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NAHBS Best Painter 2009

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In 2009 VéloColour attended the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, and came away with the Top Painter Award, a huge and humbling honour.

Toronto painter, Noah Rosen works closely with Mike Barry, father of the Canadian pro road rider, and a former builder for Mariposa.

Barry wanted Rosen to restore his old 1951 Cinelli to something closely resembling its original condition. They had to go by black and white photos, but Barry had vivid memories of the bike and knew the paint color was a close match. The main challenge says Rosen was matching the specific details such as the chromed seat tube bands.

Getting clean lug edges on a 60-year old bike took a lot of work, since the metal had roughened over the years. Rosen put some 20 hours into the restoration job.”

–NHABS

The finished project

It is now built up with almost the same components as it had in 1958. Some parts are the actual ones Mike Barry used then.

In progress, masked lugs

This was a large restoration project though not completely unfamiliar to us as we’ve done lots of restoration work on all sorts of amazing bikes and brands. The Cinelli had a little extra significance however. Getting to work on this particular bike and bring it back to life for Mike added extra excitment to the process. It is a rare Cinelli because of its age and because it was built to spec. for it’s original owner who Mike bought it from in the late fifties. Unusual characteristics such as the early style seat cluster and Paris-Roubaix type rear drop-outs with a derailleur hanger are other reasons this was a stand out restoration.

Of course this paint job was made to impress. All of the work done at VéloColour is as close to perfection as we can get though painting it for Mike and preparing for out first NAHBS meant there was no room for error.

NAHBS is an amazing show. There is an incredible amount of talent out there and getting to be a part of that was fantastic. Meeting and hanging with some of the people making by far the nicest bicycles in the world was an honour. The award was definitely unexpected but is something we will always be proud of.

Mike Barry recounts the bike’s history on his Bicycle Specialties blog:

In the early fifties and I was a kid living in London with very little money but an intense interest in everything cycling. My cycling mates and I would ride around London visiting all the bike shops. We could not afford to buy anything but just looking at the wonderful bike equipment was a favourite occupation. The shop we visited most was the Cyclecraft shop in Chiswick that had a display of marvelous Cinellis. The finish, chrome work and super clean lines were outstanding. To this day I still think that those early Cinellis were the finest looking bikes ever.

Mike Barry racing on the Cinelli, Chobham England, 1956


I kept the old frame and eventually brought it to Canada and rode it until the seat tube and bottom bracket cracked. I repaired it and had it repainted but unhappy with the paint job I never rode it again. It hung on a hook in the workshop waiting for the day when I would get it restored properly. Recently (twenty five years later) I took it down, had it rechromed and gave it to Noah (Velocolour) to refinish the way it was when I raced it fifty years ago. It had been beige in 1951 when John bought it but he had had it repainted dark blue by the time I got it. There has been some discussion as to which colour it should be now and eventually I decided on the blue. I imagine many Cinelli enthusiasts will be aghast that I didn’t have it repainted in the original biege but I wanted it how I remembered it.

I think it looks better now than it ever did thanks to Noah’s paint job.

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