Sylvia Burka’s

Lovell Road Bike

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - VINTAGE VELO -

“I’ ve been try­ing to find one for about 15 years,” said a Toronto bike col­lec­tor. He’d been look­ing for an au­then­tic frame made by Jo­ce­lyn Lovell. Lovell, the su­per­star of Cana­dian cy­cling dur­ing the 1970s, built bikes dur­ing the late ’70s and early ’80s. He didn’t make many frames as he was still rac­ing and train­ing un­til he was hit by a dump truck on a ride in 1983. The col­li­sion left Lovell a quad­ri­plegic.

“I know I make a re­ally good frame,” Lovell said in a 1982 piece on cbc Tele­vi­sion. “I put a lot of time and ef­fort into it. My name goes on the bike, so each one is ab­so­lutely first­class.” The bike col­lec­tor, who picked up the Lovell bike this past sum­mer, was im­pressed by its qual­ity. “It is ab­so­lutely beau­ti­fully made. The lug work on it is as good as any­thing I’ve seen other than, say, a Col­nago Arabesque,” he said of the steel frame made in Toronto. A mark of the maker’s crafts­man­ship is in the hearts that are set in the lugs.

Lovell built this bike for Sylvia Burka. The two were mar­ried from 1981 to 1986. Burka, who com­peted in three Olympics in speed skat­ing and won mul­ti­ple speed skat­ing world cham­pi­onships, was also a top-level cy­clist. In 1982, she set a women’s in­door cy­cling world record in the 1-km event. She also fin­ished fourth in the in­di­vid­ual pur­suit at the 1988 world cham­pi­onships. This past Au­gust, she parted with the bike ahead of a move.

The vin­tage Lovell is equipped with var­i­ous Cam­pag­nolo com­po­nents: a 1982 Nuovo Record de­railleur, Su­per Record front de­railleur, cranks and chain­ring, and C-record Cobalto brakes and brake levers. By De­cem­ber, the bike had been re­stored. The old Selle Italia Turbo sad­dle was re­placed with some­thing more mod­ern, but classy. The new 25c tires barely had clear­ance within the clas­sic frame. —MP

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