Andrew Denham

About Andrew Denham

Founder and Director of The Bicycle Academy
Author Archive | Andrew Denham

Meet Robin and Ted, our new Framebuilding teachers!

I posted details for a new frame building role on our website in early January resulting in a surge of interest and a temporary website crash! We had a lot of interest, of an impressive level, from across the world. It really affirmed what we’re doing and just how far we have come in 18 months. After lots of consideration I made my decision and I’m thrilled to announce the addition of builder of the 2012 Best in Show at the UK Hand Made Bicycle Show, Bespoked, Robin Mather and Ted James, winner of the show’s 2013 Peer Award to The Bicycle Academy.

I’ve looked up to Robin and Ted for a number of years so to be working with them is a dream come true. Their work speaks for itself but it’s the passion they have for
what they do that makes them the perfect fit here. We’re all really excited to be working together.

Robin and Ted will be splitting their time between their own projects and TBA. This will mean we can offer courses covering an even broader range of frame building techniques, using the layered teaching style on which we’ve built our reputation.

Robin says he has always felt it important for practising craftsmen to pass on and share their skills, to encourage the development of new ideas and improve standards. He says his career has benefitted from what he describes as a “culture of openness” in the bicycle building industry.

“ The opportunity to work with TBA is really exciting. I have been very impressed with how much it has achieved in a relatively short time and honoured that they want me to be a part of it. I strongly support Andrew’s approach, in providing students with a framework for meaningful practice and feel that this is more likely to produce a long term interest in the craft.”

Ted says that he had always hoped to join The Bicycle Academy, after deciding to move out of London and head west:

“I will now finally be joining the team and teaching frame building courses. Andrew and I have been discussing ideas for additional courses where I can share some of the different things I do on a daily basis. We have also been working on some similar projects involving frame building tools – something else that we will all be developing together.”

Robin has already started teaching and Ted will start straight after Bespoked. It’s brilliant to have more people in the workshop to join the already awesome team, we’re all super excited and we’re going to need a bigger biscuit barrel…

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Mike Pearson, one of our students and now also a close friend of The Bicycle Academy, recently launched his Munin Bikeworks brand, and has already made a beautiful bike to show off his skills.

Here’s what he had to say about the build, his ‘All Seasons Road Bike’…

The brief was to build a road bike that can handle the demands of the UK weather while remaining fun to ride.

Fillet-brazed Columbus Zona tubing provides a good balance, of strength, low weight, comfort and value. 420mm chainstays and a slightly raised rear brake bridge allowed full mudguards to be fitted without compromising the look or the characteristics of the bike.

Matched with a Columbus Hiver carbon fibre fork and 25mm tyres, the bike gives sure-footed handling and tames the vagaries of the UK’s tarmac. The SKS mudguards protect machine, rider and companions.

The paint job’s not fancy, but it’s appropriate for the intended use. The gloss lacquered grey powder coat is discrete and tough.

It’s a bike for winter that’s also perfectly happy to tackle the long, hot days of summer. And their inevitable thunder storms.

Mike will be at Bespoked this year, so make sure that you go and say hi.

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Dirt 100 – BTR Fabrications

Having a product selected by as one of Dirt Magazine’s top 100 of the year is no mean feat. It’s the sort of thing that many well established brands are yet to achieve and yet in only just over a year since Tam and Paul started making bikes from a garden shed they’ve done it!

We always like to support the little guys, but we love to support them even more when they produce a product as good as this Ranger. If we’re honest some of us here at Dirt aren’t too keen on the looks of this bike, but when a bike rides as well as this one does you can forgive it for anything. Of course with a hardtail almost everything comes down to geometry, and this is where this frame rules. For hardcore trail riding or enduro racing this frame is simply unbeatable. Aside from the geometry though we love the hand built nature of this frame, it’s a proper custom build. There’s good use of tubing too, and well thought out details like dropper post compatibility. You can tell this frame is built by someone who lives and breathes riding, and that’s why we love it so much.”

Dirt Magazine – 100 best products for 2014.

We’re all super proud of Paul and Tam, they work so hard at everything that they do. Every frame that they produce is born out of a mix of long hours, hard work, sweat and (more often than you’d think) blood.

Their waiting list is growing fast, so don’t hang about – get on and order yourself one of their “unbeatable” frames.

PRICE: £675.00


(Read more here)

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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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Academy Tube Block Set – Limited Edition Black Walnut

When you’re working to produce something beautiful, it’s always nice to be able to work with beautiful tools. That’s why we produced these tube blocks using the best materials that we could find.

Each block in this Limited Edition* run is made from hard wearing Black Walnut then joined together with tough brown leather hinges that are fastened with brass fixings. They’re functional tools that are made to be used every day and they look fantastic too.

Made in a small workshop in our hometown of Frome, then finished by hand, oiled and assembled here at The Bicycle Academy.

Each set contains the following six blocks:

12.7mm + 22.2mm / 1/2″ + 7/8″
15.9mm + 19mm / 5/8″ + 3/4″
25.4mm / 1″
28.6mm / 1″ 1/8
31.8mm / 1″ 1/4
38.1mm / 1″ 1/2

*We won’t be able to get anymore Black Walnut so this is a limited edition of 25 sets.

We finished these just before Christmas and sold over half the stock within just 72 hours of posting an Instagram photo with a link to the online shop. That means that there are only a few sets left so if you like what you see then orders yours now as once they’re gone, they’re gone.

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