We’re really looking forward to visiting The UK Handmade Bicycle Show! It’s being held at Brunel’s Old Station, Bristol Temple Meads, between April 12-14 2013 and gives us the opportunity to see some of the best handmade bicycles in the world – and meet the people who made them.
So, you may wonder, what’s so special about handmade bikes? It could be said that there’s a parallel between handmade bikes and tailoring. A partnership between the tailor and client leads to a suit that marries the styles of the wearer and the maker. In a similar way the bicycle builder – with passion, pride and exquisite skill – creates a steel, titanium, carbon fiber, wood, or bamboo frame, that is a unique custom fit, ideally suited to the style of the rider.
Organiser Phil Taylor of Libertine Bicycles – a bicycle maker himself, operating out of a small workshop in the Slad Valley Gloucestershire – says, “I’d become interested in building a bicycle for myself, using the traditional techniques and materials of the classic British early 20th century bikes. But I could find neither the information nor the existing builders, as the culture was for small builders to work away quietly and modestly in their own areas.”
It soon became apparent that a public exhibition wasn’t just a possibility, but a downright need, and Bespoked launched in 2010.
This year, over 80 exhibitors will be showcasing handmade bikes from across the world, including names such as Roberts, Rourke, Condor, Brookes, Swallow Bespoke, Reynolds and Enigma, which are all part of the UK’s cycling heritage. They’ll be joined by counterparts from overseas, such as Italy’s Cinelli, Campagnolo, Columbus, Faggin and Legend, French maker Cyfac, Winter Bicycles from the USA and Cherubim from Japan. A new generation of exciting talent will also be there; Feather Cycles, Donhou, Demon Frameworks, Field Cycles, Ted James and Paulus Quiros.
The show also celebrates the 100-year anniversary of stainless steel with a display in the reception area.
A raffle will be held at the launch on April 12, with the draw taking place later that evening, alongside the show awards, which will be presented by Bristol’s Mayor, George Ferguson. The winner of the raffle will be measured and, over the course of the weekend, a special custom made bicycle frame will be designed and built. Raffle tickets are £5, with the money raised being donated to The Bristol Bicycle Project and World Bicycle Relief. The bicycle will be a Reynolds 725 single speed, with Columbus carbon forks.
Over 4,000 UK cyclists visited the show last year. The 70 exhibitors ranged from one-man frame builders to specialist component makers. As one visitor put it, “It’s an incredible show – there are so many highly skilled people and fantastic examples of design in one room.”