides an extremely forgiving ride, minimising vibration and offering excellent handling. The flip-flop hub lets you switch between single-speed and fixed gear, with an emphasis on low maintenance leaving you time for other things. Such as knocking the world no.7 out of Wimbledon, followed by perhaps (crossing fingers and toes) the world no.3.

While Norrie continues to accrue green brownie points, we can’t say the same for everybody connected to the Championships. In fairness, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has a pretty evolved plan to make the Championships more environmentally sustainable. This includes achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, as well as a 10% increase in ‘appropriate’ biodiversity – across the AELTC estate and surrounding neighbourhoods – by the same year. Amid the leafy glory of the All England Club, a high-end show garden at which a tennis tournament occasionally breaks out, this seems to align neatly. In addition to planting wildflowers to encourage pollinating insects, the AELTC has harvested 10,000 acorns for the cultivation of nursery-grown oak trees.

Wimbledon sustainability

Schemes are also underway to drastically cut all non-recyclable materials, from coffee cups to new building structures, as well as a host of innovations for renewable energy. And yet, to local residents trying to move around the area during the famous fortnight, it’s a strategy that feels somewhat at odds with life on the streets. Granted, the official vehicle for transporting players and officials to and from the venue is Jaguar’s all-electric I-PACE. Yet these remain a relative minority compared with sheer number of outsized, gas-guzzling SUVs clogging the roads of SW19. Perhaps the AELTC might take note of Norrie’s modest actions and turn their attentions – and investment – toward a fleet of bicycles.

In the same week Norrie was performing his heroics, both on and off court, another London-based cyclist has also been making the headlines. If Norrie has any concerns his success might now mean he’ll be pedalling around with a target on his back, he should take solace from one simple fact – he’s not Bojo.


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Steve Gentle July 15, 2022

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