GOOD MORNING, CAMPERS!
What a fantastic time for me at the Cirque. I've been to 5 in a row now I
believe, and for certain to me each one is FAR better than the last. This
year confirmed that for sure. I'm sure each person's experience is a little
different; but in this case I believe I have some of the most special
associations. Each year at the Cirque as it grows and more persons attend, I
get the magic pleasure of meeting up close and personal with my fellow frame
builders from all parts of the country, and beyond; and therefore get to
know more about the real people they are. I try to not talk frame building
too much, and mostly we don't. We talk of old bikes, frame bits, and
personal things beyond out lives as frame builders. It's absolutely
unimaginable how exciting this is for me. I hope to have the time to free
you from having to imagine what this might be like. Some truly priceless
moments transpired this weekend. I think sharing a few will be fun.
My journey did not end until I arrived at my doorstep at 11:00pm. Often it's
an adventure getting home from the airport on account of the friend of mine
I rely on to pick me up. But this time, just before I boarded my plane home,
I had a very wonderful talk with Joel Dressner as we both waited for our
planes. Every person's perspective moves me. These times are all
opportunities to learn more about our fellow bike freeks and enrich our own
experiences. Speaking with Joel just as I left was like dessert after having
a perfect and sumptuous meal.
Enough said for now.
La Mesa, CA
Dazed and Confused, and loving it!
What a weekend! (Forgive my
incomplete sentences.) Piled into a van with trailer with the Orlando
attendees on Thursday--Jonathan Greene, Brent Harrell, first time attendee
Diane Blake. Bess David is an honorary Orlando member and she joined us from
Houston. We arrived at midnight to find a few hardy souls still partying.
Brian Baylis presented me with an early Christmas present--my Baylis frame!!
I'm stoked about it. It slept on the pillow next to me for 3 nights, so we
are now well acquainted. After a "few" hours of sleep, I was ready for day
1, Friday. We did the usual meet and greet at the Battleground,
reacquainting with old friends and making a few new ones. Diane Blake
displayed her wonderful high wheeler. She builds them from scratch in
Orlando, right down to the bolts and nuts, to replicate an 1885 model. I
know she has a Victoria badge on it, but don't know whether that was the
1885 model or not. A saw Jonathan Greene and Brian Baylis ride it and that
was fun. Jonathan took 3 laps around the parking lot before he was able to
get off! His butt kept sticking on the saddle. Several trips to Cycles DeOro
to admire the bikes and meet more people occupied the morning. Karen Rawls
twisted our arms to go to Stamey's for Carolina barbeque. The rain finally
cleared enough for us to get in a short ride on the wet streets of
Over to Dale's house for the
lawn party, which is not only a wonderful way to see bikes and friends, but
a very gracious hosting by Dale and his wife. I spent time getting
acquainted with Dale's Welsh Corgi 'pups'. Paul and Rita Lee brought a case
of Masi wine. Over to Anton's restaurant for more food and drink. My friend
Ted Miller had arrived from Delaware while we were at the restaurant. And,
as usual, the Battleground Inn was a hopping place until well after
midnight. I thought I had alcohol poisoning by the time we turned out the
lights! Saturday morning a few of us took a ride through the Battlefield
instead of the organized rides.
Then, off to the Rec Center for
the Seminars. A friend, Gary Williams met me at the door for a handshake and
then he was off to Hilton Head. I would have liked to have spent more time
with him. That was quite a detour for him to take from Vermont just for a
handshake and less than five minutes of talk. The theme for the seminars was
"French". Mike Barry gave a wonderful talk on derailleurs. I had the
opportunity to finally meet Mike and also his lovely wife, Carla(?), who it
turns out has a lot in common with my wife. Dave Herlihy, Mike Kone and Jan
Heine took us from Da Vinci (although I think Dave gave early credit to a
Frenchman instead of a Florentine) to modern development of the bicycle,
with emphasis on the French connection. Hilary Stone talked about the French
influence of E. Bastide on the English market, with a fascinating piece of
detective work showing how one English builder, Granby (?-not sure whether I
got that right), copied Bastide's designs.
After a short recess, we were
off to the evening banquet for more great food and company. John Barron
presented the 2005 Mike Richardson Memorial Classic Rendezvous Vintage
Bicycle Award to Sheldon Brown. It was my first time to meet Sheldon and it
was nice that he could be present to receive this honor. Jeff Groman
presented a wonderful film in tribute to the Six Day racers. This was the
second iteration of his work I've seen on this subject and it is
fascinating. After the banquet, we headed to Cycles DeOro for the Charity
Auction. It was another great event and my hat is off to Gianni Pergolizzi
for coming up with wonderful entertainment for a great cause.
By Sunday morning, I was lucky
to be standing given a severe case of sleep deprivation. It was raining, so
I passed on the dawn patrol. We packed the van and headed to the Rec Center
for the swap and show. My friend Brian Hammill showed up from Murfreesboro
TN with a boat load of Gianni Motta and other bicycles/parts for sale. I
called my wife for a counseling session to prevent me from buying a
beautifully pantographed Motta that he had. I believe in all he had five
Motta bikes/frames and about six others. When I left, only the nice Motta
and a Peugeot were unsold. The eye candy at Cirque was absolutely mind
boggling. Lots of wheeling and dealing took place. I picked up a DeRosa and
Masi pantographed chainring. I understand the Masi ring was pantographed by
list member Jack Gabus. Jack, if you are offering this service to the list,
I think many people would like to hear the details. The awards were all well
deserved. I'm sure Dale will announce them this week, but frame builders
Mike Barry, Bruce Gordon, Richard Sachs, and Brian Baylis (via Wayne
Bingham's bike) all got awards that I recall. Eddie Albert's pair of Dick
Power bikes won Best of Show if I recall correctly. After the traditional
group picture, it was time to pack up, say our goodbyes and hit the road. We
were wheels up at 3PM and arrived back in Orlando at 3AM, so I'm still
running on fumes this morning. I'm sure someone will correct some of my
recollections and add to the others.
I had a wonderful weekend. I
come away from Cirque every year both energized and depressed. I get back to
my meager collection of bikes and say, "I'm not worthy". But, I also realize
that I'm blessed to have the opportunity to see the bikes and most of all,
the people, on a regular basis. I missed some of the regulars, particularly
the California contingent and Tom Hayes, but there were many new faces to
put with names. The CR list is nice, but nothing beats face-to-face
meetings. Thanks again to Dale Brown and Scott Ramsey for setting up the
Cirque. As I understand it, next year's event will be in June 2006. It is
already on my calender.
Lou Deeter, Orlando FL
Another Cirque has come and gone
and as far as I could tell, a good time was had by all participants. I
definitely had a great time finally putting a face to people who were
hence-to-for only email addresses or telephone voices.
There was a very high quality and wide range of bikes on display. The
auction on Saturday was once again a resounding success with well over $3000
donated for a worthy charity.
A personal highlight for me was being able to speak with many of the frame
builders present. The cirque really has become a mecca for the North
American frame building elite and an ideal venue to admire examples of their
work, speak to these builders, and hopefully place an order for a custom
frame. Some random outtakes from the show that stood out for me, were:
- Ed Litton's recreation of a Campagnolo cambio corsa bike (having seen the
donor frame before Ed worked his magic, I was literally blown away at how
well the bike turned out! He truly is a magician.)
- Bruce Gordon's touring bike and titanium frame fit pump. If you can't buy
one ofhis bikes, at least consider one of these pumps.
- Mike Barry's incredible restoration of the Praderio bike with the Cervino
derailleur. Again, having seen this bike before the restoration, I was once
again reminded as to why Mike should be considered one of the top restorers
in North America.
... I could obviously go on, but I'll leave that to others.
I would like to extend warm thanks to Dale and the whole crew for the
tireless effort in hosting the whole show.
Moorestown, NJ, USA
I have to say that meeting other frame builders, especially from other
countries, is really special. Every one of us is unique (to say the least),
and yet we have this common bond that connects us to both ourselves and to
you people out there. The thing that the Cirque provides that nothing else
can, is it brings us together face to face. So when I have an opportunity to
get to know everyone better, the things that happen, the common interests
that come up, all the life stories and other praddle, and the one liners;
these will be fond memories for the rest of our lives. It is magic that so
many talented frame builders and painters attend this event. Some come for
business. Some come for pleasure. For me it is a vacation, but amongst
people with whom I do business with. This in itself is a little bit unusual.
I normally come in wound pretty tight, as maybe one or two persons
experienced when I first arrived. But as I spend time there and begin to
relax; I soon become refreshed and inspired anew to continue my work. We're
in an honorable profession. People (at least a few in the world) appreciate
what we do and that which inspired us to do what we do.
It was wonderful to meet Mike Barry and his wife and to see his work and
some of his collection. We didn't have much time together, but his gentle
nature and excellent work speaks for itself. His passion is obvious, and
that is as it should be; in all of us.
I had a little more time with Darrell McColloch (sp?) from OZ. Kirk Pacenti
and Dazza were kind of paired up, as were Bruce Gordon and Ed Litton. We had
some dinners and breakfasts together, which is one of the best times to get
to know one another. We talk about music, hobbies, life experiences, a tad
about frame building, and a VERY tiny drop of gossip. My favorite part is
the humor. Joke sharing, theme jokes (jokes of the moment that keep popping
up throughout the meeting or even the entire Cirque), and the priceless
you-had-to-be-there one-liners. I found Darrell both highly skilled and
delightfully intelligent and funny. I hope he makes it back soon. I know
it's quite a trip.
I didn't get to spend much time with Doug Fattic. He was a bit under the
weather this weekend. I did however have plenty of time to get to know him
better in Houston. (More priceless moments.) I'm sure we'll see him back
next year, right Doug?
But without a doubt, for me, the headliner was the "Eddie and Bruce Show".
None of us had any idea what we were in for. I had only briefly spent time
with Bruce and Ed at VR and at the Legends of Frame building event in San
Francisco. Marvelous times by the way; but this performance may never be
topped. I'm serious. First of all, it started so subtly that Pergs, Maurice,
and myself didn't even know the curtain had gone up. I believe the first act
started sometime Friday afternoon at the "Garden Party", possibly fueled by
the ingestion of some alcoholic beverages. Bruce and I became new best
friends sometime during that rarified afternoon of checking out Dale's
extensive collection of "stuff" and hob-knobbing with everyone before
dinner. We arrived on the tale end of the dinner crowd and Maurice and I sat
with Oscar and Felix. No one in that huge room could possibly have had a
funnier evening at their table. About halfway through the meal I noticed the
"routine" they were running. Ed and Bruce were playing the part of an old
married couple, and I mean EXACTLY, and so craftily that we didn't notice
until mid meal. Martin and Lewis pale in comparison to this pair. Ed plays
the straight man (Ollie, Felix, Gleason, Rowan, Dean Martin, etc.) and Bruce
(Stanley, Oscar, Norton, Martin, and Lewis) slings out the jokes as Ed sets
them up. Once we noticed and mentioned it, they turned it up to "11".
Maurice and I were rolling on the floor by the time the shebang was over.
They kept it up at the ice cream parlor and on into the night. I didn't hit
the sack until 2:30am that night. Actually, these two are so good I'd say
that could be the Marx Brothers and only with the two of them. Ed plays
Zeppo and Chico, Bruce plays Harpo and Groucho. I can definitely picture
Bruce with a cigar as he asks "Wanna buy a Duck!?" (Ed plays George Fenimen
in that routine.)
I don't know about this. My "Bruce Gordon was rude to me" button is probably
obsolete. I've got a movement afoot to produce the 2005 version. "I was
AMUSED by Bruce Gordon". Look for them in your Cracker Jacks soon. We may
cut a deal with the Froot Loops people also! Maybe it's time for an Image
change, buddy? I feel a disturbance in the Force!
Anyway, this only got funnier as the weekend progressed. Once I recognized
Ed as the straight man, I was awed by his genius. Bruce is good, but Ed is
brilliant. I REALLY had a blast with you guys. We'll have to do this again
sometime. We all heard each others life stories and how we go into this
insare business in the first place. You really can't put a price on finding
out what rare exotic frame bit you have been looking for that the other
bloke has a bucket full of. We even had a really funny "discussion" as to
whether a particular fork crown was Nervex or Vagner. Bruce asked me to
settle a little lovers spat over the issue. My vote brought it to 2 to 1 in
favor of Bruce. Ed was not satisfied. We asked a few other builders and
Hilary Stone, and still we were deadlocked, even though the tally was still
one up for "us". Ultimately we ended up using Jeff Groman's cell phone to
call Roland Della Santa in Reno for and answer, and more importantly a line
on the crowns in question. Roland and I talked on the phone for several
minutes, since it was only 9:30pm where he was and I was the only one not
using water bottles as wine glasses. Another priceless evening. Ed got
funnier as the evening progressed. This was the night of the auction and for
this portion of the show Ed was playing "contrarian". It took a while for me
to suss because it's difficult to see the twinkle in Ed's eye behind his
glasses. Oh yeah, and his eyes were squinting more as the water bottle
became more air and less liquid. He asked me for a review of his performance
the following morning, since apparently he wasn't all that sure himself. He
was exceptional and in complete control. I actually wouldn't be surprised if
he was just doing his Foster Brooks imitations (the "drunk" comedian on
Laugh-in, for those who don't remember), but I believe the wine was genuine.
I think I made it to bed around 1:30 am that evening. Crazy.
If I have time, I'll write more later. Now that I'm all refreshed and
relaxed, I can start in catching up on stuff effected by my going to the
Cirque. There's a lot of it.
La Mesa, CA
Bring your sense of humor to the Cirque. There's always plenty of other time
to be serious.
Here's a few more scenes from
Cirque '05, sadly done now for another year.
First, I was mortified to realize Saturday nite that I hadn't taken any
pictures so far, I had been so busy yakking with my old friends. But Chris
Kostman of Adventure Corps bailed me out by posting a couple hundred shots
of all three days. Thanks Chris, and I encourage anyone else with pics to
put them up. Looking at the shots is often the best reminiscence. Dale has a
link up to Chris's show:
This Cirque was different for me, not so giddy and frantic as my first two,
but just as joyous. The first big difference was that I stayed at the
Microtel. At first I felt like I had been condemned to Siberia, but by golly
the lobby filled up with bike kooks just like the Battleground, and I was
able to get to sleep at only a mildly unreasonable hour, too, important due
to the fact that I actually had some miles in my legs this year and was
eager for the road.
There seems to be dominant themes to Cirque (with innumerable blendings of
both schools):, relaxing first or riding first. (The talking and looking is
about the same for both groups.) For us Yankees with our legs pasty from the
long winter and tummies flabby from sloth, Greensboro in May is wonderful.
The weather this year turned out perfect, although we played chicken with
bands of roving showers throughout. I rode all three days and felt hardly a
drop, and never felt uncomfortable with my wool jersey and arm warmers.
Great change indeed from back home, and the rolling country roads were
delightful. Fixed Friday was a bit light on machines due to the clouds, but
the pace was delightful, and Ray Etherton on a borrowed blood red Peugeot
PX10 and I on my trusty Gitane TDF chatted throughout. It's amazing how many
folks have had either a Peugeot or a Gitane at one time or another. Saturday
the Jersey Boyz aimed high, going out with the fast group, but we managed to
the way to the end, although Roy H. dropped back to help with a broken spoke
(no small matter with a 24 spoke wheel: they had to dismount the rear brake
to get clearance) and Mike Schmidt and I were clinging grimly to the tail of
the peleton at times (a talking pace includes swearing, gasping and
wondering where everyone went, right?). Most of the listees skip Sunday to
work the swap, but the Tour d'Guilford a wonderful route. I did the 34 miler
and loved it, both the riding and the talk. I rode with Amir for a few miles
while we discussed our collections. Then the riders scrummed up to decipher
the map at a confusing intersection. When we broke up and restarted I chased
like crazy to catch the pack in front only to discover that the yellow
jacket I was pursuing wasn't Amir. (Amir, the fifth bike is a Stan Pike.)
But we all got back to the Rec Center safely for the wonders of the show.
There's so much more that went on that I despair of being able to tell it,
but I'll pass on two more nuggets to give a flavor of the weekend. At the
Saturday dinner our table was enthralled by Senior Chief Robinson's (?)
reminiscences of his days sailing submarines with the US Navy (sub-sub polar
crossing, practice depth chargings with real depth charges (!?!) and
maintaining that most vital piece of equipment, the ice cream maker). Then
there was Steve Maasland's jaw dropping as he saw Mike Barry's restored
Paderio. Steve told me that this bike was a rusted out hulk prior to Mike's
ministrations, and look at it now:
So I'm eagerly waiting for more pics, and already planning for next year.
1,000 thanks to Dale, so generous to make this event go. I only wished it
could go on longer.
Tom Adams, Shrewsbury NJ
That's Fred Durette, not Robinson. His first Cirque and by his account
definitely not to be his last. I believe he felt just as I did last year,
delighted to discover such a friendly and stimulating group whose members
continue to appreciate vintage bicycles (while at times enduring the teasing
and derision of spouses and young LBS employees).
Fred suffered from the same attack of "I'm not worthy" that affllicts so
many first-time attendees. He brought a beautiful rose Cinelli ('72?) that
he almost left in the car because he wasn't sure it would generate any
interestn parked next to the other bikes. After a bit of poking and
prodding, Fred changed his mind and sure enough once the bike was on the
floor he was soon soon engaged in spirited conversation with several other
Cinelliphiles who gathered admiringly around his bike.
I'm sure I enjoyed myself every bit as much as Fred did. I've been an avid
photographer all my life but I think that Cirque is the only event I've ever
attended where I become so distracted by the pleasant company of fellow
attendees that I get caught up in the moment and end up coming home with only
a handful of photos. Sure, it's wonderful seeing all those great bikes but
the people is really what this shindig is all about. I don't know if I've
ever met a finer group of folks... friendly, considerate, knowledgeable,
filled with good humor, and all so incredibly glad to see each other.
Thanks again for making it happen, Dale.
The bikes were great, but people
stole the show. The old friends, the newbies were great. Some really
interesting new folks that really added a lot to everyone's enjoyment of the
Best bike there to not win a prize ( I don't think it did,
anyway)...Guy Apple's new Peter Johnson...Wow!
Best bike carrier...Peter Koskinian's huge truck full of goodies...He also
would win Best Hawaiian Shirt, too, if there were such an award.
Best activity...helping clean out Dale's bike building behind his
house Thursday afternoon. A bunch of us went over there and got more playing
and ogling in than work, but Dale was good natured about it and seemed to
enjoy it as much as we did.
Best Meal...Monterey Mexican on Sunday night.
Most improved meal...the Saturday night dinner at the
banquet...better than last year.
Worst meal...I thought it would be the Thursday night sea food place
which sure did not set the world on fire, but the cold, indifferent Salmon
at the Italian place on Friday night was a really weak meal for $17...Surely
there is better food in Greensboro than that...perhaps the wood fired pizza
place by Dales' might be worth looking into...or Stamey's Bar-B-Que?
Best non bike thing I saw in the area...I drove to the top of Pilot
Mountain a little ways out of town and it was mind blowing...2000 foot
cliffs all around...it looked like Valhalla!
Not enough time to do everything I wanted to do and too little time with
friends...looking forward to getting together with some of them later this
Dale was once again the perfect host and lots of folks need to be thanked
for their hard work.
As always the primary source of
joy comes from being with all of you. The bicycles just help bring out the
kid in all of us once more.
Favorite moments included watching the test rides on Diane's high wheeler in
the Battleground parking lot. It was kinda like watching NASCAR...some one
just had to crash. Thankfully no one did.
The generosity of the frame builders to take valuable time away from their
business to be with us once again.
Watching the whole weekend just kind of evolve effortlessly; through the
savvy leadership of Dale and the hard working crew he has assembled.
Favorite bicycle had to be the wacky and magnificent Weigle/Wiggle
I'm almost recovered from my sleep deprivation (really, 3:00a.m. Fri. nite
w/Brian and Maurice and not earlier the 1:00 the other nites), so now THE
The 2004 Cirque Charity Auction held at The Cycles de Oro repair area for
the benefit of Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org) raised $4,060.00.
I can't begin to thank all of you who gave ALL of the proceeds of the sale
of your items to the benefit of children. There were many of you. I can only
begin to thank the other generous folks who donated ALOT of the proceeds.
Your all wonderful. More fun was had then those of youse who did not attend
can imagine. Thank you especially to all of you who could not attend but
sent in donations any way. Chuck Brooks, that means especially you!
The Confente bike sold and a VERY GENEROUS donation went to the boys and
girls by Nick Z. Congratulations to the buyer; ride the heck out of her!
Without the assistance of Johnny Baron (Chief money collector) , Harvey
Sachs (Assistant auctioneer), Wayne Bingham (Chief unpacker and assistant to
the auctioneers), and David Cooper (who I commandeered to run the 50/50
raffle (that alone raised $175.00)), I would not have been able to pull this
off. Oh yea, thanks Dale for the opportunity and the use of the shop. Your
much, much more then generous.
My only regret is that I can't hang out more with each and every one of
youse more. It's like we're all neighbors who only get out of the house for
the block party once or twice a year.
I really missed The California Contingent this year and look forward to
Pasadena and The Velo Rendezvous. I hope that more of youse's can get to
Greensboro next year. Lisa say's "Hi".
Last years charity auction raised $1,856.00 for The Make a wish Foundation
and my hope was to surpass that figure this year. $4,060.00; we blew the
goal out of the water! Youse guy's (same faux pas as at The Banquet!) are
As long as there is a Cirque, there will be a charity auction for the
benifit of children. I have more ideas to help next years event be even more
fun. And I already have my room reserved. Don't miss out, plan now.
Brooklyn, New York
I wasnít going to do this but,
since I was a first timer to the Cirque, Dale suggested that I might write
about my experiences. Maybe interest others who have resisted taking the
So, here goes. DIVE IN! We, now that Iíve gone I think I can say we, all
know how great this event is. But, in trying to put the experience of it
into some kind of familiar (at least to me) context, all I could think of
was the experience of doing a stage race. Now, for those of you who have
never done one, its like being on another planet. You live, breath, think,
and order your life in terms of the race and the bike. Thatís how enveloping
stage racing is and thatís what the Cirque was like for me. And all in the
Iím a news addict. I read the NY Times everyday, I listen to the radio news,
I watch the evening news. At the Cirque I forgot
there was a world out there that had news that I was missing. And I didnít
care. Coming back on Monday early morning, was like reentering a world that
suddenly seemed a bit strange, a world that had gravity, i.e., my real life.
I really had a blast.
The rides on Friday and Saturday were just amazing fun even if Jan Heine
would not stop extolling the advantages of riding 650B wheels. Riding and
talking with Richie Sachs, and Peter Weigle, with Roman Stankus, Dick Poole,
Billy Rounds, and others to numerous to mention was just a pleasure, even if
Richie refused to get off my case! At least he didnít criticize my bike
handling. Meeting all these people, most of whom were just disembodied names
from posts on the list, was great, and now that I can put faces to their
posts I wonít be so intimidated by some of their BS.
Tom, you just had the wrong dish at Libby Hill. I told you to order the clam
strips. They are to die for. Having lived in Greensboro some 30 odd (very
odd) years ago, I was just itching to have a go at that place again. And, of
course, Dale seemed to divine that and in what seemed like just a few
minutes after arriving with Les Himmel, off we were whisked to where else,
Libby Hillís and dinner for 20+. I knew then that I was gonna enjoy this
For me there were lots of high points. Many have pointed out that its about
the people and, of course, I agree. But, its about all these people living
and breathing the thing that has dominated more than half my life, bikes.
Riding Ďem, looking at Ďem, talking about Ďem, etc., etc., etc.
Iíve known Mike Barry for almost 30 years and it was a real treat not only
being able to spend the extended time with him and Clair, but to watch him
receive what was a long time coming. Real recognition for what he does and
has been doing for so many years. Preserving the heritage and history of
this sport and, translating it into a modern context with his bikes. Way to
Now, if anybody lived up to, and even exceeded, my expectations it was
Pergolizzi. Iíve known him, lets just say for awhile, but his auction
performance was a piece of resistance. How anybody could talk so long and so
fast, while at the same time insulting and demeaning us, and all for a good
cause even silenced me. Which was lucky, cause if I had even
twitched my lip he would have taken as a bid on something I definitely DID
NOT WANT John!
Sundayís show was a whirl to me. If it wasnít for Chris Kostmanís pics Iím
not sure I would remember anything. I have never seen so many amazing
machines in one place. This exceeded by tenfold what they put on at the
Eroica in Italy last fall. I seemed to be walking up and down the rows
unable to focus on individual bikes but eventually I got over the
initial shock and got to see just how dedicated each of us are to keeping
these bikes alive. BRAVO!!!!!!!
Iíll stop now. Just one last note. Dale you are an amazingly generous
person. None of this could ever happen without you. I tip my hardshell
helmet to you.
The Cirque' was, if anything,
even better than the last time. I keep thinking that the growing crowd may
make it unwieldy but it just means I get to meet more really cool people.
That and getting to know the ones I've met before that much better. I keep
bringing the same bikes from my humble collection, and am amazed at the
fabulous bikes that others
bring. And as I'm oohing and aahing over others bikes, others are telling me
that mine are cool too. Charley Young put it nicely when he said that even
though there are people there with collections of 50+ fabulous bikes, "They
want yours!". The restaurants were memorable in that you almost always were
seated with someone new to meet and you hardly noticed the food for the
conversation. As Eddy Albert said, news, television, anything that wasn't
the Cirque' was totally forgotten for four very short days. Packing up to go
home was disappointing even though we do have a life elsewhere.
And the deals at the swap! Including the one I missed! Rats! I've gotta keep
my eyes more wide open! (Keep me in mind if you decide that Geoffrey
Butler's too small, Paul!)
As ever, Thanks again to Dale for hosting this wonderful event and list.
Such a nice group of people!
Dan Artley in Lovely Parkton, Maryland where
I finally got the lawn
mowed the first time (no time to do it before Cirque')
I'll keep my letter short if
possible, but just wanted to thank Dale and the others who work on Cirque
for another great effort. After missing last year, it was great to see many
old friends from across the country. My only regret is that I was sorry to
see it all to come to an end on Sunday, but as the rest of us, we'll look
forward to next year.
For those interested in booking early for next year, I called the
Battleground Inn this A.M. to make reservations for next year, and was told
to call back in early July. It was explained to me that the computer at the
Battleground isn't set up to take reservations this far in advance.
The extended weekend for me was exceptional as I got to stay with friend
Peter Koskinen and his lovely wife Mary in Chapel Hill. Peter has an
extensive collection of Micro-brews from allover the known world, and I got
to try more than my share. Don't think I had the same brew twice. We all got
in a great twenty mile ride through the rolling country side around where
Peter and Mary live.
I'll be posting a few of my shots to my Wool Jersey Gallery, but only about
twenty or thirty in all. I had intended to come down this year fully
equipped to take as many shots as possible to post to the Gallery, but had
such a wonderful time talking to Peter, Tom Sanders, Eddie Albert, Steve
Maasland and so many others it hard to remember. I barely had time to get
the camera out. The grouping of bikes seems to get better every year.
I particularly had a wonderful conversation with a young fellow, Ben who
work Dale at Cycles Deoro. He had purchased a very interesting 1940s to 50s
frame at Cirque that couldn't identified, but I invited him to post it to
the CR so we might be able to help him. Great to see younger folk getting
into our hobby.
My only apology goes to friend Keith Hellon who I kept awake on Sunday night
with my snoring. As I tell my lovely wife Joanne, I don't snore !!
Best regards to all, and on to next year.
My second Cirque and as a seasoned sophomore, I had a pretty good plan to
maximize the experience. Since the "official" days go by in a New York
minute, Ray Homiski and I arrived on Wednesday evening ahead of the curve.
My pal, Ray Homiski was able to move from the Microtel to the Battleground
and so after a fumigation of his smoking room, he was set for the
So for me, the highlights were the relationships and here is what I came
* Mark Poore's jokes that kept me laughing on Saturday's ride.
* Getting dropped not once but twice by Sachs, Weigle, Swan and the rest of
the lead group on Saturday's ride. I finished with fellow Jersey guy Tom
Adams in the second group. That first group went by us so fast, my bike spun
around twice. Lance, I am not, but it felt good to finish with the time that
I did manage.
* Marty Walsh's Gitane getting an unofficial award for toughest French bike
after having his bike fall off the roof of his car and sustaining only
minimal damage and having a laugh about it afterwards.
* Watching Brian Baylis doing laps on Diane's Highwheeler in the parking
* Having a beer with Ray Etherton and listening to his "war stories"
* Sitting in the lobby with 9 other grey hairs watching the Triplets of
Bellville" and enjoying the moment.
* Watching Pergolizzi enjoy doing his thing and hoping that I don't sneeze,
cough, or scratch an itch during the bidding for the Confente.
* Hearing the announcement that we more than doubled the amount form last
* Enjoying the experience of watching Ray Homiski doing his first Cirque. It
started in May 04 with me telling Ray that he has to find a way to go next
year. Steve Willis and Dave Neuhaus-you're next!
* Trying to hustle the "downtown babes" on Thursday afternoon in Greensboro
to attend the Sunday Bike Exhibit
* Chatting with Bruce Gordon after his win on Sunday night and being apart
of his "feel good" evening.
* Enjoying some great wine with Lou Deeter, Dave Cooper, Ed Brooks and Greg
Arnold at the dinners.
* Getting to know Maurice better.
* Talking to Jeff about his movie on 6 Day Racing, learning that he's really
a Jersey guy and he knew one of my old girl friends that I dated 30 years
ago from Boonton, NJ. WOW, small world it is. and last but not least......
* Learning that there will be CIRQUE in 2006 and no stinkin furniture mart
will stand in the way.
* Nice Stuff! * *
Thanks to Dale Brown and all the folks that made the experience what it was
and will be in the future.
Mike Schmidt, New York, NY
Every attendee will have a
different view of the highs and lows for Cirque weekend. Some of those
points on each others list might be the same as some others some different.
So here are a few of mine.
The highs: Rooming with Tom
Sanders or should I say his bikes. Tom takes great care in building his
bikes and it shows a real treat to see them every time I walk into the room.
Riding with and talking with Peter Weigle. Peter gave me a studio photo of
my Weigle that was taken right after he built it in December 1984. Watching
the movement of Guy Appleís Peter Johnson under him as he pedaled, you could
tell the bike was a dream to ride. Seeing 5 Raulers at the Cirque and
knowing there are other collectors that want to put one in the stable.
Buying a new/old Rauler with 2 water bottle bosses and a pump peg. Thanks
Stratton. Jonathan Greenís sense of humor. Having Nick for a taxi driver.
All the great folks in attendance. And last and most certainly the best for
me was seeing Dale get giddy at dinner on Sunday when he could finally relax
and let loose.
The lows: saying goodbye and
knowing it will be a year before this great event happens again.
Mark Poore in Rauler heaven
Greetings campers and Cirque survivors
Hey, I warn you now, this is going to be more scrambled and rambling than
usual. Still trying to stage a semi-graceful return to real life. Catching
up on sleep, calories, and meds, all of which get lost in the mayhem for a
few days in May. Wish people here were wearing name tags, but as long as I
get the spousal unit's name right I probably won't get into too much
trouble. Who are these people, and why are they trying to make me work?
Always difficult heading out of Greensboro Monday morning. Really hit the
wall Sunday night, too tired to ride Monday and couldn't think of any
legitimate excuse to stay another day. Totally talked-out and laughed-out,
and nobody left to play with. Might as well drive home. The Cirque is a
great escape while it lasts. Returned home to the in-laws waiting in
ambush, snow & frost, living room cluttered with foliage from the spousal
unit's multiple trips to multiple greenhouses, and other minor homeowner
horrors. There was a bike in there somewhere before I left, but too tired to
find my machete and hack a path to it. Maybe I'll delay the rescue mission
and just hope for warmer weather that will allow the plants to migrate back
outside. It's Wednesday, and I haven't even unpacked the car yet. Ready for
a quick exit if I need one, but nowhere to escape to until October.
A relatively uneventful trip for a change, except for a brief detour when
I-581 was shut down by a multi-car pile up. The result was an unplanned,
self-guided driving tour of the captivating and intriguing used car lot/
pawnshop/ street vendor district of Roanoke VA. Take a tip from your old
Uncle Lar. ALWAYS have the road atlas within easy reach, even in familiar
territory. Ya just never know........ But why would anybody buy a vacuum
cleaner on impulse, from a street vendor? Is there somewhere I can plug this
in to try it out here in the weeds and gravel? Oh well, I guess I'LL be the
one who feels stupid next time I spill 25 kernels of popcorn in a straight
line, or drop M&Ms on the hardwood floor, or happen to have the
fridge up on wheels and feel some strange compulsion to pull it around the
kitchen using the vacuum hose, or just feel the need to vacuum the
dandelions in the driveway, and I don't have a Ronco Super-Suck handy. Woe
is me. But I'll know where to find one.
Also couldn't help but notice a sudden proliferation of businesses along the
way run by people with the first name "Big". Big Daddy's, Big Papa's, Big
Bird's, Big B's. I don't know what it means. And the military surplus /
commando outlet biz seems to have gone wild since last year. Competition in
that business could be anything but friendly. Silly me, I invested in old
bikes instead of fear and loathght have to rethink that plan.
Accidental musical theme songs for the drive were Lance's girlfriend singing
"A Change will do you Good", and Mark Knopfler plunking away on the dobro
singing "Ooooh, are We in Trouble Now". How did they know?
Always enjoy other people's comments about the weekend, especially first
timers, and catching up on some of the insanity I missed. Too much happening
to see it all. Too many people to meet and annoy them all. Yes folks, it
really is this good. If I ever so much as mumble a word about not wanting to
do this again some year, the spousal unit will drag me off to the emergency
Only a few observations to add to what has already been written.Best
Flintstones moment was Fred & Barney (I am not at liberty to divulge their
true identities) trying unsuccessfully to remove a Stronglight crank from
some poor mangled French bike at the swap, using a B-F-hammer and chisel. I
have pictures, which I promised not to post after my silence was
purchased. Payment was made in the form of a Raleigh Pro frame. "Blackmail"
is such an ugly word. I prefer "extortion".
The "Older & Wiser" award goes to anybody who slept in long enough to avoid
the Saturday morning "sprint" and was there to welcome the panting riders
back, from the comfort of the chairs in the lobby of the Battleground.
"Crazed Woobie" award goes to Jan Heine for his wide-eyed and white-knuckled
2-wheeled excursion on Mike Self's Longstaff trike. Never did figure out if
that was a smile on his face, or sheer terror, but I really enjoy those
unscheduled events in the parking lot.
Escaped relatively unscathed from the "redistribution of assets" phases of
the weekend. The Bob Jackson was too small, the Falcon was too large, but
the scruffy Raleigh Pro frame was just right (and I did have the photos in
lieu of legal tender....). There did seem to be a cosmic conspiracy at work
here though. Suddenly found most of the missing parts for a project I've
been ignoring since the last time I blew paint in it's general direction
back in 1977. During a moment of extreme financial duress back then I had
sold off some of the Campy components from my old 69/70 white Raleigh Pro.
Was inspired this winter to reassemble it with components on hand, and rode
it enough to be glad I dragged it around the country with me all these
years. At the Cirque I took delivery of wheels (Even had C.A.M. 69 hubs!
That's gotta be a sign.), and found a "PATENT" NR rear der, and a 44 tooth
chainring with appropriate small lettering. Even saw an AVA death stem for
sale but I already had one tucked away in case I was ever silly enough to
install one again. (No, I'm not. One thrill ride, perhaps the inspiration
for the Crazed Woobie award series, was quite enough thank you very much.).
No good excuse now not to proceed with that project. Anybody out there know
how to paint bikes?
Been making this pilgrimage long enough now that I'm developing a strange
relationship with Bambi, the billboard temptress for the strip club near the
VA/NC border. I get excited when I see her Thursday evening because I
know I'm almost to Greensboro and the fun is about to begin. Next thing I
know it's Monday morning, I wake up dazed and confused with only vague
recollections of what might have happened over the weekend. My money is
gone, SHE's gone, and I still don't know her real name. Better not tell the
Returned home to discover that even the nice ladies at the credit union have
tuned into this annual ritual. Spousal unit was in there while I was away,
to do some non-routine transaction that required a fairly substantial amount
of money, and before she could explain the true nature of the transaction
they assumed I had blown our savings on bike junque (NO, I did
not bid on the Confente), and expressed their sympathies and condolences,
and said something to the effect that if I was their husband they would
angle me (Oooooh, how many times have I heard THAT!. Get in line ladies.
Wait your turn.). At least I know who's side they're on, and I won't dare
turn my back on them on my way back out the door. The upside is that they
didn't immediately assume she had to bail me out of jail, so their opinion
of me could actually be lower. At least until they find out about Bambi.
Thanks Dale. You do manage to attract a terrific bunch of kooks every year.
To those of you still uncertain or unconvinced, come as you are. Bring what
you have. Stay as long as you possibly can. Be open to the opportunities.
You won't be disappointed.
I gotta go sharpen my machete.
Bruceton Mills WV
Okay, I've read all the posts
about the Cirque and like others on the list, I said I would refrain from
posting my comments and impressions. However, as a "newbie" and in case you
guys didn't notice one of the minority, I thought these impressions might
somehow carry some meaning.
I mentioned to Bob Hovey (who I talk with more than my wife), one of the
greatest things I felt was lost when I retired from twenty three years of
submarine duty was the loss of comradeship and "esprit de corps" with all
the men I've served with. The submarine community is unique and close bonds
are made between men who come from different backgrounds and environments.
There was a similar feeling during my short career as a racer, but those
days too are long gone. However, I found that connection again with all of
you that I met, talked with, and probably bored with my submarine stories
during the Cirque.
Finally meeting Bob face to face, as well as the many others I knew only
from the list or the occasional magazine article was like finding the holy
grail. As a newbie, I was apprehensive about how I would be accepted, but
that emotion faded the moment I first met Dale. And over my two day
attendance, I was befriended by people I had never met before. The
experience has totally vindicated my love for cycling and invigorated my
obsession for vintage bikes. On top of that, it was a learning experience
also. The wealth of knowledge that was there and so freely shared was
The emotional feelings are hard to describe or put into words how much the
somewhat brief association with such a swell group of guys (and girls) has
affected me. I guess it says a lot about the human spirit that even in times
when the world is in such turmoil, that a group of people can still get
together and have such a fantastic time. These are memories I will keep with
me for the rest of my life. Even when I return for my second Cirque in 2006,
nothing will replace the emotions of the first.
It seems I'm always at the
trailing end of post Cirque reports. Just takes a while to get back on top
of what, unfortunately, resembles normal life. Arriving home on Monday
afternoon, getting the Black Market Shuttle unloaded, figuring out what I
bought and what I sold and
stuff stashed away (well, sort of), then crashing out for an hour before my
wife comes home from work, I didn't really face reality until Tuesday
morning when the alarm went off. Back in the office on Tuesday, trying to
catch up on work and personal business, I realize that I must have been on
another planet for the prior four days. Totally removed from the planet I
inhabit on a normal basis. My work generally demands that I check email and
have my phone available on a somewhat regular schedule. Just part of the
requirement. However, this year I never once plugged in my computer, and
left my phone off and in the drawer about 90% of the time (forgetting my
charger was the best excuse I've had in a long time). Like Eddy Albert, I'm
a bit of a news junkie, reading the Washington Post every day, and watching
the news every night. But not on this other planet! I never once turned on
the TV in my room. Total escapism! Life on this other planet, where bicycles
are of supreme stature and grace, and the populace live and breath the
culture of bicycle steel, alloy, paint, leather and plastic, is a mighty
fine planet indeed. A visit there is not to be missed, and thoughts of
trying to stay there forever always linger.
Alas, my time there went by in a flash. I blinked and it was over.
When I first landed, I was taken aback a bit when Dale said something about
this possibly being the last Cirque. Something about the furniture business
and having to change the dates, and not knowing when, and possible
conflicts, and the growing size and complexity, and the workload,
and.....gasp, gasp, the air was getting thin. I couldn't breath. What was
happening? Was the planet going to flame out? Had it burned too bright? It
was like a stab in the heart.
Fortunately it was just a passing storm. Within a matter of hours, it seems,
calm had been restored and the next Cirque was already on the books for
another year, but shifted to a later date. Safe again. Relaxed and breathing
I'm a veteran of many visits to this wonderful place. It would be hard to
imagine life without it. The bikes are really beyond belief. It's hard to
imagine that there could be more of the quality and diversity assembled in
one time and place, yet that seems to happen every year. But as everyone has
recognized, it's the people that are the real treasure assembled here. The
collective knowledge, camaraderie, humor and sheer exuberance of this
community is just hard to describe. But when Jeff spoke at the banquet on
Saturday, he really summed it all up
for me when he described the collective passion exhibited in this special
community. This passion for the history, the craft and the art of the
bicycle is nothing short of astounding. The rides, the presentations, the
auction, the swap and the show are all important components, but it's the
passion of the people that defines this environment, this other world.
And while Dale Brown might be the nucleus, the shining core, it's really
everyone involved collectively that make this event other worldly. And I can
hardly wait until my next visit.
On the spouse issue, my wife seems to have sensed the infectious nature of
what's happening, and has expressed her interest in attending next
year. I think that's great, and I hope other spouses are encouraged to
attend as well.
Gotta go for now, but I have a couple more specific points to touch on, and
highlights to report, so there is probably a bit more to come.
Ciao for now.