Canadian Cycling Magazine

Sylvia Burka’s

Lovell Road Bike


“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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