Who are August Bicycles?
Today, August Bicycles is a family-run UK framebuilding business. My wife runs all the admin side of things to let me do what I do best - stay in the workshop. Even our daughter is more interested in playing with tools than toys, so whenever I sit down to build wheels, you can bet she has helped at some stage.
As a youngster I had an interest in how things work. Being raised in a family of cyclists, bikes became an obvious focal point for me, but the first pair of wheels I ever built were born out of necessity as opposed to curiosity and the first frame was, well, because I had some ideas I wanted to try out and my wife was my first unofficial customer.
Bikes in the blood
As a schoolboy I became the National Grass Track and Cross Country Mountain Bike champion, before eventually progressing to downhill racing and representing my country at the World Championships in ‘97. I was pretty hard on my bikes; broken rims and bent wheels were a regular occurrence. As an unsponsored rider, paying someone to repair or assemble replacement parts became an expensive pastime, which my Saturday-job wages couldn’t sustain. To save money, the logical thing to do was to build my wheels and machine bicycle parts myself. I have never ridden a wheel built by anyone else since then and now I'm building frames, it's rare to find me on someone else's work. The only exception is our pair of Larry Vs Harry Bullitts, because although we could build a cargo bike, why bother when there is something so perfect already out there?
Having studied and worked as an engineer for just shy of two decades — whilst still cycling — I continued to build wheels before frames joined the ranks as well. Throughout these years, I came to recognise what works and, crucially, what doesn't. I can now tailor a wheel build or frame to suit any rider's weight, style and purpose perfectly. August Wheelworks launched us into a competative marketplace but now, as August Bicycles, we are a self-sustaining small and totally custom workshop. Everything we make or strive to create is unique, but always grounded in good engineering and considered thought.
Learning the craft
Many people assume that I completed a framebuilding course but I took a more old fashioned route into the industry, by transferring my engineering experience and working with an established builder for an extended period of time. Learn by doing, every day: that's how I think skills are developed to their best and it's a practice I still adhere to.
My wheels are currently rolling under world champions, show winning bicycles, high-speed steel track bikes and customers that have become lifelong friends. My frames are becoming known for the subtle yet time-consuming touches that help them to stand out from catalogue part bikes that have been stuck together and finished with a fancy paint job. The aim is that — in bare metal — you'll know an August and be able to appreciate the integrated design work that goes into making every frame custom, in the true sense of the word.