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On Bike Building: A Panel Discussion

part of Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft

Images of Andrew Denham from The Bicycle Academy who will host On Bike Building: A Panel Discussion

Get tips, tricks and inspiration from leading bike-builders in this panel discussion, chaired by The Bicycle Academy.

With the revival of craft, there's a fresh appreciation for the handmade and the personal.

As cycling becomes more and more popular, so too has the demand for the bespoke bike. In this discussion, our panellists will look at the ways in which the craft of bike building has changed in recent years. They will outline the process of collaborating with clients on their tailor-made bikes, from sizing and materials to style and finish, considering how their own unique skills and backgrounds shape their practice. 

Duration: 2 hours

The Panel


  • Lifelong cycling enthusiast and Mechanical Design Engineer Andrew Denham started The Bicycle Academy in 2011 to provide high quality training and support to budding bike builders from around the world: 'What is most interesting to me is the number of ways that the process of making a bicycle can bring so much happiness and fulfilment to those who have never done it before. Learning to make things is incredibly nourishing'.

Guest Speakers

  • Interaction Designer/Illustrator Adeline O'Moreau, who now runs 'no nonsense' Mercredi Bikes: 'Thought through function, bold colours and illustrations have been present in my work for as far as I can remember, as well as the drive to create strong emotions. As important as the faultless performance of the bike, on top of the fit, engineering and fabrication aspects, is the emotional connection'.
  • Matthew Sowter, who channels his love of bikes into Saffron Frameworks:'I’d reached a turning point in my life where I was unsatisfied with my daily routine and so I decided to bring my love of bicycles to the forefront and get my hands dirty by creating a tangible object - one which gives me much happiness'.
  • Caren Hartley of Hartley Cycles, whose unique bike designs are influenced by her fine art/jewellery/metalwork background: 'You spend years of your life looking at things, saying "why do I like that? What is it that I like?" and so I apply that to the way I work as well' .
  • Product designer Tom Donhou of Donhou bicycles, who was driven to create after an epiphany whilst travelling: 'There I was, I’d just ridden across the Gobi desert and was laying in my tent listening to the coal trucks somewhere west of Beijing.  It took that point to realise, like when you realise that that cute girl you’ve grown up best friends with you actually love, that I absolutely needed to start making bikes'.
  • Matthew McDonough of Talbot Frameworks, who continues a 70 year family tradition of bike-building in his studio with his 'tripedal' workshop dog, Affy: 'A great bike is more than the sum of its parts, if those parts are well chosen'.


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photo of tapestry weaver christy balfour weaving in her studio

How to: weaving with Christabel Balfour

In the first of our series of 'How to' workshops focussing on traditional crafts, tapestry weaver Christabel Balfour invites us in her South London studio for a weaving demonstration.

£5 Young Barbican exhibition tickets

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In partnership with

Frobisher Auditorium 2