[CR]Let's finish off Le Cirque 2002

(Example: Framebuilders:Chris Pauley)

Date: Sat, 01 Jun 2002 23:53:00 -0700
From: "Brian Baylis" <rocklube@adnc.com>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Let's finish off Le Cirque 2002

Dear listees,

I suppose I should finish off the report for Le Cirque 2002 before it's time to start on the 2003 report! Life is hell when there are a thousand things to do and you only have three arms to do it with. I spent the entire day filing, sanding, and polishing metal and I've only got stumps left for fingers to type with. Please forgive me if I screw up since the ole' fingers don't reach as far as they used to. I'll stop when the keyboard is too bloody.

The memory is beginning to fade at this point but I'm sure there was another one of those great mornings before breakfast in the hotel lobby. Everyone is anticipating the swap meet and bike show and the "sellers" are planning to get over to the park early and "set up". Translated into English that means that the hardcore buyers/sellers/traders are already foaming at the mouth knowing full well that a fair amount of "insider trading" goes on before the crowd shows up. I'm all over that scene! I've got five or ten bucks on me and I'm feeling rich. After a hasty and anxious breakfast (no one wants to be "late" to showing up 3 hours early for the swap meet!), we inhaled the food and split before the resturaunt help figured out we were from out of town. How often does that happen?!

OK, we show up at the recreation center and sure enough there is already a lot going on. Sunday is often the day one will meet someone that they haven't seen in a while. The swap and show sucks in any leftover interested parties in the area that couldn't make the previous days events. Something about old bike parts that brings in people like maggots.......I mean a magnet. Unlike most of the rest of you vintage buffs I almost never buy anything of significance at swap meets. I used to in the good old days when you could pick up a neat old French triple cranksets with good rings for $15 or $20 complete. Haven't seen much of that in the last 5 years or so. I've been using up all the great stuff I used to get on my current projects. True to form, the entire day I bought 2 rolls of blue cloth tape (why not?) and two rolls of GREEN Benotto plastic tape which is a backup in case the tape on my green track bike ever goes south. Total expenditure $6. If I had a wife she'd probably be proud of me; or possibly reccommend me for Sainthood!

We're still "setting up" and I walk into the building carrying two Baylis frames (and picking my nose with my spare arm) when someone grabs one of the frames as I walk past. The guy is rather large and has a deathgrip on Dales' frame. I'm not letting go either since I don't know who the hell this person is as I grab on with my spare arm (now not busy elsewhere). I may loose my best two arms but if this guy gets the frame away from me he'll have to deal with a piece of me no matter what. Finally I look into this mans eyes and suddenly I realize that the other person is Ralph Carnevale! I'm certain most of you have no idea who Ralph is but he and I sort of "grew up together" after we discovered each other in Huntington Beach, CA in about 1971. Ralph had just opened a SMALL bike shop (specializing in Volkscycle!) and I had recently been bitten by the bike bug. I had a Peugeot PX-10 and had set my sights on a Colnago Super. I popped into his bike shop one day and asked if he could get a Colnago. He said "sure, I can get anything" (even though he didn't even know what it was at the time!) so I checked back frequently but no Colnago. Surprise to Ralph but knowing what I know now, the only place (just about) that one could get a Colnago at the time was Velo Sport in Berekely. We became friends and Ralph sold the first Wizard frames. He also became quite the Colnago collector along with all kinds of other stuff. Eventually he had a large shop full of exotic booty including his collection of antique bikes which I think is his original love. Anyway, Ralph and I go WAY back and I haven't seen him in person for about 20 years! These ecounters are priceless and are far more valuable to me than the wheels and deals of the swap meet. Anyway, turns out Ralph lives very near Greensboro now and we have reestablished contact. We talked at length during the swap and he mentioned that he had visited Mike Howard while he was in CA about 2 months ago. He encouraged me to do the same which I promised I'd do (which I did last week).

All I'll say about the show and swap is that there were tons of really cool parts and bikes there, and so many pleasant new and old friends to visit with that I can't express it all. There should be plenty of photographic evidence of what was there but no photo can transmit the essence of these gatherings in terms of personal interactions. They're magic. I especially enjoy watching my friends run about like kids in a candystore as the real experts like Matt Gorski and John Barron and several others discover the treasures hidden in old boxes, tissue wrappings, and under grease and dirt that I simply don't have the ability or patience to ferret out. I think some of these guys have radar or a sixth sense directed at rare and/or cool bike parts. I spent my time hob nobbing, looking at an unusual assortment of local bugs while having lunch, and generally not feeling that well. I haven't seen the group photo yet, but I suspect I'm the one in the second row that looks like Albert Einstein with the green complexion.

I'm out of gas for tonight. There is still much to tell, including our intimate coffee/dessert gathering at the cozy home of Karen Schuckman. Matty and I got to share her cat Suley as she treated us to gourmet coffee and sweets while we were able to talk at a comfortable volume and relax in style. A much appreciated change compared to the regular round table shouting matches we have in resturaunts and bars.

Brian Baylis La Mesa, CA "I've got blisters on me fingers".
                                     -John Lennon