The slower you go, the more of Norfolk you can see

Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams from Vintage Village Velos aboard one of her retro bicycles - Credit: Chris Bishop

The slower you go, the more you see.

That's the message from the woman behind a new cycle hire business, which rents retro machines to pedal down country lanes.

Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams with her horsebox and retro bikes she hires out from West Acre - Credit: Chris Bishop

Charlie Williams has launched Village Vintage Velo from the back of a converted lorry horsebox she bought on eBay.

It carries 10 custom-made Pashley bikes, which are built by hand by traditional craftsfolk.

Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams launched Vintage Villaqe Velos to give people the chance to enjoy a leisurely pedal around the Norfolk countryside - Credit: Chris Bishop

"I have four kids and I have a holiday in the UK every year, we never go abroad because it's too expensive," she said.

"We always get there and wish we'd brought our bikes but there's six of us with my partner so it's untenable."

CB charlie williams bike hire

Charlie Williams has launched Vintage Village Velos to give people the chance to enjoy the Norfolk countryside at a leisurely pace - Credit: Chris Bishop

Miss Williams, 48, said her fleet of Pashleys were built for a leisurely ride on country roads.

Most Read

"It's all about going slowly and admiring what's around you," she said. "Go slow, see more.

CB charlie williams bike hire

Charlie Williams says going slowly means you see more of the countryside - Credit: Chris Bishop

"Norfolk's not just about the north Norfolk coast. West Norfolk is so beautiful."

Miss Williams is basing herself at Abbey Farm, at West Acre, which also boasts a brewery, art gallery and clothes store.

Castle Acre Priory

The ruined priory at Castle Acre - Credit: Chris Bishop

Picturesque Castle Acre with its pub, cafe, priory and castle is a few miles away down leafy lanes with few cars.

Miss Williams admits to being a confirmed fan of retro style. Her vintage Volvo first took the roads in 1962. She said Pashley bikes were just as iconic. 

CB charlie williams bike hire

Charlie Williams with her vintage Volvo - Credit: Chris Bishop

They're a British company that started in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1926," she said. "Each of these bikes is made by 40 pairs of hands, it's not a factory it's a workshop and they're all hand-built."

Miss Williams, who lives in Castle Acre, was an actress in another life, with credits including dramas Love on a Branch Line and Just William.

CB charlie williams bike hire

Charlie Williams playing the accordion in her horsebox - Credit: Chris Bishop

Now she writes plays and composes when not out on her bike. When trade is quiet, she retreats inside the horsebox, which was renovated by her cabinet maker partner John Eley, and picks up her piano accordion.

Bicycles can be hired for £15 per half day, or £20 for a day's hire via her website


Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams of Vintage Village Velos - Credit: Chris Bishop


Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams in her converted horsebox which she runs a cycle hire business from - Credit: Chris Bishop