MORE than 40 years ago, Newport motorbike-enthusiast Ken Roberts made a routine delivery to a customer.

He had worked in the bike trade throughout his youth and was sent by his bosses to deliver a scooter to 17-year-old Ann Thomas.

Around the same time Ken was picking up awards for his exploits with Gwent motorcycle club.

And at the club's annual awards ceremony he was surprised to be handed his novice champion award by the club chairman's niece - the same girl he had recently delivered the scooter to.

Ken went on to teach Ann to ride, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Next month Ken and Ann Roberts will retire after running their own motorcycle shop in Newport for 40 years.

What started with the delivery of a scooter developed into four decades of marriage, a successful business partnership, two children and three grandchildren.

In 1967 Ken Roberts Motorcycles opened its doors on Caerleon Road. The stock contained a couple of second-hand bantam bikes and shelves lined with tins of oil.

Today, they are known by many in Newport. The shop, which has been a constant landamark among many changes over the last 40 years, is a thriving retailer, packed with the latest feats of engineering.

Ken, 67, who had a triple heart by-pass in 2001, said: "It is a bit sad to be retiring because I've always been active. But we've had a great time.

"It is a bit of a story how we met. I remember delivering the scooter to Ann and her giving me the award. I taught her to ride and it just went from there."

Ann added: "We've had a fantastic 40 years and we've thoroughly enjoyed it. There will be lots more trips on our bikes.

"Ken was a great instructor but these days he drives and I just jump on the back."

Indeed, the couple, who have already travelled the world to pursue their love of motorbikes, are planning to ride off into the sunset with many trips across Europe.

And Ken, who intends to spend time doing up his own collection of classic bikes, is even threatening to fire up his 1957 Gilera and head to Italy to take part in a famous vintage motorcycle race, the Moto Giro d'Italia.