Sheffield shop gets polka-dot makeover

The Sheffield branch of shop chain Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op has gone dotty for the Tour de France.

The Steel City hosts the finish of the second stage of the Tour on July 6, after the race meanders through the Pennines, climbing Cragg Vale and Holme Moss before finishing a couple of kilometres town centre.

Edinburgh Bicycle Sheffield gets a polka-dot makeover for the Tour

It’s a stage with enough hills that whoever wears the polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey is likely to have earned it, so Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op’s Sheffield shop has come over all spotty and been decorated with a giant mural of the iconic red-on-white pattern.

The staff in the Leeds and Sheffield shops have been issued with bright new yellow uniforms, which should make it easy to spot them, with ‘Le Edimbourg Bicyclette’ on the front and ‘domestique’ on the back. And if that’s not enough, check out the berets. Strings of onions are apparently not going to figure in the new look, though.

Tour-winning derailleurs since 1947 - a cabinet of curiosities for real gear freaks

Tech fans will want to pop into either shop to take a look at the collection of derailleurs through the years that both will have on display. Highlights include a Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleur, as used by Eddy Merckx over four consecutive Tour victories (1969 to 1972) and the Mavic 851 SSC mech, with which Greg Lemond achieved his extraordinary victory in 1989 by the narrowest margin - just 8 seconds.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.