Burf’s New Bike calls for his first blog in three years!
The last blog I wrote was in February 2014 so that’s about three of four months after I started teaching at The Bicycle Academy. I used to write the blogs during work hours. I would hide myself in a quiet part of the workshop where the managers couldn’t find me, and knock one out super quick. This wasn’t so easy to achieve at TBA, mainly because the pesky students keep asking questions and wanting to learn stuff. Working at TBA has been a brilliant experience. I love helping people achieve their dream of building a bicycle frame, and passing on the skills I have learnt gives me a great sense of fulfilment. I have definitely grown my level of frame building experience, mainly because of the variety of frames people want to build, but also because of the amount of mistakes. I find that correcting mistake is where you really have to push yourself and think outside of the box.
So much stuff has gone down since the beginning 2014.
So much that I simply couldn’t recap it all, so I won’t try. Things have ramped up this year, I put it down to two main points. We have had a demo Ranger doing the rounds, getting brilliant reviews, and Tam has been working hard to get pictures of customers’ complete bikes on the website. This has resulted in the month of December being the first time since starting BTR that I have not worked for someone else. We built six frames in December, which is a BTR record high, and completely the opposite of where we were at last year. We were scratching around for stuff to keep occupied this time last year, and we were actually hoping for the same this year, so we could catch up on some housekeeping and tool making. So much for that…
Personally, I think the best news of the last three years is; I have myself a brand spanking new Ranger.
Here is a little back story so you can understand what this actually means… The last time I had a completely new bike was when I was around 15 and saved up to buy a Claud Butler Gate Crasher (oh yes). I’ve had new frames and parts since then, but that was the last complete new bike. Obviously I have had new BTR frames too, but my last Ranger had some Pikes on it from the year 2000. Most companies would have their staff etc. on the latest and greatest kit, but we started out with nothing and have been on the bones of our arse up until recently. When we built the demo Ranger, I wouldn’t let myself ride it. I knew how jealous I would be, I was jealous enough just looking at the thing. Andrew Denham (the main man behind TBA) was super kind and paid for the tubing to build my own Ranger as a Christmas bonus in 2015. So we had the tubing for a pretty long time, until finally we had the spare cash to buy the componentry. Now I just needed to find the time between customer builds to knock it all together. The ‘opportunity’ for this turned up when Vagard decided he would make the trip over from Norway to collect his bike and spend a couple days riding at Bike Park Wales. I decided I had to get my new bike sorted for this. So less than a week before I spent 25hr in the workshop building the frame in order to get it to the powder coaters in time. That was a long hard day, and the 3am welding was not up to my usual standard (which I’m a bit gutted about). I managed to get the full bike built the day before the ride and let me tell you I was giddy AF.
I made a little video of the day so check it.
Keep ‘er Sideways