Events Rides Vintage Events

Classic Rendezvous Weekend: Part Two

Greensboro City Ride

On Saturday morning the CR Weekend attendees met back up in the Cycles de Oro parking lot. There were two group rides: one high performance, one city tour. Deirdre and I decided to ride the more leisurely city tour ride. We talked a bit with Steve Kurt in the parking lot. He was wearing his Raleigh jersey and headed out for the fast ride on his 753 Team. We ran into a couple on a yellow Jack Taylor tandem. In the parking lot, they were attracting a little crowd. People love a couple on a tandem. The tandem seems to symbolize a kind of cycling togetherness that lots of couples (okay, mostly guys) aspire to but seldom achieve. Deirdre and I also have a Jack Taylor tandem that needs a little work, but I keep it partly because it seems such a good optimistic thing to have– the cycling equivalent to renewing your vows. Seeing this couple happily pedaling their yellow JT, has me more determined to get ours back on the road.

Riding in a new city is always an adventure. In terms of cycling infrastructure, you notice right away what is good, lacking, and different than your hometown. The shady residential streets, and big trees in general, were a welcome change from sun-blasted Tucson avenues. Our guides had charted out a nice route with some dedicated paths, bridges, and underpasses. However, I did notice that many of the larger collector streets in Greensboro didn’t have any provisions for bicycles; one street, “Friendly” seemed ironically named when it came to bicycles. All in all though, Greensboro was a great place to ride.

The route rolled through some well-heeled neighborhoods near a golf course. Deirdre was on her modern steel All City, chatting with other riders including Billy Ketchum from Chicago, and seemed to be really enjoying herself. For a while, I rode next to Chris Gonzales on his cool 1960s Colnago and I stumbled into a political discussion/argument that I shouldn’t have. Sorry Chris. As one of the other riders reminded Deirdre, “we only talk about our dogs and bikes.” That seemed like a good rule. Deirdre replied, “what kind of dog do you have?”

CR_2016_two-5On account of my job as a garden designer, I’m familiar with a certain ridiculously popular hydrangea called ‘Endless Summer’ that sports huge blue flowers that fade to purple. We can’t grow it well in Arizona, but back east, it is everywhere and it was in full swing in Greensboro. I’ve never cared much for it, until I saw Rhode Island builder Brian Chapman’s bike next to one. Most of the group, including me, stopped to photograph his purple bike next to a hydrangea, which was likely of the ‘Endless Summer’ variety.

Afternoon Seminars

After the morning rides, the group reconvened for a lunch of sandwiches, salads, and Yuengling. Brian Chapman kicked the seminars off with a slide show and story about how he became a frame builder. A one-man outfit, many of Brian’s bikes follow in the tradition of French contructeur bicycles, and the work of American builders such as J.P. Weigle and Mitch Pryor. Brian had several of his bikes on display at the back of the room, and while he was talking, I turned round to notice that a little coterie of bike geeks had quietly gathered around the Chapman bikes. They just couldn’t help themselves. I know, I understand.

CR_2016_two-4Peter Johnson, our second speaker, told tales of his days as a Northern California racer and builder in the 1970s. I’m a fan of Jobst Brandt, so I was particularly interested in Johnson’s stories about touring with Jobst in the Italian Alps. The two traveled light, credit card touring and putting in 100-mile days in all sorts of weather. He recounted climbing the Stelvio in freezing weather being the hardest day he’d ever spent on a bike.

The British builder Dave Moulton, who spent most of career in Southern California, but now calls Charleston, South Carolina home, wrapped up the day. Now 80 and retired, Moulton told stories about building road bicycles and sang and played the guitar. Moulton’s Fuso bikes and logo have always appealed to me, and I like how Moulton was able to pull off a midlife career change to writing and songwriting while still keeping a foot in the bicycle world via his blog.CR_2016_two-15

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Jon Williams
    June 17, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    Was good to meet you in NC. If you want to see some BLUE hydrangeas check out the Southern Oregon coast. Coos Bay has some beauts!

  • Reply
    Steve Kurt
    June 18, 2016 at 11:38 am

    that’s a great shot of Brian Chapman’s bike with the hydrangea! Thanks for the description of the city ride too… the hardest part about picking which of the two rides to attend is that I’d be missing some neat experience regardless of the choice.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.