Words by Chloe Hay
Whether you’ve always fancied yourself a bit of a bicycle DIY-er or you are simply looking for a challenge and to learn new skills, a bicycle building course could be for you.
From workshops aimed at complete beginners to courses for bike maintenance pros, we’ve rounded up seven of the best Build Your Own Bike (BYOB) courses around the UK where you can get your hands dirty and learn to craft the ride of your dreams.
Even if you have little interest in building a brand new bike from scratch (‘What’s wrong with the one I’ve got, it cost me thousands?!’ I hear you ask…) these courses are still for you, simply take along your own bike and learn how to take it completely to pieces, service it and then rebuild it all over again. You’ll thank yourself for it next time something goes wrong with your bike on a long-distance solo ride or when you’re short of cash… Here’s where to go to BYOB:
London: London Bike Kitchen (complete bike)
If the idea of turning a pile of parts into a functioning bicycle makes you a little nervous, one of the London Bike Kitchen’s Introduction to Maintenance classes is an ideal place to start.
Over two days you’ll get to grips with bicycle mechanics lingo while learning how to fix punctures, discover exactly what should be in your SOS bike fixing kit and much more. Then once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you can sink your teeth into a more mechanical course focusing on anything from cable disc brakes to dynamo wheel building. And, of course, there’s the build your own bike course.
You’ll work 1:1 with a mechanic to either take your current bike apart and learn how to completely rebuild it or start with a pile of parts and finish eight hours later with a brand new bike – made by you. How cool is that?
Every second and fourth Monday of the month is WAG (women and gender-variant) night, where you can learn simple bike maintenance skills for free, in a welcome and inclusive environment, and the LBK is also open daily for drop-in sessions. And if that all sounds great but you can’t make it to London or you’d just prefer to build your own bike from the comfort of your garden shed, check out the London Bike Kitchen’s founder, Jenni Gwiazdowski’s, book: How to Build a Bike to get the building at home.
London: Bamboo Bicycle Club (complete bike)
To build a bike that’s sure to get its fair share of attention on the road, sign up for a frame-building workshop at the Bamboo Bicycle Club.
Run over a weekend, you can choose to build your own MTB, road, hybrid, track or fatbike frame out of sustainable bamboo with the help of experienced frame-builders and in the company of three other bike-building enthusiasts.
Each day finishes with a well-earned house bamboo beer and once you’ve completed your frame, you can take the finishing guide home to add all the extra components in your own time, or sign up to a finishing workshop where you’ll receive 1:1 help to turn your frame into a beautiful, fully-functioning bike. There’s also the option of ordering a home-build kit for anyone keen to make their own bamboo bike who can’t make it to the workshops.