Given the British government is in the middle of a very slow and entertaining implosion, it takes a bit to bump Boris Johnson off the front page. When Wimbledon is on, though, tennis’ll do it – especially if a plucky local hero has battled through to the semi-finals.
And if he’s riding a bike? Game, set, match.
Cameron Norrie is the newest darling of British tennis, with a globetrotting background – born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, University-educated in the US, playing under a British flag. He cracked the top 30 for the first time a year ago, and at his home tournament he’s battled through two five-set epics to land in his first grand slam semi-final.
Why am I telling you all this? Because unlike all of his peers – who are ferried around in a fleet of sponsor Jaguars and Land Rovers – Norrie rides his bike to work.
“I don’t even have a car. I’m not a proper cyclist, I have a little single-speed bike that makes it tough with the hills,” Norrie said.
That “little single-speed” is a steel Pearson Now You See Me, which has an unpretentious lugged chromoly frame, rim brakes and – sensibly, for the UK – proper mudguards.
There’s plenty to like in the bike, but there’s much more to like in the fact that Norrie’s riding at all. London is going through the process of revitalising its active travel network, and Norrie has inadvertently become something of an ambassador for the benefits of bikes. “I’m just doing it to get around,” he explained of his rides to the All England Club, where the tournament is held. “It takes 10 minutes to get here. The car takes 15 or 20. It’s nice; I can be on my own schedule.”
“Honestly, I’ve not been recognised cycling at all, but it’s nice to beat the traffic and it’s a good warm-up, for sure,” Norrie continued.
Norrie’s journey through the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament continues with his semi-final against Novak Djokovic on Friday. Time to cheer for the plucky underdog.