Internal Detours
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
  cirque '06, the finale
Sunday was the first time I'd been to the Cirque and NOT ridden the Tour de Guilford, but that was all right. It meant that Ana and I had time to swing by Starbucks on the way to Lewis Recreation Center. Properly fortified, we arrived after the riders had left for but before many of the vendors and exhibitors had arrived.

I got lucky and found a place to park on the street - about half a block away. It wasn't too bad, though. We had a couple of bags of equipment, two boxes with 10 framed digital paintings, a camera bag, Julius and his stand. Dale Brown, master of the Classic Rendezvous list, creator and organizer of the Cirque and all-around nice guy, popped up when I asked where we were to set up.

"You're in here," Dale said, leading us into the dining area. "This room has the best light."

He was right. We wound up being the art for dinner, which was kinda fun. We set up the table, I ran the cords between the legs, we draped everything and placed the three large pieces down low, the rest laid out on the top.

Most of the time I hung out with Ana and talked to folks as they walked up to the table. We got a nice cross-section of people who dug what Ana was doing, and lots of people walked off carrying fliers and business cards.

Every so often I'd slip out with the camera and get some shots while looking for goodies. For the first time I bought nothing, focusing more on looking at bikes and getting good images and chatting with folks.

I was struck again by the diversity of the bikes on display. There were a lot of great track bikes, from ancient wood-rimmed machines with fish mouth lugs to Mauricio Rebolledo's shockingly clean looking track iron. No less impressive were the hard core touring and randonneur bikes, including a chromed Rene Herse, a pack of Jack Taylors, and Pergolizzi's heart-stoppingly cool '49 Alex Singer. Carrying the theme into this century were several Peter Weigle machines, Baylis' Aero-Tour, and a few other machines.

The most vibed-out tourer of them all was the late Fred DeLong's funky fillet-brazed custom bike. I remembered seeing it in DeLong's book years ago - we have a copy up in the T section of the library right now - and I'd always thought it was interesting, if not elegant. Delong's bike wound up winning as Best Tourer. When Dale mentioned that DeLong was an engineer by trade, the bike suddenly made perfect sense. It was purely about getting the job done, a total form-follows-function machine.

A couple of times I walked past Julius where he was nestled in among the other British bikes. I had felt vaguely out of my depth initially, but the Vincitore lug pattern looked, well, right and at home among the other fancy-lugged English bikes. I got some pix of a couple of other Mercians, including an earlier Vincitore with an equally eclectic mix of parts.

We managed to take one turn together around the show, with Ana pointing out things she wanted pictures of and my calling her attention to details I suspect she would like. We caught the awards presentation, then went back to the table and began taking things down. We said out goodbyes to folks as we caught them and promised Dale we'd be back for Cirque '07 - which will be the last in Greensboro.

Poor Julius got thoroughly soaked when the heavens opened up on us near Charlotte. The weather escalated into a storm of positively Biblical proportions complete with lightning streaking across the sky and pounding rain. Traffic slowed down to 30 mph on I-85, only picking up somewhere around Spartanburg.

We got home around 8:30. It had been a delightful long weekend complete with a 4-star hotel, lots of fixed-gear cycling, days of talking and playing with vintage bike parts and above all, hanging out with great folks. But it was also good to be home with the love of my life.
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Location: Greenwood, South Carolina, United States
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