Interest in historic bikes, finds Spalding couple

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Teresa and Alf Webb have been visiting India for years, and at one time led cycling tours there.

These days they are more likely to be visiting a cycle manufacturing factory to order spares and bikes to sell here – and to show fellow enthusiasts around the factories.

The bikes being made would once have been familiar to cyclists in this country, and in fact they are built on old Raleigh machinery.

Alf says: “People want to see the machinery and all the old stuff. They are nothing like our factories. They are interesting.”

Teresa claims there is a growing demand for “sit up and beg” bikes, driven by nostalgia and by women who want to be able to wear ordinary clothes while cycling.

She says: “The way cycling has gone now you get all these middle-aged men in Lycra buying expensive light-weight bikes and looking a prat because they don’t know how to ride it and the ladies won’t go out with them. Owning a ‘Miss Marple’ bike, they can keep a dress on.”

Alf and Teresa also import bicycle rickshaws that end up being used as taxis or are put to use as a gimmicky form of advertising.