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36 Field trip

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Frame academy Don G Cornelius travels to Bristol’s Handmade Bicycle Show to meet the cream of the UK’s artisan bike makers sambard Kingdom Brunel’s Grade couple of months (waiting list-dependent). 1-listied train station building may And it all starts with a conversation. have been built for one mode And conversations by the hundred are of transport, but Umbrella arrives for the engaged in, from searching questions fired apex in design of another: the bicycle. off to praise offered shyly. Sometimes Today, we’re surrounded by the young, it’s difficult trying to talk to your heroes, the good and the established of the UK’s about the work you’ve admired from frame builders at Bespoked Bristol afar, but each frame builder, no matter – AKA the UK Handmade Bicycle Show. their fame or expertise, stands patiently Walking into the high ceilinged hall, and connects. Because it is with that we’re met by a torrent of sound, the discussion, that communication, that constant rumble of voices, as people dreams are given solid steel form. Beards engage in conversation and discussion and sandals are as abundant as piercings with the men (as they invariably all are) and tattoos. Cycling’s different tribes building some of the prettiest frames mingle and giggle, pointing out details around right now. and rubbing shoulders. The hall is a hive of human interaction, The cross-pollination of cycling drawing looking, peeking, touching, pondering, different riding tribes together. From old and photographing. Lots and lots school frame builders such as Rourke of photographing. No detail is left or Chas Roberts, through the new wave unrecorded: lugwork; of bespoke builders such brazing; bottom bracket as Ricky Feather and The frames and shells; dropouts; paintwork; Tom Donohue, to new cycles that caught hubs and wheelsets, cranks thrusting creators like Umbrella’s eye and saddles. Each part Ryan McCaig of Oak Cycles consumed by the eye, and Matthew Sowter of Sven Cycles gorged on by the hand. Swallow Frameworks – all Copper track bike A more tactile show you’re are enthusiastic, intelligent, unlikely to find. Hands earnest, passionate about Oak Cycles extended, fingers brushed the work they’re engaged 29er touring bike along cool metal, palms in, not just because it’s wrapped around tubing as their livelihood. Saffron Frameworks bikes are lifted and weight, With more than 60 Curved, top tube or lack of it, is appreciated. exhibitors including belt drive In the space of three component manufacturers years, Bespoked Bristol Royce UK, Middleburn Ted James Designs has become the show to and Paul Components; Curved titanium find that precious custom, bike shops Condor Cycles, mountain bike handbuilt bicycle. And Brick Lane Bikes, Tokyo what’s so special about a Fixed (now Kinoko) and Faggin custom, handbuilt bicycle? Mosquito; clothing brands Leather-wrapped Well, unlike any other bike Miltag, Vulpine, Pedaled; track frame you’ll buy, it’s designed and there really is no corner left built just for you. From the unturned for the cycling Paulus Quiros geometry to the tubesets to aficionado. Town bike the paintwork and finishing Bristol Bespoked harks kit, if your pocket can back to the history of British Ricky Feather take the weight, then the bike building, when every Stainless road bike frame you’ve been thinking town had a bike shop and about can be yours within a a frame builder in the back,

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Umbrella Issue Nine