About Me

My name is Matt Wilkinson, I make bicycle frames.  For three years I worked as a cycle courier in London.

I started this blog when I was awarded  a travelling fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.  I documented my visit to the USA where I met with frame builders in nine states, and investigated the skills, equipment and techniques involved in making quality steel bike frames.

Since returning to London I’ve started to set up my workshop and have also started working as a brazer at Brompton Bicycle Ltd.

I intend to update this blog, recording my experiences as I establish myself as a bicycle frame builder.

Please feel free to contact me:  mwilkinsoncycles@gmail.com

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8 Comments on “About Me”

  1. Thought this might be relevant….
    Was trying to send it as email, but failed–sorry to post it as comment, erase it at will!

    here’s the release — hope you can spread the word
    sincerely,
    –Michael McGettigan/trophy bikes (cell 215.990.9275)

    the bigger background is that the Phila region is home to an unusual number of frame maker craftsmen and women…

    Bilenky is the biggest, but there are many others.. some just one-person shops in basements and sheds… steel lends itself to that… whereas carbon fiber and aluminum are more factory materials…

    Also relevant is that the East Coast has huge numbers of vintage steel racing bikes preserved by their riders… or their rider’s kids! Any club ride will find guys out on vintage Colnago or Paramount or Sachs frames….

    and here’s the release printed out…:

    News from Trophy Bikes and Tri-State Velo Club

    CONTACT:
    Michael McGettigan Trophy Bikes cell 215.990.9275 (not for publication) michaelmcgettigan@mac.com

    Ron Ruggerio Tri-State Velo Club tri-statevelo@verizon.net

    SHOW YOUR METAL in the Steel/Vintage Class Time Trial
    The 2011 Philadelphia Amateur Time Trials, June 4th
    Presented by the Pro Cycling Tour and Hosted by Tri-State Velo Club

    The region’s largest cycling time trial has added something new—and old—a class exclusively for steel bicycles, both new and vintage.

    The “Steel/Vintage” class is sponsored by Trophy Bikes and will be restricted to bikes made of steel—including the fork. That’s right: no aluminum, no titanium, and none of that new-fangled carbon fiber. But don’t be surprised to see some brand-new machines at this event. For many independent bike crafters, steel remains the best material for making frames.

    “With the resurgence of steel as the material of choice for many top American frame builders, the time seems right to showcase the steel racing bike,” says Trophy Bikes’ Michael McGettigan. “Steel bikes can be light—that’s a fact. Steel still rivals any other material for ease of construction. Of course, steel has been under development for more than 150 years—it’s no surprise that it still offers advantages that carbon fiber and aluminum can’t match.”

    McGettigan says he expects to see plenty of classic machines from the 1970s and ’80s—and maybe even a few from the 1890s—when the first lightweight steel racers were already appearing. Thousands of vintage racing machines are still being loved and used every day by their owners, even if they own carbon fiber bikes for racing.

    Grand Prize—a handcrafted steel fork from Bilenky Cycle Works.
    For Steve Bilenky, owner of Philadelphia’s legendary Bilenky Cycle Works, steel is a favorite as well. Bilenky will be making the grand prize for the time trial’s top male and female finishers. Each will get a handmade steel fork.

    The rules for the Steel/Vintage class are simple: the entire bike frame and fork must be steel. No carbon fiber on the bike. Aero components aren’t banned, but riders are asked to honor the spirit of the competition by using parts appropriate to their bike.

    On race day, McGettigan and company will be on hand to ensure that the bikes entered in the steel class are really made of that material. “It’s pretty simple,” says McGettigan. “We’re bringing a magnet.”

    For more information, go to http://www.tristatevelo.com
    To enter: http://www.bikereg.com Bilenky Cycle Works: http://www.bilenky.com

    Background
    Trophy Bikes est’d 1998. Two stores: University City 3131 Walnut Street, and Northern Liberties 1040 North American St.
    Brands include:
    Jamis. Surly. Brompton. Waterford. Independent Fabrication. Marin. Gunnar.

    http://www.trophybikes.com

    Bilenky Cycle Works est’d 1983
    5319 N. 2nd St. Philadelphia.
    http://www.bilenky.com

    There are a number of steel framebuilders in the region:
    Here are a few:
    Engin Cycles
    http://www.engincycles.com/

    Harry Havnoonian
    http://www.hhracinggroup.com/

    Spectrum Cycles
    http://www.spectrum-cycles.com/index.htm

    • Thanks for all that info – it went into my spam for some reason though, and I’m now in Boston, but show your metal sounds ace.
      We should do something like that in London “Men of Steel”?

      All the best,

      Matt

  2. Dwight Bowen says:

    Just found your blog. Am looking forward to following it.

  3. Carl Strong says:

    Hi Matt, I just wanted to drop a line and thank you for such an interesting trip around the US to all the builders. It’s a lot of fun and I look forward to more entries. Enjoy your travels!

  4. watcha Matt,
    Your travels sound great & I appreciate the effort you’re putting into this project.

  5. Mark says:

    Nice Blog mate, really impressive…All The Best

    Marky

  6. Just read your report you did for Winston Churchill Fellowship, as I was thinking of doing the same project as you, but you beat me to it. Bums!


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