Mike Barry was a Canadian cycling legend. He founded of one of Canada’s best bicycle brands, Mariposa, and ran a bicycle shop called Bicycle Specialities for many years in Toronto.
A Life with Bicycles: a collection from 1878 — 2003 is a book that details the incredible bicycle collection of the recently deceased bicycle mensch. The photos are by Walter Lai. His wife Clare, featured in dandyhorse issue 3, said Mike was very, very pleased with Walter’s photos. “Mike always enjoyed writing, researching and thinking about designs of bikes and their use. I had really encouraged him to also consider doing a book or section on derailleurs as he loved the designs of them. …He certainly had an engineering and inquisitive mind. He was very very and pleased with Walters photos.
Mike Barry died on December 29, 2018, at the age of 80 in Toronto.
His son, Michael, a professional cyclist who competed in the Tour de France, said the book project started a few years ago when Walter and his father decided it would be nice to document his collection of bicycles. “He had been writing about them on his blog and found there was a lot of interest in the bicycles, their history, and technical aspects, and thought it would be nice to put them all in a book. Walter was keen to photograph the bikes (as he had previously worked with my father on building the shop website.) Walter is a professional photographer who has done a range of work for different corporations and magazines over the years. He is also a passionate cyclist who rides everywhere, year-round. As you know bicycles played a central role in my father’s life as he had been passionate about them since he was a child. Through the book, he wanted to share some of what he’d learned, some of his stories and some of the history of bicycles,” Michael said, ” And he felt Walter’s photos captured them beautifully.”
Here are just a few of the images from the book A Life with Bicycles, below, interspersed with our interview with photographer Walter Lai along with a couple of excerpts from the book.