Students think it’s a joke when they are told Teresa Webb will be teaching wheel building.
But as her husband Alf says: “There is no better instructor in wheel building than Teresa.”
Between them, Alf and Teresa have become recognised as leading instructors in cycle maintenance and repair, something they do at The Old Schoolhouse at Wragg Marsh near Spalding.
In fact their reputation is so good that when City & Guilds wanted its curriculum updating, it was Alf and Teresa who were asked to do the job.
The couple moved into The Old Schoolhouse in 1999 and, although the old school and chapel was closed for 30 years leading up to their arrival, it has been a school ever since.
Hundreds of students from all over the world go to The Bike Inn to learn how to look after a bicycle, some taking short courses on hydraulic brakes and suspension, while others complete the full ten-day City & Guild qualification or the Bike Inn’s own Certificate of Attainment.
The couple began teaching bike mechanics in June 1991, so this is their 25th year of showing cycling enthusiasts the ins and outs of looking after their machines.
It started in Kent where Alf, who describes himself as a “mediocre” cyclist, had a shop. Teresa, a club cyclist, went in for a second hand wheel, and Alf claims: “She never did pay me.”
Invited to teach bike mechanics at Peterborough College, the pair moved to Wragg Marsh, and opened the bike shop at the end of Pinchbeck Road.
It was a good job they did, because the college posts didn’t materialise so the shop kept them afloat until they were able to establish courses in the two school rooms at Wragg Marsh.
There, they teach people everything they need to know to be able to maintain the latest, lightweight, high-tech cycle.
However, the pair – both in their 70s – still have enormous respect for older bikes and riders.
Alf says: “We have always been able to work on our own bikes us old folks because we always had the common sense to work things out.
“What you have got over the last number of years is really people who don’t know how to change a gear on a bike, never mind a chain.”
Nevertheless, both Alf and Teresa are tremendously proud of their students, many of whom have specifically done a course to start their own bicycle maintenance business.
Teresa says: “People come on the course after being made redundant, or retiring, or people of all ages who are interested in cycling.But the majority of people want to open a business and mobile mechanics are very popular.”