Lots of tiny details make a unified and functional whole.
So how come your building cargobikes in a small hamlet just outside in Bristol?
The Rodford built cargobike story began in 2010, when Rob inspired by Metrofiets, Cetma cargo and Tom labonty in the USA bought an inexpensive Steel mountain bike, some mild steel tube and a sheet of cardboard and fashioned a cargobike in the style of a Kemper filibus or Belinky. It was Mig welded together and was solely for his own use, for shopping and just really to prove it could be done. He wanted to create a cargobike that was stylish fresh and UK made and somehow it happened, it rode well and the first bike was a good looking thing.
Early in 2011, the first UK Handbuilt bicycle show was being organised to occur in Bristol, being an avid follower of the North American handbuilt bike show and the Oregon Manifest this was an opportunity not to be missed. so for that show he built two bikes, another cargo bicycle in the same style as the first but being slightly more ambitious..using Shimano Roller brakes, a Nuvinci N360 hub gear and a rather brave (lurid) colour scheme. The bike paint was still wet on it when we displayed it at the first Bespoked UKHBS in Bristol in that same year 2011. He also built a ladies bike (he didnt make the frame, that was handmade in belgium) for his wife to be, which was perhaps lacking in one or two utility elements such as fenders and a chaincase but was on point and unique to the show. Rob and Rodford Velo as it was then…had the distinction of being the first and only cargobike and ladies bike in the history of bespoke. We were awarded a commendation that year, (which was kind of the judges).
Since 2011 there has been a lot of work behind the scenes, Rob was still running Really Useful Bikes, a retailer and modifier of cargobikes but there was not much actual progress on self built bikes. until…….Rob met with Steve Bodiley. Steve was making sidecars for BMX’s , these were called sidehacks and were used in a whacky form of BMX racing in America, Steve was producing these in reasonable numbers from his own workshop. they were a clever design but cleverer still was the jig that Steve had made to produce them. This was noted…They got on well and made a few little things together, drank tea and to keep a short ish story shorter began to share some workshop space.
It turned out Rob and Steve skills were complementary and this union of minds has brought Rodford Built into the 21st century, with computer aided design and some automated fabrication of components, our onsite fabrication workshop and experienced cargobike technicians its now possible to produce high quality, handbuilt, durable and exciting transport bicycle here in Bristol, a small place called Rodford actually. We use local suppliers and engineers where possible and even use the Bristol pound where we can, in fact local cycle engineering firm Cofa Engineering built us our first extra long frame building jig in return for us building him a rather nice set of wheels for his NOAH bike in 2014. We believe that our cities and towns will be enhanced by bicycles being utilised more in the coming years. We want to speed up that usage by building relevant handbuilt transport bicycles here in good old blighty
Its not all been talk and good intentions. We have made award winning bikes that are being thrashed around Bristol daily, delivering bread and other items, we have ferried our kids around and commuted on them, we have broken a few and redesigned, we have tweeked, headscratched and blagged but the time is nearly here when we can share our bicycles with you, early 2017 will definitely see our first bicycles for sale.
Designing bicycles takes a long time….if we are honest we didn’t think that it would take this long….we have our bicycles rolling around Bristol and South Glos for three years now, being testing and ‘developed’.. Our design philosophy is that the bikes are simple, manufacturable on a small to medium scale and as affordable as they can be. Our built method is modular so design elements can be carried over to each model, that how we get our style… this means tubing of certain sizes needs to be found, techniques have to be invented and jigs designed and redesigned… what we’re trying to say is that we are not there yet, but we are getting there.
We know that our range of Utility bikes will be different and will fit nicely into what’s already available, they will be more relevant to the UK than others and we hope our less expensive models will make Utility bikes more affordable to many more people.
Its a big job..bigger than we thought, but we have won awards on the way, facilitated some businesses too, ahead of schedule…so you will be able to ride and order a Rodford for yourself in 2018…keep watching this space…the time for cork popping is nearly here.
If you are a local business looking for a 2 wheeled solution to a delivery issue.. we are keen to work with local businesses, supply bicycles for factories and to help deliver produce, if you have a need for a bicycle to help you in your everyday business life, we will be happy to work with you to supply you a solution that works.