Urban bicycle manufacturer
Two years ago James moved to London from Bath in the hope of finding a job. He didn’t have much money, so after his bike got stolen, he decided to learn how to build his own. Although it turned out to be way more expensive than he first thought, he saw the potential of a business.
James and his wife Florence started playing around with the idea of producing bikes for a living, and after he attended a big bicycle fair in Germany, he had enough inspiration and knowledge to set the wheels in motion.
He quit is full-time job and free-lanced as a trend forecaster, while he was saving up money and preparing.
A year passed, and in 2013 he launched Kennedy City Bikes at the same time as his wife launched her business, delivering flower bouquets by bike.
The two are partners in all aspects of life, meaning that if Florence has a busy day, James can take a day off from the bikes to help her out and vice versa (FYI, buttonholes are his specialty!).
The bike-frames are all designed by James, then manufactured and shipped from abroad. Once he's got the frames in house, he can build up to three bikes per day.
“It is important to remind yourself that you are not a factory, and that you should put every component together with care and joy. It can be hard to recall why you started doing what you're doing when you start seeing the money ticking in, and this is why you always have to remember the feeling you got when you accomplished that dream you had.”
"When im asked if I only make mens bicycles, my answer is that the bikes I make are bikes for humans."
James focuses on making good quality bikes to an affordable price. He is also concerned with not only making mens bikes. “It really makes me furious when I see women being patronized into riding small pink bikes. When I'm asked if I only make mens bicycles, my answer is that the bikes I make are bikes for humans."
Kennedy Bikes' frames come in three different sizes, so whether you are five feet or 6' 5", you'll be able to ride it comfortably.
The next project for James is to bring the manufacturing of the frames closer to home, and make them here in London.
This will be a lot more time-consuming, but as he puts it; he gets easily bored, and it will definitely give him more to work with.
Before I say goodbye to James and Huxley, he shoots in that it is important to try something out if you believe in it, the worst thing that can happen is that you learn something new.
For more information about the Kennedy City Bikes, visit www.kennedycitybikes.cc.