After a roaring success at the fundraiser BBQ last night (post coming soon) we were up again this morning cycling across the city to pay our friends and sponsors, Brooks England, a visit.
Feeling a little bit fragile after the late night previous we left from my place and got 0.5 miles down the road before Ed picked up a puncture. We didn't have a tube with us, so I span back up the hill to mine to fetch one. Meanwhile Andy (who was ghostying Jess' polo bike) went on ahead to get the bike to Jess before we arrived.
We were now running a bit late for our meeting time of 11, so we got our skates on a bit and arrived at the Brooks factory in Smethwick at around 11:11 (I happened to look at my watch), and were greeted by a guy called Steve who would be showing us everything they did there.
We were guided around the whole factory starting with the raw materials, how they were cut, pressed and folded before being branded and attached to the frames. we met lots of the friendly people who worked there and even saw an arse imitation device which tests the saddle 1 million times to make sure they are worthy of the stores they end up in.
The factory churns out a whopping 1000 units per day, and there were saddles of all shapes and sizes everywhere!
We noticed also that not only are all the parts made on site, but almost all the waste material is either re-used (by Brooks) or sent off to be re-used by somebody else.
All in all it was a great trip, and we have been invited back again after our trip. We'll hopefully get a go a making a saddle (hint hint) but if not will watch on with amazement as the pros go at it on their traditional machines.
Massive thanks to Steve, Bregan and all the guys at Brooks for letting us into the Brooks HQ.