Readers outside of Australia probably won’t recognize the Ricardo marque, and that’s fair enough. It’s the Aussie equivalent of a poor man’s Schwinn, manufacturers of road, triathlon and ‘entry-level’ mountain bikes, cobbled, albeit by hand, from nothing fancier than high quality Tange tubing.
Last week we featured the Naked Bicycles BBQ Butterfly, whose tubes were finished with a heat treated effect not unlike anodizing. A commenter reminisced about a similar ‘sooty tigerstripe effect’ that was seen on vintage Diamondback frames and I wondered what on earth he was talking about. Today, I came across Melbourne designer and bicycle polo player Chris Tomoya’s Ricardo MTB frame that he converted to a long distance tourer, and I was enlightened. The effect is achieved by forcing carbon deposits of soot on the frames surface using a candle, then applying a clear coat.
Chris has proved that it’s possible to polish the proverbial turd, and worked with Mark and Anthony at Melbourne’s Born Again Cycles to turn what was once a sluggish, confidence-expiring mountain bike into a reliable long distance tourer with trez-retro cool.
Chris proved the worth of the Ricardo’s construction and the ease of low-budget touring on a fully laden, 1,500km tour around Tasmania, which he documented on his excellent blog, hopskid. As the name subtly implies, it’s a commentary on two of life’s most important aspects, bicycles and beer.