Cycling VIP has been pulling in the crowds

Bike mechanic and artist Scott Gilbert with painting of Bradley Wiggens
Bike mechanic and artist Scott Gilbert with painting of Bradley Wiggens
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Cyclists are hitting the road as the sport enjoys a post-Olympics surge.

Success in the velodrome, following hot on the heels of a Brit taking the top spot in the Tour de France, appears to have inspired a new generation of people to get in the saddle.

Bike mechanic and artist Scott Gilbert with painting of Bradley Wiggens.

Bike mechanic and artist Scott Gilbert with painting of Bradley Wiggens.

The owner of Falkirk’s longest-established bicycle shop said there had been a definite increased awareness of cycling in recent weeks.

Linton Smith of GW Smith in East Bridge Street, Falkirk, said a painting of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in the shop window had also captured the public’s imagination.

He said: “We’ve had quite a bit of interest from people asking about road bikes since the Tour and hopefully that will continue. It will be interesting to see if the interest in BMX and mountain bikes also takes off.

“Just the other day on my way to work, I spotted three different road racing clubs all out, which is great for the sport.”

The painting of Bradley Wiggins is the work of Scott Gilbert, who as well as being a mechanic in the bike shop is also an accomplished artist.

The 40-year-old from Hallglen said: “I thought it would be a good idea to recognise the achievement of the cyclists and also attract people to the shop. When Bradley Wiggins pulled it off to win the Tour, and with all the public interest that created, he was the obvious choice.

“Perhaps Sir Chris Hoy will be my next painting and then I could do all the Olympic medallists to mark their achievements.”

A keen cyclist himself, Scott completed an HND in public art seven years ago and is now planning on completing his degree in the near future. He also spends much of his free time working with young people to create street art, particularly murals on underpasses across the district.

The business which became GW Smith was initially established in 1897. When Linton’s father George was demobbed after the Second World War, legislation didn’t permit former Service personnel to use their demob pay to start up new businesses.

Mr Smith said: “I think there was a fear that they might lose all their money. My father was an electrical engineer and decided to buy this shop which sold both electrical equipment and bicycles.

“But over the years the cycling side of the business took off and that’s what he decided to concentrate on. More than 60 years later we are still here.”​