Darke’s cycle’s off the roof

Down from the sky....Peter Darke of Darke Cycles with his bike which was a familiar  landmark in the City for many years, perched atop his old shop near High Street West which has now been demolished.

Down from the sky....Peter Darke of Darke Cycles with his bike which was a familiar landmark in the City for many years, perched atop his old shop near High Street West which has now been demolished.

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A BIKE shop owner has been reunited with the cycle which was once a familiar landmark in Sunderland.

The bright yellow racing bike spent many years perched on top of the former Darke Cycles shop in High Street West.

Peter Darke's bike on the roof which has been a landmark in the high Street West area of Sunderland.

Peter Darke's bike on the roof which has been a landmark in the high Street West area of Sunderland.

However the building is now being demolished to make way for a new hotel development.

Developers contacted owner Peter Darke to ask if he would like to be re-united with the bike, which itself once belonged to a popular Sunderland man.

Bike-mad businessman Peter had a shop at the site from 2002 to 2006, before moving into his current base in John Street.

The bike, which was put up in a bid to attract customers, was owned by Anthony Maggiore, who suffered a fatal heart attack as he was nine miles into the 2009 Great North Bike Ride.

Peter Darke's bike on the roof which has been a landmark in the high Street West area of Sunderland.

Peter Darke's bike on the roof which has been a landmark in the high Street West area of Sunderland.

Dubbed Sunderland’s “kindest man”, the 59-year-old devoted dad worked at the family-run cafe Louis at Park Lane, Sunderland for more than 30 years and left a wife and three children.

Peter said: “It was a put up as a bit of an advert before he died and was a bit of a memorial.

“I got it up there with the help of a bloke who put up the bowling alley, with the help of an access lift and could never get it down easily. “When the development started, the site manager came over and introduced himself and told us what was going in and said he was trying to get the local community involved with the building project.

“I happened to say it was my bike on the roof of the property and he said, if you want your bike back, you can have it back.

“I’d like to thank the developers for getting the bike back. I think the development is going to be good for Sunderland.”

Twitter: @janethejourno