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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 111 > BUILD IT AND YOU WILL RIDE

BUILD IT AND YOU WILL RIDE

CHIPPS GOES ON DOWNLAND CYCLES’ TIG WELDING FRAMEBUILDING COURSE, TO SEE IF HIS OFFICE SKILLS CAN BE TURNED INTO MORE PRACTICAL ONES THAT CAN SHAPE AND BUILD A BICYCLE FRAME FROM BARE TUBES.
A bench full of potential.
A dropout before it becomes part of a pair of dropouts.

I nearly worked for a framebuilder once. A long time ago, I talked to Greg Fuquay, an American framebuilder who was working in Suffolk, about working with him. The idea was that I would do all of the admin and marketing and Greg would shut himself in the workshop and crank out beautiful TIG welded frames. We got as far as the planning stage, but called it quits before we started (and that, ironically, set me on my path of mountain bike journalism, but that’s another story). I do wonder, sometimes, what would have happened if I’d have worked with a framebuilder, tubing and files all around, rather than making the keyboard and camera my tools.

A couple of times over the years, on tours of Pace Cycles and Orange, I’ve had a go at welding. In both cases, my secret hopes to find that I was a natural welder were dashed in a mess of jagged lines, melted tubes and smouldering torch tips stuck to the work. In addition to a lack of practicality, the other skills needed when building frames are careful measuring overall accuracy and precise geometry. There’s a reason I write for a living…

Downland Cycles still reckoned that its framebuilding courses could take someone of my natural ‘talent’ and teach me to build a frame. It happened that the only eight days I had spare in 2016 coincided with its TIG welding course and so I booked in.

Frame master Bryan, with wife and culinary wonder, Julie.
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About Singletrack

Editorial The publishing world is changing (again) and we’re going to be changing with it. Here’s how. UK Adventure: The Breakfast Club Sanny discovers that apple pie and custard for breakfast tastes better on the side of a hill you rode up the night before. Trail Hunter: Fremington Edge Tom Fenton earns his descents in the Yorkshire Dales. Build It And You Will Ride Many riders dream of building their own, perfect bike. Chipps takes on a TIG welding, frame building course. Room 101 Mark presides over your submissions - will you persuade him to put anything into Room 101? Interview: Katy Winton It’s not been an easy road to the top. Pete Scullion finds out how this cheerful Scot nearly gave up on bikes for good. Classic Ride: Dead Breconing Barney finds the Brecon Beacons offers a bigger day out than might be expected. With bigger nettles too. Grouptest: Trail Pumps Every rider should carry a reliable pump. Chipps checks out ten to determine which should be in your pack for that ‘last minutes of light, in the sleet’ puncture. Bike Test: Wagon Wheelers. Plus. Barney put three huge-wheeled 29+ bikes to the test. Is bigger better, or just different? Through The Grinder What has survived a winter on the test bikes of the Grinder Team? We bring you some not so shiny goods. Grinder Bike: Whyte T-130 A British bike designed for British conditions. What will our resident Australian make of it? International Adventure: Mount Elbert, Colorado EWS rider Jérôme Clementz takes a day off by getting up at 4am to ride up Colorado’s highest peak. Last Word The vortexes of Sedona make Hannah come over all flowery as she escapes the daily school run.
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