History

Dareel cleaning his tricycleMy interest for bicycles/tricycles started at early age,

4 to 5 decades later not much has changed.Darrell working on bikes in Slouvakia

Out on a fun ride on my trainerWhile at secondary school I was a bit lost but enjoyed metal, woodwork, drafting, and athletics (running). I was searching for a career path when I left school -- not sure of where to go -- bespoke clock making and repairs was one interesting path that was appealing to me, but this received a negative response from the school careers advisor. I also explored an airforce apprenticeship. While seeking my compass bearings I was thrashing around the Brisbane streets on my Malvern Star and reading about the exploits of the recently retired Eddy Merckyx.

Working with Eric Hendron at Hoffy CyclesI had two copies of Bicycling magazine. In those pages were two articles, one about some bicycle frame builders (Proteus), and the other story about a national USA team mechanic working long hours in hotel car parks at bikes races in Europe. These stories inspired me to set me on my professional path with bicycles.
I switched from running to racing bikes at age 15 and then got a job working as a bicycle mechanic, assistant to a reputable frame builder Eric Hendren in his shop "Hoffy Cycles"  in Sandgate on the outskirts of Brisbane.

 

Leading the Redcliff City Criterium ...'84 or soDuring those days at Hoffy Cycles repairing all types of bicycles, from filing cotters to servicing Stumry Archer three speed hubs, I got my hands on frame and paint work while assisting Eric. The work, along with the interaction with Eric’s customers, coupled with my totally-absorbed involvement with the local racing scene, cultivated my desire to pursue the construction of high quality bicycles and products under my own steam one day in the future. 

 

Working at the lathe in the first workshop, not far from where the tricycle picture was takenI set myself a goal of ten years to have my own marque and after a brief stint with another frame builder, that time arrived. I started Llewellyn Custom Bicycles in 1989, ten years after I started work at Hoffy Cycles.

 

Racing in France, covered in horse manureMeanwhile, my deep involvement in cycle sport has driven myself to participate in 15 domestic competitive seasons racing road and track, and two seasons of living and racing in France.

This was followed by 6 full seasons working for the Australian Institute of Sport and the national road cycling team. This involvement with the national team involved working with the staff at the biomechanics and physiology departments at the Australian Institute of Sport. Working with the Australian Institute of Sport led me to build steel aero bars in this shape before carbon became fashionable.

Jack Bobrige and Darrell the night before the under 23 TTI have worked with the national team in 23 different countries and various races such as "Tour de L'Avenir" , "Le TOUR FEMININ", World Cup races, as well as two Olympic games and six world Championships. Most recently I had the privilege to work with the team during the 2009 season. Here's Jack Bobridge showing off his pasta belly the night before his winning ride in the World Championships Under 23 TT.


Darrell at the BenchToday I work each day building bike frames full-time. Alone in the workshop, I am compelled to better each day what I did yesterday (with the occasional moonlighting mechanic trips with the Australian National team).

I am fortunate to have been able to do, and experience, more than I could have ever imagined I could when I started work as a 16 year old for Eric Hendren at Hoffy Cycles Sandgate in 1979. I like to think this is my reward for my perseverance of the toil.

Life with the bikes is good.

 

Gavin Bannerman is working on a project to document the Brisbane cycling scene. He interviewed me for his project. Here is the interview:

Darrell McCulloch - Framebuilder from Gavin Bannerman on Vimeo.