TOAST Magazine

Workspace | Temple Cycles

ARTS & CULTURE

For this month's workspace series we met up with the founder of Temple Cycles, Matt Mears. He lives and works in Bristol, designing and building bicycles with a simple, classic aesthetic. Matt studied engineering at Bristol University and having been obsessed with bikes since he was 10 years old making them seemed like the natural thing to do...

Describe your studio.

Our workshop (which also doubles as a showroom) is in South West Bristol. It’s a modern building with a lot of sustainable features such as its grass roof, solar panels and louvre heat exchangers. It’s part of a ‘Green’ Business park and we are surrounded by lots of other small businesses creating a friendly community. We have a mezzanine floor which we use as the office and downstairs we have the workbenches and workshop.

Tell us about your work habits.

I usually spend the morning replying to emails and catching up on any admin and then during the afternoon I will either work on building a bike or something else creative like a bit of graphic design or a website update. I try to put content on social media throughout the day. Regular tea breaks are, of course, crucial to the whole process!

Tell us about the people you work with.

There is a small team of us who build the bicycles – we mostly have engineering backgrounds and are all cycling enthusiasts. The priming, powder coating and lacquering is done by a business down the road – they're experts at giving the frames their beautiful pearly finish, as well as making them tough and protective. To finish off the frame, we apply aircraft grade decals and a metal head-badge that Geoff Moorhouse custom makes for us by hand. We try to keep as much of the production process in the UK as possible.

What inspires you?

I take a lot of inspiration from classic French and British touring bicycles. Unlike many modern bikes, these vintage bikes were made to last (you still see them being ridden today). Vintage bikes are made from steel, which is a great choice for bikes. It’s comfortable, durable and beautiful. In using steel tubing for our bikes we are able to keep these traditional proportions and clean lines. You might notice that our Temple bikes have lots of small interesting details such as engraved logos, lugged joints and highly polished components. These tend to be ideas taken from beautiful, high-end vintage bikes I have owned in the past. You don’t get the level of detail on most modern bikes.

You custom build bikes for people - can you tell us about this?

Not everyone wants a custom build, and those that do sometimes just want a small modification to an existing model such as different gearing, handlebars or saddles. That said, we have made some beautiful custom creations for people. I love it when people ask for our bamboo mudguards, rich and vibrant colours or a smattering of luxury leather accessories.

Country cycling or city cycling?

I really enjoy riding my single speed around Bristol and do this everyday. You can't beat a bike in the city, it's the fastest and most fun way to get about. In Bristol especially, as more and more cyclists are on the roads with you these days! Cycling in the countryside is a different kettle of fish. It feels far safer due to the lack of cars and the terrain is more varied and interesting. You can be on a smooth road one minute, and then traversing along a rough track through a field the next. I like longer rides in the countryside, but enjoy the buzz of a short a to b in the city. 

Best place to cycle? 

Somerset and Devon for sure. You get a nice mix of rolling hills, interesting architecture and great views. There’s good cycling for all abilities with cycling trails along old train tracks, or gnarly mountain bike routes in the Quantocks or on Exmoor.

Learn more about Temple Cycles here

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