Success has come in cycles for one of the oldest businesses in Cambridge whose resilience provides a welcome cheer in these tough days for the retail sector.The wheels of commerce continue to spin for Ben Hayward Cycles, which has just marked its 100th anniversary in the city.
A showcase of bikes down the years – including the cycle sold to the then Mayor of Cambridge in 1915 – was a major attraction of a celebration event.
To show how far cycling technology has come in the last century, an open session was staged via a Rollapaluza competition – where the fastest riders on a free-wheel platform battled to prove that lycra may indeed give an edge over denim.
Winner of the women’s Rollapaluza was Anne Marie in full lycra gear. Daphne Kaufold in jeans and specially designed cycle T shirt came a close second. Men’s winner was Willem de Boer with an impressively fast cycle.
An electrically powered cycle showed new innovation that is now smooth enough to convince even the most lazy of cyclists.
Ben Hayward’s Julie and Robert Turner displayed paperwork from the business’s early days, with annual rents of £85 for the premises in Trumpington Street and salaries that would barely cover a week of mobile phone use these days.
A competition to get Brompton bicycles from folded to ridden was another great success.
Celebrations have continued in the company’s Trumpington Street and Horningsea outlets with special offers on cycles and clothing – timely given the massive UK interest in Bradley Wiggins’ exploits in the Tour de France.
Rob Turner said: “We had a great open event and cycling continues to thrive in and around Cambridge. Cycles are one of the things that benefit hugely from being tried and assembled locally so internet shopping still has a way to catch up with the personal service that shops like Ben Hayward’s can deliver.”