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W/C 29.03.21 August Bicycles Workshop Update: Days off, daily drudges and ditching ideas

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Apologies for the lateness this week everyone. With the bank holidays, we took advantage of the opportunity to have a five-day stretch of no working, which was great at the time, but then meant Mrs A had an enormous day yesterday, getting back to an even keel and she has to edit this! But here we are now to delight you with our normal moaning and updating. Hopefully you all managed to have a few days off too and are refreshed and enjoying all this glorious weather. Ha.

Before we called it a day on Thursday, we spent a lot of the week dealing with the less glamorous side of the industry. Truth be told, before we started August, we had a rose-tinted image of the whole thing too. Being your own boss, enjoying indulgent days in the workshop and just enjoying every file stroke. It seemed like bliss, but the reality is a whole lot less Athena-poster-like. This week will be a searing glimpse into the realities for you all.

So, what have we been dealing with? First off, with year-end, we have been getting our accounts all sorted for tax submission. Sexy, huh? So fun, especially when suppliers don’t send you credit notes etc so reconciling each month is almost impossible. Also, joy of joys, it's insurance renewal week as well. We found out that the company we've been with for a couple of years is owned by a provider that insures dickheads that take part in fox hunting. As a vegan company, we obviously can't be connected to a fuckfest operation like that anymore, so the usual easy renewal has been replaced with dredging for specialist quotes. As anyone in the industry will tell you, when you work with fire, those quotes are rarely fun or cheap and we are still trawling. Or rather Amy is. I really should pay her. Or at least consider that second bubba.

Finally, we've also been clearing out the inbox. We used to just let ghosters drift into obscurity but we're now closing enquiries officially, ourselves. It's nice to get a little closure and honestly, taking the initiative and deciding who we won't work with feels good and gives us a little autonomy back. Sometimes we forget that this is OUR company and we've set it up in a way that means we can have months off whenever we want to, and we can choose which projects to take on. It's a luxury to be in this position but we've worked hard, saved our money and followed our parents' examples of being debt-free so we can work less and live more. And this brings us to a big THANK YOU.

To the handful of amazing customers that we messaged this week to say that we need to take some time off, thank you for being so incredibly understanding. The fact that all of you recognised you too needed to pull back from things and focus on yourselves more reaffirmed just how lucky we are with our client base. Most of you become good friends and we know how rare that is. Hopefully we can all pick up in a bit, when babies, jobs and mental health is all in a better place for everybody.

We know a lot of you have been in touch to ask what's happening with those stem racks and it's best to address it, so here it is. We received a less-than-happy email from another builder claiming IP infringement. We don't need the stress of that. After a few emails back and forth we were given FULL blessing to make our racks, along with a declaration that the other builder has "zero plans to make any more". But honestly, the damage is done, and the nasty taste is already in the mouth. Thank you to everyone that loved our design, thanks to the big names in the biz that supported and told us to press ahead because we are good people with a great product, but we are stepping back, at least as a production-ish model. One-off custom versions? Potentially a go. But no batches. And that's the last we will say about it all. Apart from putting a polite reminder out there that our name is AUGUST BICYLES, not bikes, not cycles, BICYCLES. So, if and when you report about us without getting in touch first, please at least have the grace to get our sodding name correct. It's lazy journalism not to. MOVING ON!

We did make a couple of fun things this week, starting with some BB pucks for a fellow UK builder. It's amazing what a quick polite email, a nice chat and a free evening will get you! Small projects like this are always taken on for good people. They give me a chance to enjoy a podcast in the workshop, give Amy some peace and quiet for while in the evening (after baby bedtime) and just helps us all decompress. Being able to fix a problem for someone is great too. Here's how they turned out... (apologies for the crumbs on our worktop, but toast is life in this house!)

We also whipped up a tamper for our brilliant customer, John. He sent us a Dura Ace WH4703 hub for conversion and we've been wanting to do one of these for a while. The almost-pantographed logos on these are beautiful and the flow into the base came out just as smoothly as we knew it would. It's a handsome tamper and we know it's going to a really appreciative home. These really are the best kinds of jobs, so thank you John.

We were delighted to receive a much-anticipated package from the man himself, Richie Sachs. As many of you know, I have plans to build myself the bike that I had planned to make for my pops before he passed away. A big fan of beautiful lugged frames, I was going to build him something using the stainless Newvex lugs and fork crown and I think it's time to get it done and ridden.

Pops has been in my mind a lot recently, because he slipped into a coma just a couple of hours after our daughter was born and her second birthday is incoming. It's a cruel twist of fate to have two such opposing emotions forever intertwined like this but hopefully building his bike will help a little. A huge thank you to our good friend and staunch bubba advocate throughout the years, Tom at Demon Frameworks for supplying the lugs and Richie for sending us the fork crown and tang and indulging us with some compassionate chat too.

And now for something a little different. A chap we both used to work with is looking to sell a recumbent bike, along with a trailer he made for it. He's a great engineer, from the old school of engineering, and regularly used to laugh at the impossible drawings of young graduates that swaggered around like they knew it all. A nod of approval from Simon was better than any pat on the back from a tutor, so we are pleased to try and help him sell it. Also, he wants to use the money to buy back a model boat that his great-grandfather built, which has just come up for sale. If that doesn't tug at your heart strings, nothing will.

The bike is a Windcheetah recumbent, designed by Mike Burrows. Possibly an early one as the chassis number is 333. The trailer is custom-made by a real stickler for detail and seeing as we never help sell other frames, you know this one is pretty special. It's located just outside Norwich and as Simon isn't "on-line", you can message us in the first instance and we will put you in touch. Pics? Oh, go on then.

And that's about all we have to say. So, onto the nice people thank-fest.

Rad Peeps of the Week:

  • Tom over at Porter Cycles. There are no words except thank you. A million times over, and then some.

  • John at The Radavist for being a great chat and lending us a shoulder, an ear and some incredibly valuable insight.

  • Everyone that bought us a coffee this week. Generosity is a wonderful thing and it reminds us to pass it on. We hope you know that we absolutely do, be it where we spend our money, which Patreon's we start supporting or simply by buying a few coffees for people who can't afford them on a cold day. Shout out to the good people at Longwater Retail Park Costa who make a note of the hot chocolates we buy before giving them out to people struggling in the cold. We see you giving muffins too.

  • Chris C and Nik. You guys.

  • Cameron Diaz for making dross films that Amy enjoys as background noise. You're the real hero Cam!

See you next time!


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