[CR]Velo Rendezvous #1 is in the bag!

(Example: Framebuilders:Doug Fattic)

Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 08:12:21 -0700
From: "Brian Baylis" <rocklube@adnc.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Velo Rendezvous #1 is in the bag!

Dear Listmembers,

DISCLAIMER: normally when I spout off like this I go back after I lay down my thoughts and correct as much as I can of spelling and grammer, etc. The length of this report will prohibit me from going back over this piece. Please forgive my obvious errors in this case since I simply don't have time for it on this occassion.

I hope the listmembers and other persons who attended Chuck Schmidts' ineragural Velo Rendezvous will forgive me if I fail to adequately explain how truely magical the past two days have been in Pasadena CA.

As the parking lot began to swell with vintage cycle entheusiests and clusters of gwakers began forming here and there to get the first prescious peek at what treasures were arriving as each minute passed, I recognized immediately that the atmosphere itself was charged with excitement. A history making event was unfolding before my eyes. I've felt this power before, this previous May in Greensboro, NC. On more than one occassion I was pleased and surprised to meet and or see people who I wasn't expecting. Fellow framebuilder Jim Hawley, maker of Griffon Cycles was in attendence. Haven't seen him for a long time and was very happy to see him join our ranks. That was just the beginning of many such encounters. That's what makes these events so worthwhile to attend and priceless.

Chuck had sent the Mojo into action when he selected the building for the symposisum; which format I found charming and conducive to interaction between all who were in attendence. The wood from the board track from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics from which parts of the building were constructed had guarenteed that Chucks' venture would be the cornerstone of many more of these annual gatherings in Pasadena.

The symposium began with an introduction and historical accounting of some of the local cycling history related to Pasadena, Ca and what a profound influence the bicycle has had in the past there. Doug Crowley filled us in on what transpired that lead to Pasadena being the location of much cycking lore in So. CA in the years past. It had to do with the railroad connecting to Pasadena from Chicago, the heart of the bicycle industry in America at the time. He expounded numerous facinating facts that I found, well, facinating! He also announced the brief opening of the (going to be rennovated) Pasadena Freeway (Hwy 11) to bicyclists on Oct. 6 2002 for the 14 mile round trip from Pasadena and downtown LA. That event next year pretty much insured that this event will repeat next year. I have it unofficially that it's a done deal and Chuck has the gears turning for next year already. Anyway, he gave a great presentation and I was already stunned and amazed.

What came next not only blew my dress up BIGTIME, but it took my head CLEAN OFF! Bret Horton who collects Jerseys, posters, trophies, photos, and medals gave a presentation that I had no clue was comming. He entertained us with his adventures and exploits while chasing down cycling jerseys and other bounty including the HOLY GRAIL of jerseys; a genuine Fausto Coppi jersey. Only 2 genuine examples are verified known to exist. Yes listmembers, we sat spellbound in a room and presented for our very eyes was one of them! Beautifully framed and mounted in all of its mildly motheaten glory, obtained from Fausto Coppis' widow, a genuine Fousto Coppi jersey. My head got tingily and the skin tighened as I realized the full impact if what this man was sharing with us. From that point on it was clear to me that magic was in the air. The dealings with Eddy Merckx were also priceless as he told us the details of those acquisitions. Trust me, those who were not there; this was one serious presentation. He passed around an old metal waterbottle that came from Coppi as well. Hard act to follow, no?

Seth Finkelstien from Santa Cruz, CA took over the litrally "round table " discussion with an amazing assortment of odd, rare, and interesting early derailliers. There was a lot of speaker/listener interaction in this segment. Lots of really cool deraillier gizmos too. This is not something I'm very knowledgable about. But everyone was again astounded and impressed.

Catered lunch arrived and suddenly this spellbound and previously docil crowd was instantly transformed into a school of ravenous pirhauna. A feeding frenzy ensued so fast that I barely had time to realize lunch was being served before it was all gone. During our recess, as the next presenter was setting up a slide show, we all had time to start talking to each other as we had lunch and roamed the grounds. These times are prescious for the chance meetings that take place as you meet people in person that previously you only knew by email or telephone. To my astonishment, Richard Bryne (owner and inventor of Speedplay Pedals) was in attendance! I've known him since the early days of the Carlsbad Bicycle Club sponsored by Auto Fast Freight (and Masi CA) in the mid 70's. I was unaware that he had been keeping an eye on us through the CR list. He informed me that he had just picked up a 1967 Paramount. Several other encounters with people I hadn't seen for years or didn't know were into vintage bikes took place before it was time to resume the program. Within about a half an hours time every speck of food (or anything that resembled it) was absorbed by the toothy crowd of angry fish; then as suddenly as it began the frenzy subsided and a calm of anticipation set in. We all knew what was next.

And for dessert ladies and gentlemen, being served by a waiter wearing a blue Masi shop apron, spotted with yellow Masi trim paint and some kind of grease spots, embroidered with ALBERTO Masi (a very rare early smock), and signed by Alberto Masi himself, came our next guest speaker. His name is Rex Gebhart and he has an intense interest in early Masis. He has been able to establish a genuine personal relationship with Alberto Masi in Italy. He told me about two years ago that he was going to be heading to Italy and was going to stop and see Alberto in an effort to learn more about the Masi history and explore the possibility of procuring and old Masi or two. I gave him some "coaching" on how to make the approach, since I told him that hundreds of people have had similar intentions in the past and hadn't gotten past the front room of the Masi shop. No one even knew if there even was anything old hanging around the place. I gave him the best advice I could muster based on what I know of the old school Italians. First, make an appointment, don't just show up and expect he will drop everything and talk with you. Next, be prepared to speak Italian or something similar like Spanish. also you must have your wife with you (a lot more important than you might think) in order to "soften" his reaction to your prying into the Masi past. Turns out Rex's wife speaks spanish so the perfect condition was present. A female struggleing to communicate with Alberto on behalf of her husbands interest would certainly do the trick. Last, I told him that he must buy a modern Masi or he won't take you serious in any way. The Italians not only don't understand why someone would want a beat up old Masi when there are perfectly good (?!) new Masis available for purchase. It is a sign of respect that you buy a modern bike before you try to dig into the things that you really want. Needless to say, over the past two years Rex has gone where no man has gone before in terms of relationships with Alberto Masi with an American.

The presentation was centered around a slide show of pictures Rex has taken while visiting Alberto. The details of the Masi shop were revealed to us as Rex told of his exploits at the Vigorelli. Near the end he showed us a hand written letter sent to Faliero Masi from Buenos Aires from FAUSTO COPPI, requesting 6 Masi frames to be built. Alberto sent this incredable piece of history to Rex as a gift. I don't know about the rest of the attendees, but I was floored by that letter. Rex has it framed along with an Italian newspaper article about Masi that appeared not too long ago. We were in the presence of some of the most holy of cycling collectables. It just doesn't get any better than this. Chuck had struck paydirt and the gathering was just barely two hours old!

The next act apparently was a stand up comic. I'm not exactly sure where Chuck found this clown; but this Bozo tramsformed the amazement and awe of the crowd into a state one step short of throwing garbage, in no time flat. I don't remember if the guy had a point or anything, but the group sat dumbfounded as he tryed desperately to say anything of signifigance. He was talking with his mouth full (first one foot in the mouth, then both feet at once!) as everyone was amazed at this persons' ability as a contorsionist. Next trick was pulling wild statements out of his ass and blowing smoke. It was milding entertaining perhaps, but I don't know if anyone could make any sense of this dog and pony show. Finally the torture ended as the segment came to an end. The rogue speaker was escorted outside afterwards and was set upon by vintage cycle enthusiests with sticks and rocks. Once suffeciently tenderized from the beatings, the carcass of this heratic was rolled into the canyon below our meeting place to be picked apart by the flock of wild parrots that patrol the friendly skies of Pasadena. The ruckus faded as the program returned to reality.

The final presentation on the ticket was Jim Cunningham from Cyclart. Jim's topic centered uopn the basic question that most of us ask at one time or another during our collecting escapades. When to repaint or just touch up a frame. Jim presented us with a "chart" sort of that tends to give general guidelines in a effort to assist one in making such a determination. As always, a prepared and interesting perspective was presented to the group in Jim's unmistakable style. Like Jim mentioned, there are many cases when the original finish can be saved and several options are available when faced with these choices. I have found myself doing a lot of this saving original finishes in the past few years. Sometimes that is the best approach to take.

The symposium part of our gathering came to a close as the tone had been set for the rest of the weekend. The first phase was a fantastic success (except for clown act) and I believe everyone was suitably impressed at what Chuck had arranged thus far. Next year Chuck, make sure if you plan another diversion for comic relief that you also provide suffecient rotting vegetables for the crowd to use as ammo.

For me the next thing was to get my load of bikes over to the hotel and into the room and then get back for the start of the ride by 4 o'clock. In the lobby of the hotel where Maurice, Alan, and I were staying (the Alhambra) was the largest wood carving of the Budda I've ever seen. I was huge! I rubbed his belly for luck as we went upstairs for the first time. Apparently the luck didn't kick in right away, as by the time Alan Schaffer and I got back to the ride location (10 mi round trip thru traffic) we were 20 min. late. The ride waited 10 min. for us and then bolted. Daylight was a concern and the group figured maybe we had stopped to further taunt the clown act still lying in the canyon and being feasted upon by parrots. Alan and I decided to take the reverse route in an effort to connect with the group. It never came together so we headed back to the start location. Before too long the group arrived. Whining from the peanut gallery lasted a few minutes before we all realized that the next stop was dinner! Someone stuffed a sock in the complaining dwarfs' mouth and we all headed out to get ready to reassemble for eats.

The resturant was crowded (a testament to its popularity on Sat. nite) and we got a room to ourselves which we pretty much packed. The food was great and again another one of those magic occassions unfolded as we talked amongst out subgroups as we ate. I would like to see a situation where the entire group could be at one giant table. I miss talking with everyone as opposed to the few in your immediate area. I don't know if it is possible to do, but I'd like to see that someday. As is often the case, a few hardcore stragglers stay behind and trade stories after everyone else heads out. Chuck, Alan, Maurice, and myself stayed behind and were joined by Richard Bryne for the nightcap. Richard and I talked about the "old days" and we had a great time. These are always some of my favorite times at such gatherings. We finally adjourned.

This has gotten longwinded, so I'll cover day two shortly. I hope I'm not making anyone who could't make it jelous. I just want to report the facts. More to come so stay tuned.

Brian Baylis
La Mesa, CA