FIRST CLASS: This 1992 Master Olympic Barcelona Colnago will be on display at the Rainbow Café on Saturday.
FIRST CLASS: This 1992 Master Olympic Barcelona Colnago will be on display at the Rainbow Café on Saturday. Contributed

HISTORY: Never before seen vintage bikes on display

SATURDAY marks the beginning of the world famous Tour de France and to celebrate a boutique exhibition of never before seen vintage bikes will be on display in the Whitsundays.

Sean Kelly and Phil Anderson are royalty in the cycling world and local cyclist Mark Pearson has two of their old bikes in his private collection.

Pearson has added to his collection over the years, and now has about a dozen bikes in his possession.

"I've been collecting bikes for over 35 years now, and these are known as the holy grail of the '80s and '90s professional cycling era," he said.

Four of his bikes will be on display to the public at Rainbow Cafe during the coming weeks.

Pearson's time living and racing in Europe has sparked his fascination with cycling and its rich history. Two of the bikes were bought at auction, on the proviso they would never be raced, and it's the first time in history they'll be on display.

He said the upkeep on the bikes was a labour of love and particular care must be given to the saddles, which are made out of buffalo and cow hide.

Excess moisture in the air from humidity can deteriorate the hide after time, which leaves Mr Pearson with no choice but to keep them in air-conditioned rooms.

"They've been ridden by the best teams of that era - they've raced in the Tour de France, Tour of Italy and Tour of Spain," he said.

Pearson said the bikes had since never been raced but he had had the luxury of taking them for a test ride.

"The uniqueness of these bikes is incredible, and it's the first time in history they'll be on display," he said.

"It's almost impossible to find bikes like these that have been non-raced," he said. The first bike from Pearson's private collection to be displayed to the public will be the 1992 Master Olympic Barcelona Colnago at Rainbow Cafe in Shingley Beach.

*A 1980 Colnago Saroni was ridden by Italian team Del Tongo in the 1982 World Championships, which were held in England.

*A 1985 Eddy Merckx, ridden by Team Panasonic, which included Australian cycling great Phil Anderson.

*A 1986 Vitus Carbon 9, ridden by the French team Kas.

This bike was the first of the carbon bikes that were produced in the 1980s.

Irish Cycling great, Sean Kelly rode the bike in the Tour de France and the bike was designed and manufactured in France with Russian carbon.

*A 1992 Master Olympic Barcelona Colnago, raced by the Italian team Mapei.


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