For every Aussie bicycle ‘aficionado’ who’ll turn their nose up at today’s bike, there’s guaranteed to be five more who’ll instantly be taken back to the suburban sights, smells and sounds of their childhood and the joys of riding a Ricardo — myself included. This example used to belong to my stable, till it came to be cherished by a Melbourne barista.
Ricardo is a brand that will be unfamiliar to all but Aussie cyclists over the age of 30 years old — the South Australian company churned out thousands of mediocre steel frames during that golden age when industry was still proudly domestic. The Elite was a weapon of choice for a lot of aspiring road racers, offering European good looks and dressed head-to-toe in Shimano’s ‘Arabesque’ 600 group.
The Elite was my first ‘real’ road bike, given to me by a family friend when I was working as a bike courier in Sydney. I rode it hard, crashed it hard and in the process I developed a deep appreciation for steel road bikes. Another turned up on eBay which I secured, loved and after a few years, offered for sale through Pony Bikes in Melbourne where it was snapped up by Kris from Clement Coffee.
Kris and Sasha at Pony Bikes share a strong love for coffee and bikes — Clement actually offers a Pony Bikes blend. When Sasha told me Kris had purchased my Ricardo a few years ago, I felt it had gone to a good home. But when I started to see photos of recent work being done, it was confirmed. The ornate components looked better than I ever remember them and I know Kris loves riding it.
Next time you’re in Melbourne, drop into Clement Coffee at Stall 89, 116 Cecil St, South Melbourne Markets or Pony Bikes at 87 Capel Street, West Melbourne to sample their blends.