Why Vintage Velo Re-cycling

Vintage Velo Re-Cycling

RS workshop

I was born in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, right on the border with Italy, which had a great impact on the area and meant I had a lot of Italian influences in my life. I speak fluent Italian as I also attended secondary school in Italy. Already in primary school I came into contact with bikes because my oldest brother was also a bike enthusiast. Italy is a nation of bikers, with a large number of artisans producing and putting together the best iron frames and equipment. As a teenager I was given my father’s Legnano Condorino bike from the 80s. I wanted a road bike so decided to change the Condorino into one. I took it apart, spray-coloured it and put it back together again with a new rudder. That’s how I created my own personal road bike. 

In my early twenties I took up climbing, and later, alpinism. I also became an alpinist instructor. I travelled around the world on alpinist expeditions and enjoyed conquering the vertical walls of the world’s mountains. During this period I met my wife who is a great support to me and helped me take important decisions. The love between us brought into the world our two wonderful children who have filled up our daily lives. Whilst we were trying for a second child, one day I was doing the rounds at a large sports centre with a colleague where I was employed for 20 years, when we noticed an old bike which had been dumped into the rubbish tip. My colleague suggested taking it out and we put it into one of our warehouses. It stayed there for nearly three years. When my wife became pregnant again I decided it was time for me to give up alpinism. 

Looking at that castaway bike, I decided that during the time we were expecting our second child, I would restore it. I started off by finding out the make of the bike and the year it was produced. Then I checked which parts were missing in order to put it back together and which parts were original. I researched on the internet and then in old, mainly Italian shops. Through this I met many people and realised that restoration is not cheap but rather requires a large investment. After successfully restoring the bike, I continued my work with the purchase of a Legnano frame. I wanted to paint it professionally and create a proper fast city bike. After a lot of time and learning I succeeded. I started to really enjoy restoration. It angered me that bike parts were so expensive and that the majority of dealers buy an entire bike at a low price, dismantle it and sell the separate parts at a high price. I do the opposite. I try to get an original bike and as many original parts as possible and then attempt to restore it to its original state so it works perfectly. Over time I have developed my own collection. 

With experience and through word of mouth, people I know and others started to bring their bike frames and entire bikes to me to restore. It was quite a lot to take on alongside my day job and family obligations. Alpinism taught me a great deal about hard work and perseverance and with the support of my family I decided to start my own business. I chose Vintage Velo Re-Cyling because I’m keen to bring back life to those old bikes that have been neglected, disregarded and forgotten over time. I know it’s hard to master knowledge of the whole history of bike production, so I have focused on those bikes which were part of my childhood. Of course, that’s not to say that if I get a project from a different time period, I don’t take it on! 

Here I have shared with you a small part of my history and my work with bikes. 

All of the bikes presented on my website have been through my hands. 

Rok Stubelj