Russell Cutts admits he’s a relative newcomer to cycling, having only started to use a bike regularly 10 years ago when he was in his mid-twenties.
But since then, his life has been thoroughly pedal-powered and the chartered structural engineer has now built himself a tidy bicycle business at Sheffield’s main railway station.
From there, he rents, sells, and services bikes of all kinds, while also providing equipment and a place for commuters to securely store their ride.
Russell’s Bicycle Shed has been down at the train station since 2014 and he now sees a mix of locals, commuters and visitors use his service.
“We get a fair share of tourists to Sheffield coming in to hire bikes,” he says. “A lot of them are already into cycling and want to see the city and the countryside around it.”
The proximity to the Peaks is a big draw for many visitors, admits Russell, but there is plenty within the city limits to keep cyclists entertained, he thinks. “I live near the Northern General Hospital and I can be in the countryside, cycling along the Rivelin Valley, within 20 minutes,” he says.
“If you know where you’re going in Sheffield, it’s a great city to cycle around. It is hilly in places, but I quite like punishing myself – and there are plenty of flat routes or routes which aren’t too steep.”
The fact that Sheffield is relatively compact, and doesn’t have the same level of urban sprawl of Manchester, Birmingham and London, means that it appeals to both Russell and his customers, most of whom are commuters.
“I got into cycling because I started riding to work. It just made sense to use a bike. I’ve found out that there is more support for people wanting to get into cycling than a lot of people realise.”