I have been building frames since 1984, on and off, more on. My first ever job was at Triumph Motorcycles on a work experience scheme. I had already been riding and preparing motor bikes since I was eleven. I worked my way around most of the assembly part of the factory and ended up on test rectification. Unfortunately the company closed down shortly after I was taken on.
Then I got a job at Coventry Competition Motorcycles, building and repairing mainly grasstrack and speedway bikes. I was still racing grasstrack. That is where I met a guy who worked for Tom Bromwich.
When I finished at Cov Comp, my friend got me a job with Jim Macilwain, who had just bought the frame building set up from Tom Bromwich. I worked with Jim on and off up until 1989. Also making Landrover parts in that time, developing more skills. Jim was a bit of a pioneer with MTBs, coming up with some fantastic designs. It was good to work with him.
I met with Tom by chance, I was having an exhaust made for my Grasstrack bike at a unit opposite his. So after talking with him about his situation and his need for another framebuilder. I started to work for him the next month.
He had just sold Puma cycles to some guys from Cornwall and needed another framebuilder to help. The name changed to Sirius Cycles. We worked flat out building race / training framesets along with some touring, and the odd Mountain bike.
The new owners then bailed out Orbit, which was bad news. After 12 months they closed the Coventry factory down and left me and 3 other workers out of work in December.
As Orbit were kicking us out the factory, myself and another worker Alan decided to set up on our own. In February 1992 we started L A Cycles. I contacted all the people we used to build for and were soon building for them again.
Orbit even asked for a price on frames, and a few years later we were building frames for them.
In 1995 Thorn contacted us to build Tandem frames.This lead to touring frames and Audax frames. They have become one of the biggest suppliers of Tandems and Tourers worldwide. We built hundreds of frames for them until 2005 when they changed their focus and went to Taiwan. So we closed L A Cycles.
I moved all the machines and jigs home and set up in the garage. I continue to build mainly for the trade, but I also build for private customers occasionally .
I have built for many companies in the past, including, Thorn (Touring Tandems), Locks of Sandwich (Tandems) 14 Bike Co(fixies) Colourbolt, Hobo Cycles, Orbit, Stanforth, Pashley, And many who like it kept quiet.
Most work now, is on traditional lugged frames, just like I used to build for Tom Bromwich in the old days.
Spent over a year building Pashley Cycles lightweight frames, but decided I much preferred building my own. So I moved back to my own workshop and self employment in January 2016.