By Michael Barry

A good steel frame can be used repeatedly, for decades. It can be ridden, crashed, fixed and adapted. In the shop, old bikes come in constantly that need a tube replaced, a dent filled, a braze-on added or removed. An old steel bike can have ten lives and dozens of owners. My father built this bicycle for me in 1982, when I was 6 years old.  I lovingly rode it until I grew out of it and then it got passed on to countless other children before my two boys, Liam and Ashlin rode it.  As our children grow, they have been using the bikes my father built for me when I was their age.

Michael Barry, 1982

The frame was fillet brazed with a mix of tubing. At the time, it was difficult to find racing parts that were made for smaller bikes. The Huret Jubilee derailleur fit nicely but the Stronglight cranks were cut and retapped to a shorter length and the Selle Royale saddle was cut shorter as well. Originally, the bike had tubular rims and tires which my father found at a shop in England. A single chainwheel kept things simple and functional, and as I wasn’t really riding up many long hills, suited my needs. It was also impossible to find child size cycling shoes in Canada so my father took a pair of Adidas soccer shoes and cut off the studs. The black leather shoes didn’t look much different from Merckx’s racing shoes, which I thought was quite special. I think I was most proud of the fact the bike was painted just like the shop’s racing team bikes, as many of the riders were my idols.

 

Ashlin Barry 2013

Knowing my fondness for this bicycle, my wife, Dede commissioned New York City based artist, Taliah Lempart to paint it in 2005.

A few years later, Taliah published a bicycle art coloring book, which featured it on the cover.

 

Showing 3 comments
  • Andrew Kent
    Reply

    Michael,

    So glad to see this! I clearly remember seeing you ride this bicycle in a race in High Park right after your Dad built. It was a pleasure to see how proud your Dad was of you and how well the build turned out. It was and is something very special.
    This brought back fond memories for me of that time period when your Dad and I commiserated and mused about bicycle reatiling; he at his shop, Bicycleport, and me at mine Bloor Cycle. He was the inveterate gentleman and our many behind the scenes business dealings were based on a handshake.

    All the best,

    Andrew Kent

    • dede
      dede
      Reply

      Thanks for the note Andrew. That was a great period in cycling–or at least I had fond memories of it. There were certainly a lot of events–it was always fun to watch the Bloor Cycle and Bicyclesport teams race. Hope you’re well. Michael

  • Laura Plante
    Reply

    I was also fortunate to ride and love that bike! Nice feature, Now feeling… vintage? 🙂

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