Being presented with one of the coverted Outstanding Design Award rosettes by Phil Taylor at Bespoked 2016.
Bryan Jackson taught me how to framebuild and I would recommend Downland Cycle's residential training course to anyone interested in building from scratch. It's total immersion and with my long experience of working in the cycle industry, I quickly recognise genuine knowledge and sound teaching. The fact that Bryan operates a highly respected Campag Service Centre on site speaks volumes. His technical skills are hard earned and you only get this good if you've lived and breathed it day in day out.
If something isn't going to work, Bryan will tell you straight, but he'll also tell you why and then make sure you get it right. If the metal is too cold he'll tell you, if it's getting too hot he'll tell you....torch too far away...torch too close. Clear instructions are essential as your brain is learning an art as well as a science. There's plenty of time to practice and Bryan also makes sure you take a break as that's all part of the assimilation process (apple donut? Don't mind if I do...)
And what a place to be! Amazing rolling downs - hence the name I presume - take your bike (as if you wouldn't). I cycled every morning before the course and felt like I hit the ground running. Hot showers, fully equipped bunkhouse, WiFi and delicious evening meals served up by both Bryan (yes, he cooks as well but that's another story) and Julie Jackson. Give Julie a ring if you're interested or email her - she's also served her time in the cycle industry - not just anyone rides a multicoloured Brompton with a Brooks saddle.
So to sum up I will simply say - high standards, generosity and for me... a life changing experience! Thank you Bryan and Julie.
On Saturday 9th January, Beaumont Bicycle launches with about 100 friends and family in support at Bishop's Castle Town Hall.
I also said, "everything I've learnt and everyone I have met has brought me to this point". I thanked key people who helped me along the way and I explained how unique my skill set is having done my time repairing bicycles, building wheels, advising customers and taking time out to train and work as an Occupational Therapist over the last 30 years.
I understand why people love cycling and I know how to ask the right questions and make the correct adjustments to keep people in tune with their bikes especially if one's body is not as comfortable on two wheels as it used to be.
Trevor Jarvis of TJ Cycles (far right, but not politically I hasten to add) and home of the Flying Gate - has asked me to be one of his frame builders. This is a huge honour as this classic marque is highly revered across the world with a very unique following of people who adore its heritage. Trevor was there on the night to explain how our paths crossed and how exciting it is to have someone with my skills on board - as it's not just about the building, it's about the community that develops as a result of getting to know your customer.
Poet and dear friend Bernie Cullen from York opened the launch with a poem written especially 'Bicycle Christening'. My sister Caroline came all the way over from France to sing 'Summertime', but with her new lyrics; "Beaumont bikes...and the pedaling is easy". Bishop's Castle's very own 'Men from Off' sang a rousing version of their hit 'Route 44' and my website designer and photographer Jonny Keeley sang and played some of his acoustic set.
What a night! Val, Julie and Anne on the bar were the hostesses with the mostess.
Thank you all for making it a night to remember.
L'Eroica is Italian for Hero. For many years Brits have travelled to Italy to take part in this gruelling annual event on vintage velos. The excitement has now spread to the UK and finds its home in Derbyshire. Last year's event L'Eroica Britannia was an amazing success giving hundreds of us permission to fit toe clips and straps, down tube shifters and dig out that old pair of Cinelli bars (you can't chuck out Cinelli). This year's event is all set for June 19th - 21st and I have acquired a King of Mercia especially for the occasion. Here's a sneaky close-up - more to follow.