Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Local Bike Shop

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


  1. Eddie said :-
    Just shown this to my father, who was a road racer in the 60,s and 70,s. Spent many an hour in the shop as well as myself as a very young lad. Ralph's son Paul took over the shop so it did stay on the family. Great article and hope this helps

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  3. I had my second Raleigh 753 from Paul in 1980.
    It was stolen from Alvaston around 1983.
    TWO weeks ago it appeared on ebay in Long Eaton! !!!
    I now have it back.
    Now fully stripped currently undergoing full nut and bolt restore Inc full respray Inc original decals.

  4. Hi,

    My grandfather is Paul Wyld (actually Ralph Paul Wyld, but he uses his middle name, as per family tradition) who took the shop over from Ralph. I saw this article and sent him the link, and he had a couple of corrections he asked me to pass on to you which I have included below.

    I'm now lucky enough to be riding my grandpa's bike, which still bears a Ralph Wyld Cycles sticker.


    Ralph Wyld


    Ralph Wyld was born on the 13th of January 1899 and died on the10th of October 1973.

    He was 5ft 8ins but not of light build

    Louis not Lewis always used his second name Arthur.


    1. Thanks for that comment..would it be possible to have one ot two pictures of the bike, especially one showing the sticker? If you agreed, I could then put it on my blog under an article entitled....'The Name Lives On '

  5. I have a Claud Butler 'Olympic Road' Touring bike for sale on eBay at present which also has a Ralph Wyld sticker on it. Strangely which has also landed in Long Eaton. I've come across this article having done a google search - just out of interest to find out where father in law bought it from. Thank you for your interesting article.