“My parents had me when they were seventeen and so neither of them had the time or money to go into higher education. As such, I never really saw university as an option. I left school when I was sixteen and became a welder in Leeds, making everything from oil pipes to JCB parts.
“I worked with a good bunch of lads but it was crap pay and the job was going nowhere; all the companies I worked for, bar one, have since gone out of business. What kept me going was my love for cycling. I was a sponsored BMXer and enjoyed riding a fixed-gear most nights. But my big wake-up call came in my early twenties when a colleague accidentally operated an industrial press while I was reaching inside it. My head became trapped and I was very nearly killed.
“It was then that I hatched a plan to combine my welding skills with my love of cycling by building my own bike frames. I taught myself how to do it online and built my first road bike a couple of months later. After I sold that one, I started making more in my father-in-law’s garage. It started off very slowly but a couple of years later I won a number of awards at the Bespoke Bike Show, including best in show. Things spiralled out of control and I ended up with a two-year waiting list with orders from around the world. I’m still working through that list now.
“Do I plan on expanding? Coming from a factory background, I enjoy grafting and getting my hands dirty, which is why I still make every bike by hand. So I won’t be growing the business anytime soon. I’m very happy with where I’m at right now; I make a pretty good living, have the time to ride almost everyday and I love my job.”