Tuesday, August 23, 2005

No. 42, Vol. 4 - Fixed Gear Symposium

1st International Fixed Gear Symposium
By Gary J. Boulanger

The sky was blue, the grass was green, and the bicycles were fixed. Traverse City, Michigan, a small resort town on Lake Michigan, welcomed 90 or so committed fixed-gear aficianados to town August 12-14, for the 1st International Fixed Gear Symposium, hosted by Dennis Bean-Larson, facilitator of fixedgeargallery.com, and his lovely wife Katy. They chose the grounds of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, known locally as "the Commons," site of a former state mental hospital.

Folks were rolling in from all over the U.S. by Friday afternoon. The exciting aspect of the event was the instant comaraderie as people unpacked their bikes. It's fun to see our postings on Dennis's site, but it's especially neat to see the bike in person, as well as the person! Tracy from Denver was the first to greet our merry band of Gaansari helpers. She cruised by on her Boston Baked Bean Steamroller, exclaiming "the Scorchers have arrived!" Pro guitarist and kinda newby fixie freak Eric Ambel
rode by. He was excited to meet some folks and turn the pedals. He was also in town to play an acoustic set Saturday night during the banquet. We registered for the weekend's events, grabbed our spokecards, and set up shop. We also had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Sean and Brian, two deaf fixed-geared dudes from Minnesota and Washington, D.C. Their enthusiasm was contagious, as we communicated back and forth with quick notes in Sean's stenopad. It's amazing how we literally spoke the same language because of our passion for bicycles.

In a few hours, Dennis unveiled his new Matt Chester titanium fixie, resplendent in its simplicity (and expertly assembled that very afternoon). We rolled out in waves of 15 or so for an evening ride through town. Friendships were made, stories told, and the two-wheeled fellowship was beginning. Dinner was scrumptious, the air was crisp, and we all called it a night.

Saturday morning begain with a glorious sunrise, as participants made their way back to The Commons for the morning ride schedule. Ace wheelbuilder and Gaansari tech extraordinaire Justin was having a little trouble keeping his bottom bracket tight, so we took a pass on the group ride. As Justin dialed in his new Scorcher, I rode with Jon, Jason and Lesley from Jonny Cycles, a new brand of exquisitely simple and clean bikes. We ate breakfast in town, got to know each other better, then made our way back to the Commons to set up our booths for the event. Jon and Jason are amazing skidders (Jon's second skid was an impressive 585 footer) and fine track standers as well. The tricky part of the skidding contest was: generating enough speed around the circular drive before laying the skid, in between several deep potholes and uneven patches of asphalt.

Our Man Justin took the track standing competition, outlasting all comers with 6 minutes, 14 seconds. Justin also won the bike building contest with a time of 5 minutes, 25 seconds.

Nearly everyone attended my presentation, "Wilbur and Orville Wright: The Original Scorchers - How the Wrights Inpsired Cycles Gaansari." I tried to pass on my accumulated knowledge of the Wright Brothers as bicyclists, bike builders, and humble aviation heroes. I hope someone gained some insight.

The fun continued throughout the day, and culminated with a festive banquet, replete with a raffle drawing for goodies from exhibitors and well-wishers. Some lucky folks (yours truly) went away with one of Dennis's Cog Mugs, thrown pottery from the man himself.

Exhibitors/Sponsors included: Peace Coffee
; Cycles Gaansari; Brickwheels; Town & Country Real Estate; McLain Cycle; Velocity USA; Jonny Cycles; Matt Chester, and Garfield Auto Service Center, Traverse City, MI, all of whom were included on the really boss event T-shirt.

For those of you who may have missed it at the Symposium or weren't there, here is
A Theory of Holonomic Scleronomous Gyrators, or The Virtues of Riding Fixed by James Bernard Lee, Portland, Oregon.

No. 41, Vol. 4 - Handbuilt Bicycles

Jan Heine is a unique individual. He is a German bicyclist living in Seattle, and his hobby is publishing Vintage Bicycle Quarterly. I met Jan at a bicycle show in Seattle back in 1996, and appreciate his expertise and the effort he's made to elevate vintage and modern classic bicycles to a new level.

His new book, a gorgeous coffee table one titled "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles," chronicles with verbage and photos many of the most innovative bicycles ever produced between 1900 and now. Rich color and colorful content. To order from Cycles Gaansari, just call 1-888-813-3355. Price: $60 includes shipping to lower 48.

- Gary

Monday, August 08, 2005

No. 40, Vol. 4 - Fixed Gear Symposium!

The whole Gaansari crew (myself, Jean, Samantha, Henri and Justin) will be in Traverse City, Michigan this weekend (Aug. 12-14) for the 1st International Fixed Gear Symposium, organized by the fine folks at Fixed Gear Gallery. We're exhibiting the 2005 Gaansari Scorchers and Whirlwind 29er fixies. It promises to be a fun event: we'll have organized rides, great food, and the opportunity to meet other fixed-gear freaks from all over the place. We'll post a full report next time.

In the meantime, check out what's cooking at Cycles Gaansari's Fixed Gear department:

Bikes - Scorcher; Whirlwind 29er
Saddles & Baggage


Gary B.