MANY people have been getting back on their bikes in recent weeks - and that has led to a busy start to life for a new Tyne Valley business.

Hexham Cycle Workshop was established by Nick Barrett in February, before coronavirus restrictions were introduced in the UK.

The semi-retired former environmental health officer is now repairing cycles of all shapes and sizes from his home workshop.

"We have been busy," he said. "Over the past couple of weeks, since people were allowed to do more exercise, I've had a steady stream of customers.

"There has definitely been a surge. After years of public health promotions around cycling, it is great to see so many people reaping the benefits of exercise and fresh air.

"Bikes are being brought out of sheds and garages, sometimes for the first time in years, and they need a bit of attention. Some more than others.

"I work by myself, and it is appointment only. People have been able to bring bikes in so long as they observe social distancing, and I wash the bikes down before I start work on them."

Repairing cycles in his home workshop is a labour of love for Nick, who previously worked for Northumberland County Council, and the former Tynedale Council.

A lifelong enthusiast, he attended a bicycle maintenance course at the Bike Inn training centre, in Appleby.

Last year, he attended the World Triathlon Grand Final in Switzerland, as a cycle mechanic, before starting his business.

"I always enjoyed working on my own bikes," said Nick. "It's good to take a pride in them and keep them in good working order.

"I decided it was time to offer this service to local people. It's a shame that it has taken a global pandemic to make more people start cycling, but I hope the interest is sustained.

"Bikes are fun to ride and work on, and if I can help people make the most of their exercise, I am happy to do it."