Archive | January, 2014

Mission accomplished…

Brian has been involved at The Bicycle Academy since the very beginning, from when it was still just an idea in my head. I approached Brian in December 2010 to ask him if he’d like to be a part of a framebuilding project that I’d come up with – to teach framebuilding skills to people by making bikes that we would give away to people in need. Brian agreed as he was keen to pass on his skills, especially his fillet brazing technique, and because he liked the idea of helping those in need too. From the beginning Brian was kind enough to commit to not only helping me get set up but also to help me to get into a position where I could carry on without him. Well that time has come, 3 years on Brian has achieved everything he set out to and is hanging up his goggles at The Bicycle Academy.

It’s no exaggeration to say that The Bicycle Academy probably wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Brian’s involvement. From teaching me all the very basics through to helping to choose equipment, plan the workshops, develop the courses – he’s been a part of everything.

But very early on after we opened, Brian realised that the act of teaching was going to affect his brazing. Teaching a skill requires the ability to break it down and analyse every aspect but like many people who excel at a physical skill, he does what he does without really thinking about it, when he’s brazing he’s in that state of flow that we all strive for.

“For me, Brazing is such an automatic thing that when I have to think about it I can’t do it as well. I just love brazing and have missed doing what I love the way I’m used to doing it.”

So, for the past year, Brian’s focussed on training up Sam and later Paul and also helping to teach some of the students once they’d reached a certain skill level. This meant that he could help them to refine their technique, rather than teach from scratch and strike a better balance with his own projects.

“Since the beginning I’ve taught Andrew, Sam and Paul to fillet braze like me and am MORE than happy with the results. Andrew has been teaching my fillet brazing method for over a year and I’m really happy that he’ll continue to pass on my technique through The Bicycle Academy, that was one of the main reasons I got involved in the first place!”

Brian’s going to be spending his time concentrating on being a Granddad, continuing to braze up the frames for Curtis Bikes and he’s also going to be working to re-launch some of the original “Brian Curtis” BMX bikes and cruisers from the 80′s. All of which is very exciting.

“Although I’ve stopped working at The Bicycle Academy I’ll always see myself as a part of it and hope that we’ll continue to help each other out as we have done over these past 3 years. As far as I see it if you want a nice fillet brazed bicycle you should come to Curtis Bikes but if you want to learn to build frames or braze come to The Bicycle Academy !”

He’s been great fun to have around, even if it took me a while to figure out when he was winding me up – we’ve had a brilliant time, achieved loads together and I wouldn’t change any of it. We’re all going to miss him but he’s left his favourite mug here so we know that he’ll be back for a coffee and to show us his latest weird and wonderful brazed inventions.

Thanks for everything Brian!

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We’re Hiring!

Having grown into a new workshop and launched our new courses we’re now in the position to hire a new Framebuilding Teacher, and we’re super excited. Since opening in July 2012 we’ve developed a great reputation for our teaching and helped hundreds of people to either begin or further their journey as framebuilders. Teaching is what we’re about so this role is very important to us. We live and breathe what we do here and are excited to share that with someone else.

So, if you fancy working with us, or know someone who might – please get in touch! Full details below:

Job description:

Framebuilding Teacher

Position reports to:

Managing Director

Job location:

Main workshop, The Welsh Mill, Frome, Somerset

Job purpose:

A dynamic, award-winning business is looking for a Framebuilding Teacher to share the teaching of a growing number of courses.


  • Teach the framebuilding courses building over time to the full range of courses offered.
  • Prepare all course materials, manage course timing and ensure all course objectives are met.
  • Create a professional and friendly rapport with students.
  • Keep the workshop stocked, organised, tidy and clean.
  • Continually increase the depth and breadth of his/her knowledge of framebuilding.
  • Help to develop new courses and products.
  • Attend key events and deliver demonstrations.
  • Assist with various administrative tasks as necessary including, for example, handling phone/email enquiries, ordering supplies, updating course documentation.
  • Comply with all Health & Safety requirements including daily Oxy-Fuel safety checks.

Contract, salary & benefits:

Full-time permanent position, 8:30–5:30 Monday to Friday, competitive salary according to experience, holiday 28 days inclusive of bank holidays. Benefits include a training budget, access to workshop equipment for personal use and cost prices from all suppliers.

Key skills & abilities:

The ideal candidate will be passionate and knowledgeable about bicycle framebuilding. You will be able, and enthusiastic, to teach those skills by adapting the teaching style to the needs of each and every student. A self starter with aspirations to take a lead role in the team and provide mentorship to our apprentice. You will be personable; be an excellent face-to-face and telephone communicator, calm under pressure and enjoy working within a team as well as independently.

  • Experience of working with metals (specifically, but not limited to, steel) is essential as you will be required to demonstrate welding or brazing and good bench fitting skills.
  • Effectively and safely operate a variety of machine tools (manual lathe, mill, pillar drill etc) and other equipment used in a mechanical engineering workshop.
  • Practical experience of steel bicycle framebuilding is desirable but not essential, if the candidate excels in other key areas. Full training will be given.
  • An ability to communicate clearly is essential.
  • Experience of teaching, training or coaching desira­ble.
  • Attention to detail is essential as work needs to be completed to a high standard.
  • Confident, friendly and enjoy working both one-to-one with students and as part of a team.
  • The desire to get involved in and understand the business and provide support or make improvements wherever possible.
  • Good time management of self and students is essential.
  • Honesty, good timekeeping and flexibility.
  • Embrace training opportunities relating to workplace practice and Health and Safety.
  • Current First Aid at Work qualification desirable but not essential.

About the company:

Shortlisted as “One of the 100 most resourceful, original, exciting and disruptive business in the UK” by, and winner of the ‘Spirit of Cycling’ award at the UK Handmade Bicycle Show The Bicycle Academy is the UK’s biggest and most popular bicycle frame building school. Specialists in teaching, the company attracts students from all over the world to learn at the Frome-based school. In addition to training courses, The Bicycle Academy provides flexible workshop hire, produces its own range of tools and sells framebuilding supplies. Situated in a newly-refurbished premises within 10 minutes walking distance of the town centre The Bicycle Academy provides a well-equipped, dynamic and vibrant working environment.


Please e-mail with a covering letter and CV, alternatively you can send postal applications to:

The Bicycle Academy
The Welsh Mill
Park Hill Drive
BA11 2LE


Friday 17th January 2014

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Happy New Year!

2013 has been a great year for us here at The Bicycle Academy. It marked our first birthday, wemoved into a bigger and better workshop, took on 4 fantastic new team members, launched 5 new exciting courses and taught lots of people lots of new skills. The year also included one of our proudest moments to date; winning the “Spirit of Cycling” award at Bespoked, the UK hand Made Bicycle Show.

We’ve got some really exciting things planned for 2014 including new people, new courses, new products and plenty more. But the thing that we’re most excited about is the essence of what we do day-in day-out; helping people to either begin or further their journey as framebuilders, be it by teaching, testing, providing advice or access to equipment and materials. It’s why we’re here, it’s what we’re good at and it’s what makes us tick.

Here’s to 2014 and thanks to every single person who has made 2013 so special, we really appreciate it.

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