From Toronto, Canada, we have Mike Barry. Barry, along with Tom Hinton, oversees every step of the process-from custom frame to custom racks-that results in the chrysalis of a Mariposa cycle.
Starting back in 1969, Mike has built beautiful, purpose-designed cycles for racing, touring as well as randonneuring. His daughter-in-law Dede won the World Cup on one of his creations and his son, Michael, is currently a teammate of Lance Armstrong's on the Discovery Channel Pro Team. Cycling is clearly in his blood. This is what Mike Barry had to say...
1. How old are you?
2. Where were you born?
3. What's your earliest memory of a bicycle or something bicycle related?
About 1945 when I got a small Hercules kid's bike.
4. What was your first cycle?
As above. First real bike was a Raleigh Lenton Sports with an SA FM 4 speed hub. Date 1950
5. How about first "high-end" cycle?
1952 I transferred parts from the Raleigh to a Claud Butler "New Allrounder" frame.
6. Did (does) your family (parents, siblings, etc) ride also?
No. Except my Mother for shopping etc.
7. Did you like to tinker with bikes back then?
I've tinkered with bikes almost as long as I can remember. Certainly since about 1948.
8. Did you ever work in a Bike Shop... if so, where/how long?
No, well not for remuneration, but I "helped out' in the local racing bike store for a few years when I was in my teens.
9. Have you ever done any organized racing?
I was a first category amateur in the UK until 1964 and then raced half-heartedly for a few years in Canada.
10. How about cyclo-touring?
I've toured in the UK, Europe, the US and Canada. I founded the Toronto Randonneurs and participated in numerous randonees.
11. What job(s) did you have before frame building and also-do you have any other job currently besides frame building?
I was an instrument engineer (electronics & optics) until I opened a bike shop in 1972.
12. When did you start building?
13. Who would you say is your greatest influence in designing & frame building?
Ours, that is Mariposa Bicycles, are known for our complete touring and randonneur bikes which incorporate custom carriers, etc.
14. Did you apprentice... if so, with who?
15. What's your idea of the "perfect cycle" regardless if you built it or not?
Richard Sachs frame work. Mariposa custom carriers, etc.
16. Shooting a guess... how many frames would you say you've built?
17. Any cycles out there that you secretly wished, "Darn, I wish I'd built that!"?
18. Your idea of the perfect client?
The one that leaves it entirely up to us.
19. What defines a nightmare client in your experience?
One that wants to specify every little thing about the bike.
20. Any words of advice to up & coming frame builders?
There is no money in it.
21. What do you find most funny or peculiar (in a kind way-not brutal) about the cycle-buying public... what don't they get or aren't they seeing?
Most cannot see behind the decal. If there is a fancy Italian name then it must be good even if the frame had been made in China and is available much less expensively with a less reputable name on it. Too many are caught up in the marketing hype.
22. What do you think of mass-produced bikes (without naming names)?
Some are excellent. Many are well made but poorly designed.
23. What cycle don't you have anymore that you wished you did?
A Stuart Purves that I had custom made in 1953. Stuart was a wonderful craftsman as good if not better than most in London and there were many of them at that time.
24. What cycle do you currently ride most, even if it wasn't built by you?
A Bianchi on which I have a single freewheel and a Nexus dynohub which I use for commuting. Otherwise I ride a Mariposa road bike or my Mariposa randonneur.
25. When did you last ride your bike and for how far?
Half an hour ago for 45 minutes when I rode to work.
26. What's your idea of the perfect ride?
Other than a ride in the Pyrenees which is probably my favorite area then it would be on the country roads north of Toronto. Quiet rolling terrain with some hard packed gravel roads and some tarmac.
27. Could you ever see yourself being Car Free... just using mass-transportation and your bike to get around?
28. Why do you think so many folks have romanticized bicycles & bicycling?
Because the bike is the most efficient way of getting around and the bike has basically remained unchanged for more than a century. There are not many machines that you can say that about.
29. Any (other) passions or hobbies in your life?
30. If you could say one thing to Lance Armstrong what would it be?
You are an inspiration to us all.
31. In a pinch... McDonalds or Burger King?
I wouldn't know the difference.
32. What kind of shampoo did you last use?
33. Favorite libation: wine, beer or fire water?
34. Even though there seems to be a real tradition to it-what do you think of folks who spend more time setting up their cycle with just the right color saddle, bar tape, bags, hoods, etc than actually riding or at least commenting on the ride?
Well it is better to be doing that than doing so many other things but it is really a pity that that is the case. Too many people spend too much time and too much money on their bikes rather than experiencing the joy of riding while fit.
35. Did you go to college... if so, what was your major?
36. Your favorite music while working (if any)?
37. If you had it to do all over again... would you be building cycles?
38. What's your favorite lunch food during a work day in the shop?
Homemade sandwich, yoghurt and an apple.
39. When it's all said & done-what kind of legacy will you hope to have left behind?
That down the road someone will say "Now that is a Mariposa, that is a very nice bike".
40. How can folks get in touch with you to order a custom cycle?