History Lesson

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I’ll accept that ‘manufacturing a bicycle in the corner of my apartment in London then riding it from Romania to China’ isn’t the most obvious thing to do. It probably doesn’t feature on the top-ten-things-to-do lists of many people, it didn’t even feature on mine until a couple of months before my departure date for that exact trip.

However a few similar things had been swirling through that great big list of ‘things to do’ for years though; that big list that you rack and assemble on idle bus journeys and in the minutes between the first alarm clock call and the impending snoozed reminder. There was ‘make my own bicycle’ for a start.

The entire idea had been born working on-and-off as a bicycle mechanic. I’d started on teenage Saturdays in a physical bike shop, tinkering, repairing, and inspiring me to learn ever-more. Eventually going it alone as an on-demand bicycle repairs guy in Sweden, I lived some kind-of student dream, fixing rusty broken bikes for beer money and snacks.

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All forms of payment were accepted
All forms of payment were accepted

Knowing how the bits go together still isn’t quite the same as building your own bike though, so back in Britain I took on a course in welding, and started to cover my apartment in metal filings and dust. Not great for being a popular housemate, but all good for making a bicycle.

But years then went by, without a deadline, and with some typical distractions, I started new jobs, quit jobs, went travelling, moved country, moved back, cycled across Europe, started living in a warehouse in London, basically everything foot-loose and care-free that being young allows but perhaps isn’t great for getting on with bicycle manufacture.

Arriving into Romania on a 2011 bicycle trip across Europe
Arriving into Romania on a 2011 bicycle trip across Europe following Eurovelo route 6

As 2014 arrives, it was something of a now-or-never moment. Until then those international bike trips had been purely fun  journeys of adventure and exploration, but now I wanted to combine another leg of that big round-the-world-bit-by-bit cycling project I had started with the cycle trip across Europe with the beginnings of making bicycles professionally and living the metaphorical ‘ride off into the sunset’ dream.

So that brings you up to date with the trip. I gave in my notice at work, stopped putting off working on the bike, realized I basically had 8 weeks to finish it, and started to knuckle down for real. I was going to finally make my own bicycle, and then take it on an epic test ride. 6000km from Romania to China.

I honestly cannot wait!

Lawrence

 

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