About The Bicycle Academy
Imagine building your own bike. Imagine doing all the brazing and welding and riding off into the sunset on something that you had created. If that is something you never thought you could do then think again – The Bicycle Academy are here to help.
Since 2012 they have been offering frame building courses at their base down in Somerset. Your training involves learning all the processes of making a bike frame. They have experts on hand to guide you every step of the way and at the end of the course your creation will be shipped off to Africa to be given to those in real need of bikes.
Once you have completed the training, you will then be able to take the skills that you have learnt and build more bikes yourself (be it near to where you live or back at the academy). All graduates are encouraged and welcomed back to use the facilities and expertise available to continue bike building.
The academy has been a roaring success in the short time it has been in operation. Places on its courses fill up quickly and they have clearly tapped into a market that was not being catered for. The range of courses now covers classic framebuilding, balance bike building and brazing.
Frame building can seem like a magical craft that only those ‘in the know’ can do after years of training. The academy has shown that people out there want to learn how to build bikes, and have fun at the same time… and that it can be done. They are allowing people to develop a skill which benefits not just them but also those in Africa who need bikes to improve their lives. Their ‘Spirit of Cycling’ award that they picked up at Bespoked Bristol in 2013 is testament to their good work.
The Bicycle Academy in their own words
Make a bike. Make a difference.
Learn how to make bikes, keep the skills and give your first bike to someone who really needs it.
We’ll teach you how to make a bicycle frame.
You’ll learn the skills, tips and tricks to make more frames. And you can come back to our workshop whenever you want to make your next frame.
We’ll give you everything you need to make a bicycle.
- We’ve got the workshop (in Frome, Somerset).
- We’ve got the jigs (so you can piece the parts together, and keep things straight).
- We’ve got the brazing equipment (so you can join the frame together).
- We’ve got the work benches (so you have your own space to work).
- We’ve got the everything else too; the tubes, a lathe, pillar drill, vices, hacksaws, goggles, gloves, wrenches, cutters, pliers, files, tape measures, flux…
And your first frame goes to someone who really needs it.
Our TBA Africa Bike is tough, and thanks to fantastic standard components produce it can last for five years without much maintenance. The tyres are puncture-resistant – good for travelling over rugged ground. It’s simple, so it’s easy to look after and it doesn’t need lots of fiddly parts if anything does go wrong. It’s strong, so it can carry heavy loads. And it’s flexible, so it can be used for all kinds of different things like going to school or work, collecting food and water, helping health workers get from A to B, and even as an ambulance.
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