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Michael Barry returns to building custom bikes with his father

Mariposa bikes are hand built in Toronto with a history that goes back to 1969 when the brand took shape

When Michael Barry retired from professional cycling in 2012, he returned home to Toronto to learn the craft of building handmade custom bikes with his father.

“During my professional cycling career I always wanted to come back, I always thought to come back to Toronto when I retired to learn how to build a bike with my father,” said Michael.

Mike Barry Sr. began learning the art in the London area where he fostered his interest in frame building. Before emigrating to Canada, Mike raced as an amateur in England. In Toronto the Mariposa frame brand took shape in a 1969 partnership between two riding buddies and the first Mariposa frame was completed in 1970.

Photo courtesy: Mariposa
Photo courtesy: Mariposa

“I always wanted to be a frame builder,” said Mike. “Working with steel is something I always really enjoyed.”

In 2007, Mike retired turning his attention to restoring his vast antique bike collection and to spend more time with his family in Spain, where Michael had settled as a professional cyclist. Michael represented Canada at the Olympic Games in 1996, 2004, and 2008. After a career riding in Europe which came to an end in the colours of Team Sky at the end of 2012, Michael came back to his roots to learn the craft from his father. With decades of experience to draw from, Michael and his wife Dede relaunched the Mariposa brand and the Bicycle Specialties business in 2014. The Bicycle Specialties was the shop where Mike had built Mariposas and sold specialist components on Front Street in Toronto beginning in 1990.

With his pro career behind him, Michael has been able to pick up where his father left off, building custom steel frames. Mariposa make road, cyclocross, randoneur and touring, city and track bikes. Even with the families brand Michael said, “There is a constant learning curve like with anything.”

Learn more about Mariposa at mariposabicycles.ca