[CR]BVVW Road Trip Report-Sat 16 July 2005

(Example: Production Builders:Tonard)

From: "Mike Schmidt" <mdschmidt@patmedia.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2005 11:06:32 -0400
Subject: [CR]BVVW Road Trip Report-Sat 16 July 2005

Flashback to the Mercury Bar & Grill in NYC on 33rd and 3rd. It is Mid June and Matteo Brandi and Mike Schmidt are having a burger and a beer discussing vintage bike parts. Matteo makes a statement " Hey Mikey, y'know before I hafta go back to Italy, I reely wanna get to veesit e-richie an Peter Weigle. I said to Matteo that I also had a new frame to pick up at Peter Weigle's and maybe we could work something out. Let's talk to the omni despot, Gianni Pergolizzi.

Pergolizzi says there can only be one solution, we need to invade Connecticut. A swift, decisive thrust to the heart of Chester and Lyme Connecticut. The deal is done-ROAD TRIP! After a few quick calls to e-ritchie and Peter Weigle, the final plans are set. Invasion date is Saturday 16 July, 2005.

We needed a mission captain and a qualified vehicle. Ray Homiski was the obvious choice. With his F-16 Chrysler minivan complete with 7 cup holders, space for prisoners of war, a CD player, and Ray's Polish GPS system, we had the ultimate fighting vehicle. It was a proven machine with battle scars from Cirque du Cyclissimo, Trexlertown, Copake and Lars Anderson.

The Drop Zone It was D-Day, 0630 hours. Pergolizzi is first to arrive. The place is 181st and St. Nicolas Ave, Spanish Harlem. AKA one of Manhattan's garden spots. 0705 hours, Schmidt and Homiski arrive. Mike Allison riding his silver Masi Special from mid-town joins us without incident. At 0735, Matteo arrives but looks battle weary from pulling an all nighter in the NYC club scene. We run an IV of coffee into Matteo and pour him into the minivan. 0740 hour and we depart Spanish Harlem. A good start since nobody got shot or beaten up.

Ray orders Navigator Mike Schmidt to active the Polish GPS system, Mike pulls out the maps and sets a course on I95 North. We leave New York City and all of us break into a cold sweat as we cross the Connecticut border. About 45 minutes into the mission, our Mission Commander informs us of the need to purge the kidneys and stop for chow. We pull into the Steve Kinne travel center. And the 5 of us make a beeline for the Eric Elmen Memorial Rest Room. Matteo was pretty impressed how the State of Connecticut recognizes the local CR crowd.

At 1000 hours, the BVVW team winds its way off I95, up route 9 to the small hamlet of Chester, CT. We pull into the driveway and we immediately see evidence of our first target, several red and white bicycles out front all bearing the name of Richard Sachs. E-ritchie greets us and invites us inside to finish watching the last 15 kilometers of the Tour de France. Ritchie then gives us a tour of his showroom, and workshop area. The well known twin silver Masi bikes, a retro Richard Sachs bike, an early 1990's aqua colored Sachs bike were on display. Richie also showed us what he had in his closet. One by one, we took a peek at his closet full of NOS vintage Nuovo Record and Super Record parts still in their original boxes. Matteo's eyes widened and he began to sweat as he viewed the motherlode of parts including several early SR rear derailleurs. At one time, Richie had plans to market his version of a retro bike but the market demand was not there.

At 1130 hours Richard Sachs took us on a tour of Chester where he explained the evolution of his business and some of the other buildings that once held Richard Sachs Bicycles, inc. Richie builds about 60 frames a year and one needs to wait 40 months for a completed bicycle.

BVVW bought sandwiches and drinks and we headed to the river to board a ferry, the SS Jamie Swan, that would take us to Lyme, CT. Waiting for us on the other side was Peter Weigle. The next hour or so was spent having a picnic in the local park overlooking the riverbank. Ray Homiski brought along some of the League of American Wheelman literature from the turn of the 20th century. E-Ritchie handed us off to Peter and took the ferry back over to Chester.

A short drive to Peter's shop. Very different setting. Sach's in town, Weigle in a more remote wooded setting. Peter's workshop was spacious and brightly lit. I noted the small things that told me something about his work ethic. Strapped oxy-acetylene tanks, anti flashback valves on the torch, chip guards on the lathe. Best described as a busy but organized workshop. Peter had a frame in progress in his jig, a completed frame in a stand that I laid claim to and two customers Weigle bikes. Very rustic! Peter and Richie met in England 30 years ago at Witcomb and to this day remain close friends. Richie builds racing bikes and Peter's specialty is the Randonneur machine. We spent about 3.5 hours at Peter's shop talking about vintage bikes, the current market, Peter's start in the business and the relationship to Richie Sachs and Jamie Swan. While Peter would not give us an estimate of the number of frames made per year, he did say that he sold only frames and a typical wait was about a year. For those of you who attended Cirque this year, my frame was the light blue one on display.

About 1800 hours, our bodies started to tell us that it was a long but fun day and its time to point the vehicle south and head back to NYC.

Pergolizzi remembered that Joe Bender Zanoni mentioned a pizza place to die for in New Haven so we pulled off to find it. The two well know pizza joints, Sally's and Pepe's had 45 minute waits so we ate in one of the recommended restaurants. With our guts full, the BVVW group set course for W56th st and 11th Ave where we dropped off 3 members of our team. Ray and I made it back about midnight.

Mike Allison and Ray Homiski recorded the days event on their digital cameras and we should have those on Wool Jersey within the next few days.

Well, Matteo can now return to Italy with a smile. We had a great time and must thank our hosts, Richard Sachs and Peter Weigle for their time.-Mission accomplished!

Casualties? Well we were all pretty tired by days end and my checkbook took the worst hit of the day but fortunately it should recover.

Mike Schmidt
Stirling, NJ