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Wise Words with Andrew Denham

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Andrew Denham is the founder of The Bicycle Academy, an initiative offering bicycle-making workshops to participants, who then see their creations sent to African communities where transport links are scarce.

Andrew Denham is the founder of The Bicycle Academy, an initiative that trains participants to build bike frames which are then sent to African communities where transport links are scarce. The bikes can act as cargo carriers, ambulances or just an easier mode of getting around. Andrew is no stranger to launching his own projects — prior to The Bicycle Academy he set up The Cobble Wobble, which is an annual bicycle hillclimb sprint, and continues to oversee all aspects of the event including logistical planning, marketing and PR. His implementation of a crowdfunding model for The Bicycle Academy was hugely successful, and he raised GBP 40,000 in six days before launching the business. Andrew gained a first class degree in Mechanical Engineeering from Portsmouth University, before founding a mountain bike club in Longleat Forest, the Black Cannon Collective, which he still runs today alongside The Bicycle Academy and The Cobble Wobble. We caught up with Andrew to see how he’s finding his experience as an entrepreneur in the fledgling years.
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
6. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I get really frustrated by people who over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve done business with a few people who have fallen short of the mark and it leaves a very bitter taste.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
5. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think that you need to be good at making things happen, generating momentum is often the hardest part of a project but if you can do that then you’re in with a good chance. Although tough at first once you have a few successes under your belt people will be far more willing to believe in you, trust you and ultimately support you in your ventures. It’s rare to be completely self sufficient, and so the ability to win over other people and generate momentum can make all the difference.
6. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I get really frustrated by people who over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve done business with a few people who have fallen short of the mark and it leaves a very bitter taste.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
4. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on The Bicycle Academy?
By spending time with my fiancé Maria, watching films, cooking, and riding bikes with friends – although I haven’t done that nearly enough over the past 12 months.
5. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think that you need to be good at making things happen, generating momentum is often the hardest part of a project but if you can do that then you’re in with a good chance. Although tough at first once you have a few successes under your belt people will be far more willing to believe in you, trust you and ultimately support you in your ventures. It’s rare to be completely self sufficient, and so the ability to win over other people and generate momentum can make all the difference.
6. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I get really frustrated by people who over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve done business with a few people who have fallen short of the mark and it leaves a very bitter taste.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
3. Can you describe a typical working day?
Well it’s a very dynamic thing, especially as we haven’t started teaching just yet so there’s no fixed routine. But, right now… Wake up at 08:00 check and reply to emails, Twitter and Facebook accounts. I normally set up meetings and phone calls between 10:00 and 14:00, then I’m usually out ‘doing’ until 18:00 before coming home to work on the laptop until around 20:00. Until recently I was holding down a day job four days a week too, so would have to squeeze all that into one day a week and work until around 03:30 each morning on the other four. I did that for around six months before resigning from my day job, It was pretty full on and completely exhausting.
4. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on The Bicycle Academy?
By spending time with my fiancé Maria, watching films, cooking, and riding bikes with friends – although I haven’t done that nearly enough over the past 12 months.
5. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think that you need to be good at making things happen, generating momentum is often the hardest part of a project but if you can do that then you’re in with a good chance. Although tough at first once you have a few successes under your belt people will be far more willing to believe in you, trust you and ultimately support you in your ventures. It’s rare to be completely self sufficient, and so the ability to win over other people and generate momentum can make all the difference.
6. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I get really frustrated by people who over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve done business with a few people who have fallen short of the mark and it leaves a very bitter taste.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
2. Do you feel The Bicycle Academy’s charitable ethos entices people to take up bike building who may not have previously considered it?
It’s a big part of the attraction, for sure, people really like the notion that an output of their learning is beneficial to somebody else. I think that the format of the courses and the support that we will give our students are the other main reasons people choose to take a course with us.
3. Can you describe a typical working day?
Well it’s a very dynamic thing, especially as we haven’t started teaching just yet so there’s no fixed routine. But, right now… Wake up at 08:00 check and reply to emails, Twitter and Facebook accounts. I normally set up meetings and phone calls between 10:00 and 14:00, then I’m usually out ‘doing’ until 18:00 before coming home to work on the laptop until around 20:00. Until recently I was holding down a day job four days a week too, so would have to squeeze all that into one day a week and work until around 03:30 each morning on the other four. I did that for around six months before resigning from my day job, It was pretty full on and completely exhausting.
4. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on The Bicycle Academy?
By spending time with my fiancé Maria, watching films, cooking, and riding bikes with friends – although I haven’t done that nearly enough over the past 12 months.
5. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think that you need to be good at making things happen, generating momentum is often the hardest part of a project but if you can do that then you’re in with a good chance. Although tough at first once you have a few successes under your belt people will be far more willing to believe in you, trust you and ultimately support you in your ventures. It’s rare to be completely self sufficient, and so the ability to win over other people and generate momentum can make all the difference.
6. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I get really frustrated by people who over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve done business with a few people who have fallen short of the mark and it leaves a very bitter taste.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.
1. Where did the idea for The Bicycle Academy come from?
I wanted to build myself a silly bike to use in a cycling event I run, but after looking into existing courses found them to be too expensive, relatively uninspiring and meant putting all your efforts into just one frame. I was also doing a bit of work to help support a few different bicycle distribution charities where there’s a real shortage of bicycles and a need for standard design. The two threads of thought became tangled in my head and I came up with the idea for The Bicycle Academy. A place where the act of learning to build bikes helps other people, and where you can come back to make use of the workshop facilities to build more bikes as and when you want to.
2. Do you feel The Bicycle Academy’s charitable ethos entices people to take up bike building who may not have previously considered it?
It’s a big part of the attraction, for sure, people really like the notion that an output of their learning is beneficial to somebody else. I think that the format of the courses and the support that we will give our students are the other main reasons people choose to take a course with us.
3. Can you describe a typical working day?
Well it’s a very dynamic thing, especially as we haven’t started teaching just yet so there’s no fixed routine. But, right now… Wake up at 08:00 check and reply to emails, Twitter and Facebook accounts. I normally set up meetings and phone calls between 10:00 and 14:00, then I’m usually out ‘doing’ until 18:00 before coming home to work on the laptop until around 20:00. Until recently I was holding down a day job four days a week too, so would have to squeeze all that into one day a week and work until around 03:30 each morning on the other four. I did that for around six months before resigning from my day job, It was pretty full on and completely exhausting.
4. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on The Bicycle Academy?
By spending time with my fiancé Maria, watching films, cooking, and riding bikes with friends – although I haven’t done that nearly enough over the past 12 months.
5. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?
I think that you need to be good at making things happen, generating momentum is often the hardest part of a project but if you can do that then you’re in with a good chance. Although tough at first once you have a few successes under your belt people will be far more willing to believe in you, trust you and ultimately support you in your ventures. It’s rare to be completely self sufficient, and so the ability to win over other people and generate momentum can make all the difference.
6. What drove you crazy when building your business?
I get really frustrated by people who over-promise and under-deliver. I’ve done business with a few people who have fallen short of the mark and it leaves a very bitter taste.
7. What motivates you to keep going?
I’m motivated by the notion of working towards something that matters, something that makes life better for people — be it the people who receive the donated bikes or the people who we teach. I’m also motivated by learning the craft of frame building, developing as a business owner, and by the notion of being my own boss. I believe strongly that autonomy, mastery and purpose are what make me tick.
8. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d ask for help far earlier on. I tried to do almost everything myself for far too long and at the expense of my health.
9. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?
In five years time The Bicycle Academy will be well established, teaching a broad range of students and providing support to enthusiast and professional bicycle frame builders across the UK. We’ll get there by working hard and caring about every single student.
10. If you weren’t working on The Bicycle Academy, what would you be doing?
Well up until two weeks ago I was working as a Design Engineer in the offshore oil and gas industry. So I guess that. I resigned after taking a business loan to enable me to focus on The Bicycle Academy full time. One of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.
11. Tell Springwise a secret…
I really struggle to get up in the mornings.
12. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Find out what really motivates you then pursue that. Money is rarely the main motivator for people, so it’s better to find out what makes you tick and spend time working towards it – if you do a good job the money will follow, but if it doesn’t at least you’ll be happy!
Thanks Andrew!
You can read more about The Bicycle Academy in our article here or visit The Bicycle Academy website here.