EVERYONE wants to have a look at the LotusSport, the bike that sped Chris Boardman to the gold medal in the 5,000-metre pursuit on the Barcelona Olympic track. The prototype is out on the road, touring in an exhibition that will call at the Science Museum, Harrods and the Blue Peter television studios, among other venues.

Today it is at Ketts Lodge residential home in Norwich, and next week it will be at the city's Marks & Spencer store. So the Candid Caller telephoned some of the country's bicycle shops this week and his question was: 'Can you sell me a LotusSport?'

'Good afternoon. You mean a LotusSport as in the carbon-fibre one Chris Boardman rides? We could make some inquiries although it's going to cost several thousand pounds, and we're not 100 per cent sure it's even going to be a production model. I'll call you back, sir,' said Matthew Cooper at On Your Bike, Birmingham.

'A LotusSport? I'm sorry, we don't sell them at all. As far as I know they just built the one. 'Bye,' said the lady in Bikes 'n' Bits, Huddersfield.

'A Lotus? That one that won the Olympics? You'll be lucky] They're going to be incredibly expensive. I don't even know if there are any on the market yet. The bloke who invented it (Mike Burrows) sold the rights to Lotus to help develop it at a cost of a pounds 250,000,' said the assistant at Offshore Sports, Isle of Wight.

'LotusSport? Can you tell me what it is? ('A racing bike') The one that's been on the telly? To be honest, with it being so new out, I wouldn't know. I can get my dad on to it, he's actually off sick at the moment but he'll probably know a bit more than me,' explained Ms Pollard of Pollards of Coventry.

'No, they are not on the market. Nobody's saying anything yet, nobody can help you. The bikes are actually under wraps and (Lotus) won't even let anyone look at them - they've even got their own team of mechanics on them so nobody else gets a look. The price is about 3,000 quid,' said the man at the Freewheelin' Cycle Shop, Edinburgh.

'Yes, if you've got the money for the deposit and you're prepared to wait about six months. We can get in touch with the company but could I ask you, sir, what you intend to use it for? ('Cycling?') Do you know this bike is only for circuit racing? And will only go round a left-hand bend? It's built to do one job - hence the one fork,' explained the man at A1 BuyCycles, Plymouth.

'Good news and bad news: Lotus are building five but they're not sure when. Let me give you their telephone number, it's 0953 608000. 'Bye,' said Matthew Cooper, ringing back from On Your Bike, Birmingham.

'We are making race replicas of the bicycle and we're suggesting a price of pounds 15,000 each. They will only be suitable for pursuit racing and I've no idea how soon you'd get one. We are also considering producing a road-going leisure version,' confirmed Janice Dalrymple of LotusSport.