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W/C 13.09.21 August Bicycles Workshop Update: Pipes, potty training and pricing

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Hello everybody. It might shock, nay horrify you all to know that it's been a super busy week! And yes, a lot of it has actually been to do with bicycles. Have we found a mystical source for components you ask? Of course not! But we have been keeping ourselves very busy with projects other than just building spanky new frames for good people.

First off, you are a funny bunch! We put up a pre-order for our 'special' pipes a while back after a lot of you said you wanted one and we made a batch. Then we post about that finished collection and LOTS more of you reached out to say "ahem...yes please". Well, we aren't ones to ruin your recreational plans, so we made a few more and as of today, they will be a permanent addition to our shop. We have two available immediately and from there, we ask for at least a week to machine any new orders. Don't get us wrong; we love that you're all enjoying the opportunity to add a little bling to your private hobby, it's just funny that they have suddenly reached so many more of you in terms of your Instagram feed! Please be sure to tag any potentially interested friends etc, as we will definitely be whipping up a few ahead of Christmas!

We've had both ends of the wheen spectrum to build this week too, starting with a stonking set of fat bike wheels. We've worked with Zahir on a few projects now and were more than happy to dig in and create a set of absolute monsters for his Singular Puffin. (Quick shout out to Sam over at Singular while we're here!). We put Surly's My Other Brother Darryl rims with some Hope hubs and finished things off with some Surly Nate tyres. These wheels are not to be messed with and were absolutely ENORMOUS. I was not popular while they were stood in the kitchen for a few minutes, put it that way. They look great though and are certainly up to the job ahead of them. Thanks again Zahir!

From the massive to the minuscule now. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Nico on the paint for our daughter's balance bike and when he asked for a tiny ride for his little girl, we couldn't say no. The frame has been ready for a while now, but we've been waiting on parts for the wheels and finally, they all arrived and we have been able to get them built and a box of fun all wrapped up and shipped to the US.

12" bubba bike wheels just won't ever not be hilarious to look at, especially when they comprise of carbon rims and little Vans waffle tyres that make everything look a whole lot fatter. We also put some of our new metallic rim decals on, for extra bling. We have heard that little Lola is starting to walk about, so it won't be long before we see some fierce shredding, we're sure. GO LOLA!

We were asked to make a lovely custom tamper this week too. When cool old hubs can be saved from the scrap pile, it's a good day and we had a lot of fun converting a Hope titanium number. Simple, elegant and delightfully robust in the hand (ooh err) it'll make a really stylish addition to a coffee lover's kitchen. Thanks for the commission Jim!

If you have a treasured or just funky old hub laying about and fancy making it into something useful, either ping us an email or hit the custom tamper listing in our shop!

So, what else have we been up to? Potty training our daughter has been the big focus, although she didn't seem to need much help with it. Two days of nudiness and she had it dialled in, so that's been a HUGE relief. She's now started really styling the whole event out by grabbing a book as she heads to the potty, for some light reading. We must remember to embarrass her with her joyful "bye-bye wee wee" song when she's older.

Now then. Pricing. We've been thinking a lot about this in the last few days and in a variety of formats. Obviously, inflation is going up, wages aren't, taxes are all going up and did we mention that wages aren't? None of this makes for an optimistic year ahead and yet prices have to go up. Or do they?

We always keep a close eye on what the 'norm' is, in terms of prices for what we do and honestly? It's all starting to seem a bit odd. Are people pulling magic numbers out of the air and just hoping everyone will pay them? We've always tried to price fairly and in line with our circumstances, not the industry expectations. If we had workshop rent to pay for in central London, yeah our prices would be higher, but would we charge the same for a tig-welded frame as a fully filed brazed one? We like to think not, but that's us. Then again, we've refunded a deposit or two after an emotional email exchange, only to see bikes being commissioned elsewhere, so perhaps we are just idiots!

On the one hand, we should probably up our prices a bit, especially our labour, because we might simply be being chumps over here. But it never feels comfortable just because everybody else is. That's why we are pricing by project, not having stock or standard rates for things (apart from wheel build labour). In the last week, we have lured a much-loved customer and friend away from an eBay purchase with a custom frame instead and we're not charging silly money. It's a fun project, he's one of our absolute favourite people and building it will be really enjoyable, so no, it's not £1k+. Price per project. Price per person even. It's a methodology that we're going to try on for size to see if it brings back the joy in the process a little more. Believe it or not, we don't really care about emptying your bank accounts, we just want you out having fun on bikes. Winning a few poxy awards (and let's be honest, who hasn't by now??) isn't a licence to charge you the earth. Building bikes for celebrities isn't a ticket to the rip-off show and fancy paint? Well, that can either add to a fantastic bike or hide a multitude of filler/sins. We've won awards, we've been in the press, we've been in the Brooks catalogue and celebs are happily riding around the world on our bikes. We still don't expect you to remortgage for your own whip and understated paint is highly recommended. We have nothing to hide. Apart from our disgrace of a workshop that needs fully emptying, tidying, painting and improving! Maybe that can go on the list ahead of 2022.

Right. Hopefully more of an upbeat blog this week with less moaning than usual? Now I must go, as Mrs A has inexplicably decided to redecorate the entire house, move all the rooms around and just generally be a bloody nightmare. All because we need to save up a little longer for our new bathrooms and she's a bit bored. URGH. Don't worry everyone, I've been in a suitably unpleasant mood about it all so I'm sure she'll be swearing on Instagram about me later.

Oh. One more thing. We're thinking about a Patreon account. Something where we can upload more process shots, maybe give a little advice and add videos etc. Would that be of interest? We wouldn't charge much, probably something rubbish like £3 or £5 per month, but you'd be able to get first notifications of new products etc. Let us know if this is a good idea. We keep thinking about YouTube too, but URGHHHHHH. Can you imagine how long it would take to edit all of Mrs A's language out? No thanks.

Rad peeps of the week:

  • All of our Buy Me A Coffee supporters. We are honestly shocked every single week that you are so generous.

  • Mikey B. Yes, we WILL take your massive metal shed off your hands for our cargo bikes! You absolute winner!

  • Nico. Just love man. Always.

  • The guys at Gnarly But Nice for sending out some SWEET duds.

  • Pixar. Though we are very much over Toy Story and Monsters Inc, our daughter loves them and naps to them each day. So we appreciate you giving us some respite.

See you next week!


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