This is a guest post by George of Bring Your Own Bike.
Have you ever made your own sandwich? You’ll know the stages: agonising over the individual components, carefully assembling the parts, finally standing back to admire the finished article and then taking that first sweet bite through the crust and into the filling. You nailed it, and you know that you couldn’t have bought that sandwich or the satisfaction in any outlet near or far.
We feel the same about bicycles. If you want something perfect, you have to design and make it yourself. But with bikes, there’s more to consider than bread thickness to filling ratio. Starting to look at frame sizes, dropout spacings, drive trains, tube diameters, thread types and more can be daunting for someone undertaking their dream bike project.
It was several years ago when we faced all those hurdles as a couple of friends looking to build single speeds on a tight budget. At some point along the path from the unknown, via all the questions, internet forums and conflicting advice, to ordering frames on eBay and the assembly, the bug bit us. Tinkering, hacking, modifying and building bikes became part of our lives as cyclists. We soon ran out of room for new projects and out of friends’ bikes to fix and felt like the right thing was to share our experience and enthusiasm wider.
We started Bring Your Own Bike as a community DIY workshop session for anyone to turn up and work on their projects or carry out repairs, while having fun and learning. We have built on the original format and from our new home in The Hub Workshop in Peckham, we now focus on educational mechanic experiences for cyclists that want to do it themselves. Our new bike building course is for anyone of any level who wants the fulfilment of equipping themselves with a new set of skills and using them to turn their dream bike into reality.
After an initial consultation to understand what you want to get from your new ride, we begin with a total breakdown of the bicycle anatomy, and unravel the mechanics involved to gain an appreciation of different choices of components. We guide you through sourcing everything, from the frame to the accessories.
We’ve partnered with the best of the vibrant local independent bike shops to support Peckham’s buzzing cycling community and bring participants well-priced new and old parts as well as customisation and paint work services.
When the build begins, we provide all the tools and experience necessary to make sure everything goes together smoothly. The ultimate result is a finely tuned machine that you know inside out. We make sure that each person leaving the course is equipped to take care of their new companion for life.
Bring Your Own Bike has always been as much about sharing the joy and knowledge of cycling as it is about the bikes themselves. We are currently completely volunteer run and our profits go towards subsidising and running local social cycling projects, enabling those who need it most to access cycling as an independent mode of transport and gain both mechanic and transferable work skills.
We will be expanding the range of courses available over time until we have something for all kinds of cyclists so keep an eye out for what’s on. We’d love for you to get involved to realise your vision and support ours.
For details on the next bike building course at BYOB checkout bringyourownbike.co.uk.
If you’re an experienced and passionate amateur or professional mechanic who would like to join as a volunteer, we’d love you to get in touch.