I need to report on a few things that transpired at the Velo Rendezvous 5 that demonstrate perfectly why we have these quaint get togethers. There really is no substitute for comming to these events and meeting the people, seeing the bikes, going on the rides, and joining in all of the culture.
For me, the Velo Rendezvous begins at least 2 or 3 months in advance. The pressure is turned up and the clock begins ticking at an advanced rate. It's hard to describe what it's like to be in that situation. It's always challanging both mentally and physically. By the time the event arrives, I need a break. Since I don't take vacations, I consider these assemblies to be my vacation time. And, believe it or not, as much activity as there is and as much enery as it takes; the Velo Rendezvous and other major events always rejuviniate, inspire, enrich, and reward me. This writeing will focus on the rewards that come our way.
The first reward was having Wayne Bingham arrive a day or so early. We had time to hang around the shop a bit and have some nice meals and conversations together. It's always SPECIAL to have these East Coasters come to the event. Deeply missed having Maurice out for the event and also Steve Kinny who was makeing a serious effort to make it. But you just can't say enough about how seriously FUN!!! it is to have Mike Schmidt, Tom Adams, and the one and (thankfully only) John Pergolizzi out here. This was Mike and Tom's first. Too bad the weather sucked out here for them! ;-)
The first "beach ride" on Thursday was fabulous. Conditions were ideal. The beachside bike path was interesting.I was having a "blast" using my horn. This isn't just any horn. This is a genuine Pakastani made bicycle horn purchaded about 40 to 50 years ago and given as a birthday gift to the gentleman I bought it from when he was 10 years old. It was still unused and in the original box when I bought it at Veloswap S. F. last year for $10! I decided to fit it to my 1962 Masi Special for the beach ride. I was surprised and VERY pleased to discover that we had a chap from England joining us for the event. We met in the parking lot. Stewart and his ladyfriend Kath were on holiday, here at the Velo Rendezvous.
The ride went off and we cruised casually north. At one point the bike path actually goes through a parking structure (which surprised the hell out of me; but as it turned out it was the most ideal place to lay into my classic horn you can ever imagine. The produce the ultimate blast one much pinch the bulb just so. Each horn has a different feel. I let 3 blasts shake the very foundation of the earth as we rode through. The roar of a lion in your face would not have been more impressive. Even I was impressed with it. Oh how I suddenly fell in love with her! OK, so enough of that. Suffice it to say I really dig that hooter. To squeeze it is truely devine. We reach the "turn around" (for some) point. The next move is a good amount of reasonable climbing, or turn around and head directly back to where they planned to guzzle beer before finishing out the ride. The previous accounts failed to mention one "out of character" moment on the ride. Charles was calling for opinions; who wants to head for the beer and who wants to climb up the hill to the little store up on Palos Verdes Blvd. Normally I complain if I have to climb over anything taller than a speed bump. BUT this time I was the only one who wanted to go up the hill, aside from Charles. Eventually there were 6 of us I believe. I was riding a 52-47 front chainring (typical half step setup from the period) with a 26T low cog. Since I've been riding a bit and doing some significant climbing almost weekly, I actually enjoyed this little climb a lot. After a short respite at the store and water fountain, the 6 of us headed back down the considerable height. It was a straight shot down Palos Verdes Blvd. until we hit sea level. I blasted headlong down the grade working 52 x 14 as best I could. During the decent the bulb of my beloved horn apparently fell off, and I didn't notice it until I was at the bottom waiting for the rest ofthe gang. I immediately turned uphill desperately looking for the errant bladder. I went to the second stop light up the hill and decided to give up if I didn't find it by then, and just about in the intersection where I was about to U turn, there it was. The brass retaing ring was missing and the crown brand embossed bulb was ruptured. I snapped it up and put it in my jersey pocket. Life just ain't the same when you lose a horn like that. I will have to locate a replacement bulb of some sort. Fortunately the horn itself is fine. What a voice she has! Anyway, we head to the pub where most of the guys are 2 beers in already. I turn to flubber if I drink much alcohol, which I don't like the feel of on a bike. I sip a small glass and I happy with that. We had a good time at the pub and there was the typical SoCal beach bar crowd to keep us entertained while we drank. The standard "unofficial drag race" commences after we remount out vintage iron. I'm not quite sure how I kept the sluggish old Masi from dumping me snout first in the sand, since I was on John's wheel as we rounded this surprise tight radius flat turn at too great a speed. Jack Gabus actually did try to warn us, as he was quite familiar with the route; but John and I were moving to overtake Jack and Chuck who were riding at the front just at the wrong time. A flat concrete sandy tight corner is no place to enter too quickly. It caught us off guard and we were starting to hot up the pace for the finish. No one hardly blinked though, including John, and we were soon back up to speed and diceing again. A lot of our rides finish up like this. It's fun but upon occassion we und up taking a few risks. I try not to get too carried away and still have a good time. I really enjoy riding with everyone. Even without my horn, it's a blast!
I fear I have become a little too detailed and am running out of gas. I put in an extra long day and still have some typeing to do. I will have to continue later. There really were some priceless moments at this gathering. Remind me to comment on the "unusual" (to say the least) track frame that Kirk brought to the Friday discussion on frames and bikes. What an extraordinary bike and an even more fantastic meeting between the owner of the bike and the explaination of it's origin. Genuinely priceless.
Brian Baylis La Mesa, CA Don't mean to bore you, but these great events and those who put them on deserve to be recognized for the fantastic times and tremendous benifits we all get from their efforts.