Bespoked Bristol, a showcase for makers of handmade bikes, is fast approaching.
Some 70 exhibitors will display the fruits of their craft at the city’s Brunel’s Old Station from March 23 to 25.
Phil Taylor, 39, the show’s organiser, told RoadcyclingUK how a previous life as curator of an arts exhibition, had inspired him to stage the show.
“I’d set up the Brighton Arts Fair with my wife, whose an artist. We put artists on the stand, rather than galleries. It seemed like a similar thing could be done with bike builders. It took two or three attempts to get it off the ground. As the ball has got rolling, more distributors have wanted space and now it’s completely oversubscribed. There’ll be 70 in total,” he said.
Here’s the latest in Phil’s “Meet the Makers” video series, bringing potential visitors closer to the exhibitors ahead of the show, in which Tom Warmerdam of Demon Frameworks explains his art.
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Phil’s own attempts at bike building (he started this year and has made four so far) took him to the website for the North American Handmade Bike Show, and has heightened his appreciation of the frame builder’s art.
“People recognise the craftsmanship that’s involved. From a ‘people having a bike point a view’ to have something made for you is wonderful. There’s a huge movement worldwide. People are recognizing the value of something that’s hand built, rather than mass produced,” he said.
Defining that art is somewhat more difficult. Is it technical ability, or artistic expression that mark the good from the great? “I think it’s being able to talk to a person and find out what it is that they want, and use their skill as a frame builder to the meet the needs of the client,” said Phil.
“Equally, the customer goes to the frame builder because they like their style. It would be wrong for them to impose on the frame builder because the frame builder is an artist and wants to show off their work. It’s a partnership between the two.”
He compares a handmade bike to a classic car, the “E-type Jaguar kept in the garage for Sundays.”
Exhibitors already signed up include Argos, Brooks, Cinelli, Cotic, Paulos Quiros, Pegoretti and Roberts Cycles.