[CR]Cirque Thoughts + McLean Memories = Next Project

(Example: History)

From: "Dahron Johnson" <djcontraption@att.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 07:44:24 -0400
In-Reply-To: <CATFOODTXSRdZqou2Vy0000154a@catfood.nt.phred.org>
Subject: [CR]Cirque Thoughts + McLean Memories = Next Project

To All:

As a fellow who participates more behind the scenes than in the thick of the Cirque activities, I don't have too many scintillating stories to tell about the recently-past Cirque. However, I spied with my little eye a couple of things worth recording:

--Our favorite NYC'er astride a $4,500, black and red, ten speed equipped (oh yes, all of them in the rear), carbon and aluminum-horror of horrors-2004 Specialized S-Works road bike. Scott saw it, too, so I wasn't huffing chain cleaner again. Dale, if you want to why that thing is already worked over, have Mr. P demonstrate-on one of his own bikes-his very unique frame flex and stability tests. Scientific standards it may not be up to, but it sure is something to see!

--Me trying to stay calm while trying to keep the massive herd that was to be the Fixed Gear ride going in some semblance of the right direction. By the way, I recommend less gears for next year; maybe you don't need to ride a fixed, but if you've got one of those rod-actuated 2 or 3 speeds, the rest of your compatriots will be so entranced as you try to change gears that they won't be able to speed off, and I'll be that much happier. I realized this year it is very hard to be both at the front and back simultaneously. So, for next May, I suggest that either everyone agrees that no one gets dropped (which would, by sheer force of numbers, also make it easier to get through intersections and so on), or at the very least, that the people who are at the front of the group have at least glanced at the cue sheet. For my part, I promise to triple-check all instructions on it (I only double-checked them this year), and I also promise that I won't be frantically thinking about the letters of recommendation that were supposed to have been in weeks ago to support my graduate school applications but two of my recommenders waited until the last second so I had to pick them up find a fax machine open the sealed envelopes (but with permission) fax them in then get to the post office before it closed so I could express mail them to Nashville so they could be there to meet the deadline less than 24 hours away. Phwew! That, can I just say, made things all the more exciting a week ago Friday.

--Luckily, though, on that Friday ride, my stress factor came down just by seeing Pergolizzi in his all-too-sharp riding outfit. The off-white cap was a perfect match with those fenders!

--Saturday: Marking courses does not actually take much less time when doing it with someone else, I found out, but it does give you someone to talk to. Also, hours of car exhaust, spray paint can fumes, and a lot of stop-and-starting can make one slightly light-headed. I swore this year that I would not be waiting until the wee hours of Saturday night and Sunday morning to finish painting, and I lived up to that. However, when it started to pour rain just as I started the second half, I felt sure I had flashed back to last year.

--Sunday: John Slawta is strong. I was impressed enough the last couple of times I've talked to him on the phone and you'll ask what he's doing, and he'd nonchalantly reply: oh, just tacking in a BB, or, just working on a headtube juncture-while he's on the phone with you. Now, though, I have to add "guy who can hang it out on the rides." My ol' stapled-up lung self could barely match his pace on a couple of the rises.

--I always enjoy having the chance to talk to Hilary Stone, and our time chatting about his hobbies outside bicycles, recent books about cycling, and people who generally don't have their act together, was one of the most enjoyable I've had in recent memory. Thanks for that, and I look forward to being able to do it again.

--Realizing that if you bring a nice set of tools in a decent tool box to the Cirque, it is bound to get WAY more attention than the stuff you're actually trying to sell. Word of caution is in order (and a warning all other erstwhile wrenches here will appreciate): no asky, no touchy.

And as always happens, the Cirque makes me want to start my back-burner project that I've put off for years, but may finally be willing to dive into. As a vintage newbie, it is one with which I could use guidance and pointers, so chip in if you have any thoughts or suggestions:

For a long time, I've wanted to build up a McLean. Not to repeat a story a few of you have heard too many times from me already, but my dad was the minister who presided over his and Lanier's wedding, and also, sadly, his funeral. The most full I remember my dad's church in Durham, NC was for his memorial service; people in the aisles and choir loft even. Just a couple of months before he passed away, we were fortunate enough to have dinner over at the Fonvielle home. Imagine what an impression meeting a guy who made bicycles in his downstairs workshop would have on a young lad of 13 just getting into cycling himself-at the time, I think he was at the top of my "coolest people in the world" list. It wasn't until years later, when I by sheer coincidence met Dale and worked at De ORO in 1990, did I realize just how special his frames and craftsmanship was and is.

So, here's the deal. I'd like to find a later McLean, 1980-1982/3, frame and fork that I can build up to ride pretty actively. As if that weren't a rare enough bird, if it happened to be in the 55-57 TT range, and even better, a fixie, that would be my ultimate goal. I'm not stuck on the fixed notion, if I can find one with long dropouts, and I'll consider any condition. As to parts, I'm really interested in building it up with a Superbe Pro track group; I've always loved the way it looks, and it just fits my mental image of the period and the basic type of equipment I was riding at the time (okay, maybe I wasn't on Superbe quite yet, but y'know, I'm older and wiser now . . . .HA!). Nitto seatpost, and bars would be nice. Obviously, this is not something I'm planning on building up overnight, as pretty much everything mentioned here is on the endangered species list. But if any of you have suggestions of where I might start to snoop around, or if you think there might be something that I should use instead to really get things period correct, just let me know. I'm willing to take my time and do things right.

So, that's that. As the subject lines alludes, positive memories and experiences from the recent and not so recent past have me excited to start on a project I've wanted to dive into for some time. Thanks to all for forging through this long e-mail, and thanks in advance for any bits of advice that head my way. All the best, and I look forward to seeing you all again in the near future.

Sincerely, Dahron Johnson Greensboro, NC

e: djcontraption@att.net
p: 336.218.0892
w: http://www.immaculatecontraptions.org