Jerry Arron, owner of the Mud Dock cycle shop and cafe bar, talks about Bristol bike culture. Photographs by Christopher Simkiss
"For 150 years the bicycle culture has been growing. It started with gentlemen's road clubs and now it's something really big. There are lots of loyal followers who love getting together and chatting about the technical side of cycling. I suppose that was why we combined a bike shop and cafe, so people could not only buy equipment, but also have somewhere to talk.

When Mud Dock started, the cafe was probably a secondary function, but now it is the heart of Bristol bike life. During the day, customers have to go through the shop, but at night they go round the back. Either way they are exposed to bike culture. We have bits hanging on the wall and TV screens showing biking footage.

The shop is really quite specialist. Most of our bikes cost around pounds 500 to pounds 4,000, so it is definitely the upper end of the market. Because of the amount of money involved, there are very few snap purchases. Customers like to sit down and take their time. And we have found that having a cup of coffee can make the decision easier and it somehow softens the resistance to spending money.

We have a group who are fanatic about folding bicycles and then there are the lads who have mountain bikes. There is a real action-man image around mountain bikes. So, you can forget all those images of nerdy anoraks.

Lots of non-cyclists come into Mud Dock, just because they think it is a good place to hang out. They are all subliminally exposed to the bike culture, which is a good thing because they soon realise what a stylish thing cycling can be."

Errol Miller (right), known as Ruffy to his mates, delivers parcels around Avon, although not on his bike. He has spent vast amounts of money on bikes at Mud Dock and has one worth around pounds 3,000. This picture contrasts a modern mountain bike rider and a retro exercise bike.

At 45 with high blood pressure and cholesterol, Gary Lovell (below left) took up cycling. proving that you don't have to be a fit young thing to be into bikes. He is a founding member of the Folding Society, which have monthly meetings at Mud Dock. Lovell maintains that there is a very serious side to a folding bike.

Pinky Iris (below right) is a part-time model, actress, dancer and landlady. Most of the time, she wears lots of big, shiny, pink jumpers and extravagant feather boas.

When not dressed

in Lycra, Kit Edwards (bottom) goes for this rather dandy dress style. The photo contrasts his quirkiness and the unstructured style of the bar.