Leeds granddad’s wheely big archive aims to highlight cycling history ahead of Tour de France

Graham Reed pushing along a 1903 Royal Triumph ladies' bike. Picture by James Hardisty
Graham Reed pushing along a 1903 Royal Triumph ladies' bike. Picture by James Hardisty
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Yorkshire’s hosting of the Tour de France Grand Depart is by no means a fluke.

A long-standing passion for cycling has seen the county churn out champion after champion, from Brian Robinson to Beryl Burton.

A passion for pedal power doesn’t always mean powering up mountains however, with a different kind of enthusiast preferring the nuts and bolts of two-wheeled tradition.

Leeds granddad Graham Reed has spent almost 50 years amassing a collection of almost 100 cycles spanning over a century, and hopes his collection can inspire an appreciation of the history of cycling as Le Tour visits on July 5 and 6.

The 63-year-old, who displayed bikes in Leeds during the Grand Depart bidding process, said: “I think Leeds is absolutely so lucky that they have got this achievement in staging stage one – it’s a one-off.

“I did two presentations for them with some of my early machines, so I feel I did my part in helping Leeds City Council show the historical cycling interest in the city.”

The retired local government officer used to house bikes at Skopos Motor Museum in Batley until it closed, so now cycles adorn his home, are in storage or are on display at Horsforth Museum.

Graham’s love for two wheels was sparked by his cousin’s interest in old transport, and at age 14 his collection began after he acquired a 1926 Rudge-Whitworth ladies’ bike that had belonged to his aunt.

“It’s important for people to see them because they are nice pieces of history. It’s no good having machines that can’t be seen by the public,” he said.


Graham Reed’s extensive collection of classic cycles dates back 146 years.

His vast array of cycles includes an 1886 High Wheeler – better known as the Penny Farthing – once the fastest thing on Victorian roads, along with a Boneshaker – proper name the French Velocipede – which dates back to around 1868.

He also has a 1909 Lea-Francis, two Warrick Box Tricycles formerly used to sell ice creams, and around 20 Sunbeam bikes dating from 1898 to the 1960s.

For more on Graham’s cycles call 0113 2565601.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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