Tesco has quietly opened “bike shops” in eight of its stores, muscling in on specialists such as Halfords and Evans.

Six of the bike shops are in Tesco Homeplus shops and two are in Extras. Those in the Extra stores - in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and West Durrington in West Sussex - are situated in distinct areas; in the Homeplus shops the bicycles are part of the general merchandise mix.

A Tesco spokesman said: “The bike shops are proving popular with customers. We are seeing how they progress but are considering rolling them out to other stores.”

Bicycles became even more popular during the recession as a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to driving a car. Halfords has said previously that bikes are a growing market, especially as health and fitness moves up the consumer agenda.

The Tesco spokesman said: “We are keen as a company to get consumers active and encouraging cycling is one way we can help our customers to do this.”