We’re very proud of what we do and work hard to make sure that every student gets the most from their time with us…
“The course has been great both in terms of practical useful experience gained and working within a fantastic workshop atmosphere! Andrew’s method of teaching the theory behind brazing is very structured and intuitive. It does help greatly someone with no previous welding experience of any sort to get the logic and understand how to control the work-piece therefore being able to self teach and improve one’s technique from the very beginning. By day 3 you actually feel confident that you are able to build a bike”.
Of course Ted and Robin are masters at their fields and being taught and building under their guidance is an experience in itself as you get to learn all the little tricks and tips that will get you going from the best! By the end of the course I was feeling confident both in terms of working with steel and brazing. The course does provide you with the skill and knowledge to get you going!
Last but not least the atmosphere in the workshop has been amazing…you feel part of a family for a week. Great guys, great environment, loads of passion, great conversations and of course belly pain from laughter if you work with Ted… (“Get it doneeee”). Sincerely thank you guys this has been a great experience!”
The workshop “was Fantastic! Properly equipped in every sense. All the tools were at hand, gas equipment was top notch and attention to detail and safety was everywhere.”
“Also as an environment bright, very ergonomic with loads of space and with the addition of the kitchenette and the bookstore that made it feel homely.”
“Thanks guys! It has been a great experience! Good luck.. I am sure the Academy is going to get global..I am sure we will keep in touch”.
Dimitris Patounis – Classic Framebuilding Student, May ’14
“A great experience. I particularly appreciated the student teacher ratio, there wasn’t a moment where I couldn’t find someone to answer my questions. I also found the workshop to be a very friendly and welcoming environment. It was interesting to work alongside people doing the Africa frame build as well as others who were making their own frames.”
George Jones – Balance Bike Framebuilding Student, June ’14
“I thought the course was really very good. It gave a good taster for building bike frames, in a short space of time, and at the end I have (or will have) something that I and hopefully my son will cherish.”
“The workshop was very good, just the job. With four students working, it never felt overcrowded. All tools were suitable and in good condition.”
Nick Lawther – Balance Bike Framebuilding Student, June ’14
“I enjoyed the course. I came along without any clear idea about what I wanted to achieve, or how I would apply the process (if at all) at the end. But I left with a head full of alternative ideas about how to achieve what I knew I wanted to do – another tool in my kit if you like.”
“The one to one concept is the key. My problem now is that I have more questions that I did not ask at the time!”
Ian Clarke – Fillet Brazing Student
“The course was fantastic and fun. It was well paced and at no point felt rushed. I was encouraged to ask as many questions as I needed or to go back over things to make sure they had properly been understood. All the staff have an obvious knowledge, skill and passion for frame building/design and teaching. The whole environment and atmosphere felt like a wonderful place of learning and production.”
“Great atmosphere, well planned and comfortable. Plenty of tools. The library is a great resource. Good music policy! Booking the course was easy.”
Matthew McDonald – Standard Framebuilding Student – May ’14
“I had a truly great time. I like your approach to teaching/learning, that you say it’s important to make mistakes because that’s the way you learn. I am very happy that I decided to do the Africa bike course because I agree that it helps to focus on the learning experience. I didn’t actually expect it to make such a difference beforehand but having done the course I think I understand now through my own experience your reasons behind it. So I have not only learned a lot about frame building and fillet brazing but also about learning and teaching. Thank you Andrew, Paul and Sam!!!”
“The workshop is “a great space, especially also due to the “library” and kitchen area. I enjoyed the atmosphere in the workshop, I found it to be a very open and welcoming place. Which comes from the people that are inside it:) supported by the layout and design of the space. And the biscuits of course.”
Meike Clever – Classic Framebuilding Student, May ’14
“The course was really good…even better than expected..I really appreciate that Paul was almost exclusively with me over the fabrication of the frame.”
“The workshop was really good, it has every tool that we need over the course”
Leopoldo Arosemena – Standard Framebuilding Student, May ’14
“Not having any previous experience of frame building workshops and being super happy just to be there in amongst it all, and the workshop was awesome.“
Justin Fisher-Cooke – TIG Welding Student, April ’14
”I really enjoyed myself and it was great have to have everything together by the end of the second day. I particularly liked the brazing and it was good to be able to have some practice time before attempting it on the real thing”
“Loved [the workshop]!, It was nice that there were other things going on around us as we worked.”
Elin Horgan – Balance Bike Student, March ’14
“one of the things that stands out for me about your courses is that one is made to feel welcome and wanted. This is at odds with past experiences.”
Stephen Hilton – Fitting & Design Student, March ’14
“About a year ago I came to you for a Fillet Brazing Masterclass. Driving home I decided to take a new direction in life and set about creating Bear Bikes. Well its taken a year of hard work and a very understanding wife and this week is probably one of the biggest in my life as I will be launching the Bear Bikes brand at Bespoked 2014 with the Bear One. Thank you for the inspiration, Best regards”
Aaron Ward – (Bear)
“I thought the course was fantastic. Everyone involved was knowledgable and supportive. Paul was really patient with the teaching of brazing. The set up is great and has a really good vibe.”
“I didn’t really have any knowledge going into the process and certainly nothing engineering focused, now I feel I know a lot more and hopefully have the confidence to give a second bike a go.”
The workshop had a “great layout – good to see so many different things going on / being made. Liked the library. Wish it was closer to my house!”
Sally Young – Classic Framebuilding Student, March ’14
“I really enjoyed the course. It was amazing how quickly I picked up the new fillet technique with Andrew’s tuition. It emphasised the importance of good teaching which I’d not really appreciated before, or perhaps hadn’t realised there was a quicker, easier way of working.”
“I just wish I’d discovered the TBA course earlier!”
Ollie Downward – Fillet Brazing Student, February ’14
“I thought the course was was great. An excellent introduction to TIG welding ( frame specific). Very informative. Paul Burford was very helpful, patient and accommodating.”
Damian Warmington -TIG Welding Masterclass Student, Feb ’14
The course has “opened my mind about my possibilities. I mean there is something more than paying for a new bike in the store..there is a whole new world for me. Now I see it in a different way all this bicycle world..I have tried to learn as much as I could from everybody at the bicycle academy and I am quite happy about it.”
Manel Cueto Clavero – Standard Framebuilding Student, January ’14
“I must say from my heart. The week from 19th to 24th of Jan 2014 will be Secured and Brazed in my memory for ever.”
“Superb to have divided the art of brazing in sections men can understand , learn, improve and be satisfied with the results . You make learning an understandable, lovely joy!”
Esper Van Heesewijk – Classic Framebuilding Student, January ’14
“The course was good. I enjoyed the theory with Andrew and the hands on input from Paul. It was helpful to watch a professional at work as it gave me confidence that I could achieve the same results with practice.”
“Overall I found the week to be very beneficial, very interesting and above all a thoroughly enjoyable experience.“
Alex Long- Classic Framebuilding Student, January ’14
“I was very impressed by your enthusiasm and expertise. The insight that drove you to realize that Brian’s method was teachable and the commitment required to put that into effect is quite simply remarkable and I hope you are very proud of what you have already achieved – you should be and I sure there are more good things to come in your career as cycle building guru and deconstructor of mystification. I was going to go into some riff about you playing Luke Skywalker to Brian’s Obi Wan Kenobi but maybe not.”
“When you mentioned filing on the first day I immediately thought of paper files held in a filing cabinet and wondered what that had to do with it… And yet by the end of the week I’d made and brazed a frame using the Curtis-Denham method! Extraordinary.”
Dan Jenkinson – Classic Framebuilding Student, January ’14
“Really enjoyed the course, great atmosphere and inspiring people to be around”
“The workshop is a fantastic creative space with a nice aura of continuity of light industry in an old mill.”
Tavis Walker – Advanced Framebuilding Course, November ’13
“I was very pleased with the course content and the resulting design for the bike that I hope to build soon!”
“I really like the workshop. The relaxed but professional way it is run and managed. All the staff are great, very helpful, kind and considerate creating a great atmosphere for learning and working”
Les Sutherland – Fitting and Design Masterclass, November ’13
“To be honest I was not expecting so much. I learned the basics of some important techniques, but above all you have helped me to increase my curiosity to learn…”
“Filing so much has taught me how important it is to be able to do it, we can use the machines to speed up the working later….Your workshop is great perfect for a school like TBA”
Giovanni Occhpinti – Classic Framebuilding Course, November ’13
“I think it is one of the best places I’ve worked in… my favourite classroom of all times. I’ve worked in some workshops before and being in a clean and tidy place helps the environment and people work better.”
Mario Guzman – Classic Framebuilding Student, November ’14
“The course was great. It covered everything I wanted to know to get to a point where I can go away and build my own frames. Thanks for a great week!”
Michael Corbett – Classic Framebuilding Student, November ’13
The course was “very informative, enjoyed it immensely and I learned a lot.”
Marcus Sanderson – Classic Framebuilding Student, November ’13
“An excellent introduction to the bike building art. Simple enough to understand the basics. Difficult enough to be very challenging.
Course tutors went beyond the call of duty to get the frame completed on time. It was clear from the course as a whole that the team had passion for what they were doing and should be proud of they have achieved. The Bicycle Academy is fast becoming legendary within the UK bike community.”
Ian Nightingale – Balance Bike Framebuilding Student, November ’13
“The course was amazing! I loved the way the course was planned and executed, cleverly thought through. Andrew, Abbie, Sam, Paul and Brian all made me feel welcome and right at home from the first day and getting to know them and benefit from their experience was really fun.
The thing I liked the least was going home on friday, I had such a great time and was a bit sad friday night”
Thomas Holm – Classic Framebuilding Student, October ’13
“Thank you for everything you guys taught me last week.
It was an amazing experience and I have come back to Cambridge with so much hope and inspiration to take me forward.
The course was wonderful and has given me an insight and skills that I never had before. I have changed the way I look at bikes knowing the process behind frame manufacture, and my ideas are much better realised for their feasibility of manufacture with limited tools, but also liberated as I can see clearly how to make all the complex shapes and designs.
I can’t wait until I start putting frames together and really make you guys proud.”
SaiTong Man – Classic Framebuilding Student, October 2013
“I thought that the course was excellent and was impressed that the speed and content was tailored to my own learning requirements. The atmosphere was totally professional but also cosy and family-like. There was no pressure to finish or rush things; the focus was on detail and getting things right. Also, I started missing the guys as soon as I left!”
David Cracknell – Advanced Framebuilding Student, October 2013
“I found the course fantastic. I thought all of you were helpful and patient with me. You took the time to understand my background and then built on that with the course.
I felt I was made to feel welcome and enjoyed the learning immensely. I thought the course length was about right, and didn’t feel rushed to finish the project.
The course met my goals; it gave me the confidence to have a go at building a frame, or two, of my own; and, I intend to return and do just that.
Mark Stogsdill - Classic Framebuilding Student, October ’13
“The course was really rewarding and a must for anyone who loves cycling. I had the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people who all share a similar passion and came away with newly found skills a stunning frame and a very large smile on my face…who could ask for anything more?”
Adam Aust – Advanced Framebuilding student, September 2013
“Was great to learn a new (better) technique, the course was very informative and well structured it covered everything I expected and wanted. I’m jealous of the workshop!!! It’s well thought out and clearly a lot of time has been spent on safety aspects.”
Matt Bowns (of 18 Bikes) – Fillet Brazing Masterclass student, September 2013
“It was ace ; a hugely rewarding and fun experience. Just twelve days later I left with what I consider to be all the experience, knowledge and enthusiasm needed to go away, build more, and improve… It’s a very solid team at TBA. They have an in-depth knowledge and wealth of experience, but more importantly they work hard to understand people, the different ways in which we learn and what may be holding us back. An important final point to make I think is; although they are really, really bloody good at what they do, they are remarkably humble with it. I didn’t once feel spoken down to or that someone was holding back on a useful tip. I’m extremely confident about an even more successful future for TBA, so I’m not going to wish you luck because you don’t need it”.
Josh Simpson - Advanced Framebuilding Student, August ’13
“If you want to know how to make a frame or just fillet braze like a god, then The Bicycle Academy is where you need to be. The combination of Andrew Denham’s teaching skills and Brian Curtis’ fillet brazing technique is something very special indeed. Practice does indeed make perfect, but the level that these guys can get you to in just a matter of hours is nothing short of mind-blowing.”
Ed Haythornthwaite Dirt Magazine issue 138 – Fillet Brazing Masterclass, June 2013
(read full review here)
“Many thanks for the photos, and most importantly for such a great day yesterday. It’s no exaggeration to say it was the best day of tutoring I’ve ever had. You’ve got a brilliant thing going on there and I do hope I’ll find a reason to come down again.”
Sam Jones - Fillet Brazing Masterclass student, April 2013
“Thank you all for the amazing course, it was really cool hanging out with you guys and learning so much. I can’t wait to get back there and take the next classes.”
Felipe Hefler - Frame Building Student, April 2013
“A very big THANK YOU for the most extraordinary four and a half days, it was a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience. It goes without saying that I have a long way to go to become comfortably proficient, but the course has put into place more than I could ever have wished for. With further practice and experience I’m confident I’ll be able to use the skills I gained last week in any number of fields, bicycle building of course being the goal.
Whilst your course is obviously aimed at those with an interest in building bicycles, I would go so far as to recommend it, without reservation, to anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone, to learn something new whilst doing something creative, intricate and precise as well as challenge themselves, even if they have no intention of ever building a bicycle. I’ve just seen your website post “100,000 hours distilled into 8” and I think the key to your success is cutting through the smoke (although there is that when actually brazing…) and mirrors that many seem to want to throw around the process, trying to keep it mysterious and beyond the reach of most. I think your mention of ‘passion’ may have something to do with your success….
There are plenty of people with a deep knowledge of their chosen fields but very few who can impart that knowledge. I don’t know whether you’ve done any training as an instructor, but seldom have I encountered anyone who can get the vital information across so clearly and succinctly, demonstrate what’s required and then be so encouraging and precise in showing us how it is done. Beyond that, your constant encouragement and enthusiasm certainly carried me across a few rocky patches on more than one occasion!
Thanks too to Chris, who brings a Zen-like calm and quiet energy to his teaching and assistance – invaluable to students. His vast experience as an engineer, bicycle mechanic and fixer / maker of things is a huge asset to The Bicycle Academy. Thanks too to Sam for his unfailing courtesy, enthusiasm and interest in how we were progressing. Last but certainly not least, big thanks to Brian. It was a real privilege having him around. Being able to talk about the process, discuss difficulties and possible problems and take encouragement from his constant urgings to enjoy it, to relax and strive to improve all the time really capped the whole experience”
Richard Olivier - Frame Building Student, March 2013
“It’s been a fantastic four days. Intense and tiring and fun and brilliant. I’d recommend it to anyone, whether they think they need to know how to build a bike or not. It’s rare in adult life to learn a genuinely new skill. Best four days I’ve had in ages, go and learn how to make bikes in Frome. That’s an order, not a suggestion.”
David Atkinson (of Road.cc) – Frame Building student, December 2012
“I just wanted to thank you again for the course last week. As I said before, I’ve done a lot of training, and seldom see such a well run course. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve set up a meeting with my boss to reduce my hours so I can put new found skills to good use. Keep up the good work.”
Ed Astil - Frame Building student, November 2012
“I really enjoyed every second of the course, and it seems to me that the thing that you’ve achieved above all else (and I know its at the core of what you want to achieve) is something much more valuable than just skilling-up your students! You’ve managed to generate a level of self-belief and de-mystification which makes me KNOW that I am capable of building something for my self. I don’t just have the skills (although I’m in awe of how much of them I seem to have accumulated) but I also have the belief, enthusiasm and confidence to go ahead and use them.
I’m nothing to do with the bike trade these days, but I know teaching. I know excellent teaching when I see it, and the true test is the ability to make people travel through something difficult without letting them see how difficult. I arrived at the end of today having built a frame. At no point during those four days did I doubt that I was capable. At no point did I come close to giving up on something. At no point did I stop and realise quite how far I’d come until I sat down with a beer and looked at the photos of the brazes on the frame I made!
I would be very surprised if you don’t manage to have this effect on all your students: you’ve achieved something very impressive!“
Tom Walker – Frame Building student, October 2012
“I turned up to learn a bit, achieve a personal ambition and hopefully do something to improve someone else’s life a little, the fact was I left with my life being improved a lot.
I clearly remember Andrew telling me to “enjoy it” during my last few minutes of brazing, just as the whole process came to a climax, the fact was I enjoyed every second, and stepping back from the frame with the torch still in my hand I felt pretty emotional.There’s a great balance in the team you have there, I hope you get to share yours and their time with as many people as possible.”
Andrew Grace – Frame Building student, September 2012
“You always want to stay on top of your game and keep your skills in check so I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend the day with the Grand Master of the oxy/acetylene torch Brian Curtis. Brian is a brazing hero, having worked at Rickmans Honda and Curtis bikes with his very distinctive unfiled fillet brazing. To be able to pick his brain frame builder to frame builder was a great day and I felt very lucky to share a bench with him! If you would like to get your hands dirty and fancy having a go at frame building check out The Bicycle Academy”
Tom Donhou (of Donhou Bicycles) – Fillet Brazing Masterclass student, July 2012