Do you use your local bike shop?
Or are you a devotee of those vast emporiums which inhabit the internet and sell at highly competitive prices?
Perhaps, like me, you use them both but in so doing am I leaching the life blood and history away from our Local Bike Shops?
Readers of this blog will know that I am both a novice to cycling, an Old Age Pensioner, not very competitive and a real beginner at cycling mechanics. I am good at finding cake stops on rides and love to talk about the world of cycling, both past and present. And so I thought I would post a series of articles on the Local Bike Shops of Derby and its surrounding areas.
Most, if not all, of the cycle shop proprietors are keen cyclists themselves and many have turned their hobby into their livelihood. Ralph Wyld was a fine example of this and in each of the three years prior to the 1928 Olympiad in Amsterdam, he with his three brothers won the National Team Pursuit. The brothers were however split up for the Olympics itself where the Wyld brothers Harry, Lew and Percy were joined by Monty Southall and won the Bronze Medal in the 4000 metres Team Pursuit
Ralph started Ralph Wyld Cycles at 61 Nottingham Road, Derby in 1928 and his brothers also helped him out there. Five years later in 1933 the business moved up the road to 95 Nottingham Road and continued trading there until 1995 when it closed.
It is thought that the site was a Carpet Shop following its life as Ralph Cycles but now it has become a Sandwich Shop.
I was not interested in cycling in those days but a friend who was provided the following reminiscence
" When I went there regularly for my bits it was Ralph who was serving - a benevolent and slightly balding man of light build who treated me, as a very young cyclist, with respect and was ever ready to give cycling tips. He was stooped around the shoulders - probably from working on bikes :-) The shop was old fashioned even then, and that was 50 years ago, and contained lots of wooden drawers full of mystery and had bike bits like wheels and frames hanging on the walls. He must have had the odd ready built bicycle but I do not remember any. The shop was a labour of love and all the cyclists loved him. I remember Ralph dying but I cannot remember who served after..I think the shop was later sold.
Ralph was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire on 7.June.1907 and died, aged 64 years in 1972. The shop continued trading for another 23 years but I dont know whether it stayed in the family or was sold.
This article has been all about a local bike shop of yesteryear. The next one will hopefully cover Birkins Cycles, a new kid on the block