If you've been following the story of The Bicycle Academy here on road.cc you might be wondering what's been going on. BAck in August we reported that they'd be looking to secure crowd funding in October to the tune of about £30k, but hey: it's halloween and there's been no news.
Well, the funding push did get delayed a month but begins now, with a target of £40k: now's the time to register your support. And by 'register your support', we mean 'commit some cash'
If you haven't been following the TBA story, the premise is that it's a new and lovely way to get the skills you need to build bikes. TBA funder Andrew Dehnam has teamed up with fillet-brazing legend Brian Curtis to offer a range of courses, from single day workshops to one-on-one tuition. The different bit is that the bike you'll build isn't one for yourself: it's a standard design that TBA have come up with that can be built up with easily sourceable stock parts and shipped out to Africa to help get transport to people that need it most.
So you spend your money on making a bike that you don't get to take home? Yup. But there's method in the madness, don't worry. For a start, there's the feelgood factor of knowing you're doing something worthwhile. Every frame will be uniquely identified so that students can find out where the donated bicycle is sent and who is using it. The Bicycle Academy is a company with a social conscience, and they believe that bikes can change lives. We do too.
As well as that, TBA is encouraging people to see framebuilding as a longer term pursuit. "It’s fair to say that the first bike you build will be the worst bike you build", says Denham, and he's probably right. The sticking point is that the first bike most people build will be the only bike they build, but that's not necessarily the case here. Everyone that graduates from The Bicycle Academy will have continued access to the facilities so that they can build more frames and hone their skills. Obviously that mostly benefits people that are local to TBA's base in Frome, but more far-flung students can also get reduced rate jig-building kits so that they can work on frames at home before making the journey to put them together at the Academy's workshop.
If you want to help TBA get off the ground, the funding push is running for 40 days on the Peoplefund.it website. There's a number of levels of support. £300 is the minimum you'll need to pledge to get some actual tuition (a 1-day brazing masterclass with one-on-one tuition from Curtis), with £500 buying you a place on a four-day frame building course. If you want to support the enterprise but don't want to make bikes yourself, there are pledge options from as little as £20.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.