I purchased Dash in 1980. He is a bespoke touring bike made by Chas Roberts of Croydon, Surrey, England. I purchased the frame from Michael Barry Sr., owner of BicycleSport of Toronto, Ontario, and assembled the bike myself with top end Campagnolo and Cinelli parts. My first expensive bike. Comfortable. Fast. A treat to ride.
I have ridden Dash for 38 years. We have toured parts of Ontario, Quebec, BC, and England. We have commuted together in Toronto and Vancouver. We have trained together on the hilly and mountainous roads of BC. And we have done numerous century cycling events together. I have never stopped riding Dash, even as my stable grew.
About 10 years ago, my son asked if he could turn Dash into a fixie, a single speed bike popular with millennials in the neighbourhood. I thought about it. I had other bikes to ride. That wasn’t the problem. It’s just that fixies are not practical in this part of the world. There are too many hills. Big hills. I feared he wouldn’t enjoy it for long, and me even less. So, I said no, and that I had other plans for Dash. As much as I liked the ride, I didn’t like the shifters on the down tube, or the 27″ touring wheels.
I set out to turn Dash into a winter training bike, purchased a Shimano Ultegra Group, 700C training wheels, Ritchey Classic bars, stem and seat post from an internet retailer, turning the bike into a modern day winter speedster.
In 2007, Mike Barry Sr. retired, and stopped making the Mariposa bicycles. In 2014, Mike Jr., now retired from professional cycling, together with his wife Dede, started the business again. In 2016, I happened upon their website by chance. It was Christmas time, and I remember rushing into the living room with my laptop, showing my kids what gifts they could get for me. Jerseys. Caps. Arm warmers. Gloves. I was captivated by the brand for several reasons. First, I purchased my first from Mike Sr. Second, the name. Mariposa. Among other meanings, there is a small town not far from my cottage, and an annual folk festival in Orillia also not far from the cottage called the Mariposa Folk Festival. As a kid, I used to attend regularly. So, you see, it was meant to be. I needed a Mariposa bike.
In 2018, I returned the bike to Mariposa for repairs, an upgrade, and new paint job. One of the rear drop outs needed to be replaced, a few dents needed to be filled, and I wanted to re-route the cables beneath the top and down tubes. Mariposa was able to source the original decals, and I selected a new colour – Pacific Blue. I had the Mariposa brand colours painted on the fork, and my initials and “DASH” panted on the top tube. And lastly, I purchased 32 mm Compass Tires to improve both the comfort and speed.
The restored bike is pictured above in front of the cabinetry that was in the BicycleSports original shop in Toronto in 1980, where the Roberts first hung front the ceiling.
I’ll never tire of this bike.
Thanks. Just goes to highlight the benefit of steel frames. They last, and can be easily repaired. Dash rides like a new bike.
You’ve owned that bike long than I’ve been alive! Beautiful machine lovingly restored and brought forward with some modern touches. Bet you’ve seen many, many miles on that steed.
Yeah. It’s a great ride. Comfy. Fast. I have a serious cyclist sone and I have left the bike him so I hope when I’m done he will continue riding it.
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Wow! 39 long years! Dash must have developed its own character. Hat’s off on your efforts to improvise and maintain that beauty! I think it is better to keep it as it is, rather than transform it to a fixie – just a thought. 🙂
Dear Pedalworks, I bought a 1979 Charlie Roberts frameset, after it was built up, took it London, on my way to New Zealand. Asked if he was still making frames, no he had passed away, but son, Chas was framemaking. Rode down to shop, and the first thing that Chas said to me upon entering shop, that’s one of my dad’s bikes. Ordered an Audx frameset, all campy, and went back next year and purchased a full SLX frame. Those were the days! And a great exchange rate! Chas was wonderful to work with!
Hi William. That’s interesting. I always wanted to visit the shop but never did. I’m told my Roberts was one of the last built by the father. As you can see, I still enjoy riding the bike, but have equipped it with updated components. Thanks for reaching out.