IT has been a whirlwind 12 months for Skipton bike and workshop owner Dave Ferguson.

Now over 30 years in business, the former cycling champion, originally from Blackburn but now fully settled in Skipton, said it seems like only recently that he was wondering whether to pack it all in and retire.

“Business was fairly quiet before Covid but it was still ticking over.

“I did think, though, that perhaps it was time to move on. That was until the pandemic struck and the government closed all shops except essential shops. The latter included bike shops,” he said.

“Suddenly it was manic. People were wanting to buy bikes and I struggled to get hold of them. The suppliers were running out.”

Dave said people were dusting off their old bikes and bringing them to him for servicing and repairs.

“I was rushed off my feet. I’m here on my own and just get a bit of part-time help from family. It was flat out for months. A lot of the larger bike shops shut and I felt like I was the last man standing,” he said.

“People were furloughed and had more time on their hands. They were encouraged to take exercise and the weather was good so many turned to cycling. They came to my shop and bought what I had. I’d be ringing round the suppliers who were themselves struggling to keep up. Even now there are waiting times for some models.

“I’d say March to June were the busiest months but repairs and servicing has also been busy. I was having to tell people it would be three to four weeks for bikes to be mended.

Dave started off in Brook Street, Skipton, and when his business outgrew the shop he moved to a retail premises behind the former House of Fraser building in 2003.

His reputation as a knowledgeable cyclist and repairer has held him in good stead ever since. He grew up with bikes, being adept at mending punctures from the age of seven and used to make up bikes from ‘bits found lying around’.

He started racing in his teens, both road races and time trials and progressed through the ranks to senior levels. In three years he rose from a third cat rider to a first cat rider.

He is former Lakes and Lancs District Road Race champion - among several other credits. He has also raced internationally, has toured Ireland several times and has worn the yellow race leader jersey and green points leader jersey earned in the same race.

Being busy he has decided to carry on with the shop for the time being and while he doesn’t race any more on two wheels, he has adopted fell running.