Unless you’re Jeff Bezos its unlikely that you had a great 2020. We are not secret Amazon multi-billionaires, so haven’t had the best of years. It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though.
Things we have been grateful for this year include fantastic customers, good friends and those that straddle both groups. Our good friend Noah, over at Temple Cycles, is a prime example. Forever a gentleman, always excited for weird and wonderful new ideas and a bloody good dad-bud too. We’re looking forward to more fun projects with him next year.
We should be getting our daughter‘s balance bike back from the painter soon. Unfortunately, we missed Christmas, but you can’t rush a painter and when you find out who ours is, you’ll understand why we haven’t nagged once. Building our small person her first bike was amazing, but of course, I went over the top.
Treating the workshop to a second milling machine was an indulgence but one we couldn’t resist. We weren’t massively fussed for a Bridgeport, but it’s going to give us a lot of creative scope in 2021.
We learned to say no this year. In the past, even when something hasn‘t felt quite right we’ve tried to plough through, but no more. We’ve been in the game long enough now to spot the many types of customer, from genuine but with a small budget (no bother there guys, we can and do work wonders with tight purse strings) to flashy and full of crap. We don’t chase the big bucks and aren‘t won over by talk of bottomless budgets, so if it feels weird, sounds too good to be true or we aren’t aligned, we say no. This goes double for anyone that approaches with misogyny or rudeness too. My wife handles all the admin and if you can’t reply to a woman or respond when she asks... an August is not in your future. Good relationships make for great bikes. We’ve really realised that this year, especially with our latest client, Mark.
I suffer from serious depression and OCD. When they hit together, I fall into a black hole that seems impossible to climb out of. Add in that I am only now starting to let myself grieve for my dad, (who I lost just a couple of days after our daughter was born last year) and you will start to see how low I’ve gotten. We all talk a good game about being supportive of mental health issues but we could do more. I’m not talking about wearing cycling kit that proclaims how much we care or shaving our pubes off for cocktober etc etc. I mean reaching out. Actually sending that DM that takes a couple of minutes. Maybe even NOT sending that shitty email because your deadline has slipped by a week.
As our home has been rocked by depression, we have tried to remember our friends who are also battling. To our two peers and mates that have both also lost beloved fathers, we extend our arms and hold you close. To everyone struggling to pay the mortgage and keep a job, we appreciate how hard you’re trying and to all those desperately trying to find the silver lining by reviving a dream, can we help?
Instead of social media bitching, just showing the fucking highlight reels or being provocative for no reason, how about a 2021 with a gentler touch?
OK. Bikes. We are booked for the whole of 2021 and half of 2022 already. We are super happy to start talking to you about a future project, but please, please keep these timescales in mind. They are immovable, bar any cancellations or waiting list spots opening up. We are not accepting all projects offered and our initial emails will gauge if we are a good fit. Don't be offended if we aren’t, it just means there’s someone better for your needs and we need to focus elsewhere.
Got some CAD design that needs doing? We are starting to work with more clients for this. We have previously only worked with fellow framebuilders but this is now expanding. We can also organise competitive laser cutting services (no London prices in Norfolk).
Wheels, stems, racks, our original (and best!) light brackets and plenty of other custom fabrication jobs are all very welcome, especially the weird ones.
We are going to be far more focussed on relationships in 2021. Image and social appearance isn‘t something we are interested in, but being a lot more invested in the people we respect and care for is. We look forward to working with other bicycle companies (thanks to all of you already alongside), developing friendships with brilliant indies and honestly? Just removing ourselves from the framebuilding ‘scene’ even more.
We are a custom fab shop now, not just a handmade bicycle company.
Fellow Indies to Watch
Isn‘t it nice to be able to recommend fellow independent companies for no reason other than they make something great that you love? Nobody seems to do it unless it’s part of some ‘follow Friday’ crap, but here’s a list of some rad dudes we wholeheartedly support:
Cleverhood - Capes, capes, CAPES! And they are SO good. Jackets available too for anyone that thinks they can’t pull off a cape. Spoiler alert: you all can.
Hush Money Bikes - Rad dudes, servicing Lancaster (Pennsylvania) with shit-kicking whips, sweet hoodies and more Dynaplug than you can shake a stick at.
The Vegan Review - The wife’s day job. Gimmick and promo-free editorial about everything related to the vegan world. You won’t find boring new biscuit releases here, just great journalism from a really good bunch of vegan writers.
Aunty Bee’s - Got plants? Need more? Buy them here, in reclaimed pots and with no-kill instructions. Garden centres don’t know shit compared to Lou.
No, we didn’t forget...
Shithead of the Week: The bicycle industry supplier that sends daily promo emails but has fuck all in stock. And no, it’s not a niche brand that everyone needs, it’s a standard bicycle industry name that is NEVER in stock at the UK importer. It’s enough to drive you MAD(ison). Ha.