Back in November, Dirty Sundays hosted the first Velo Cosmos event at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, CA. We are honored to host an event recap, written by Whit at Meriwether Cycles and documented professionally by Reel 23 Films and Jean Paul Rose. Let’s check it out below!
Last month, I attended the inaugural Velo Cosmos event at the historic Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley, CA. The bike and art show was the brainchild of Laurent Frieden of Dirty Sundays. Laurent’s inspiration for creating Velo Cosmos started years ago after seeing Swiss bike collectors attend Stefan Schaefter‘s Concoursvelo.
Like that event in Switzerland, Laurent created Velo Cosmos as a means of supporting bike art, “I have loved everything bike related since I was a teenager when I was wearing my own ‘jewelry’ made from chains and chainrings, and now at home we have bike themed lights, pictures, mugs…and a clock. I don’t know if there’s another sport that has a bigger culture than cycling, pretty much everyone around the world rides or has already ridden a bicycle in their life.”
Laurent’s ultimate goal is to create gatherings where all kind of cyclists – or future cyclists – can meet in one place, get excited and learn about the culture and history of bicycles. “That’s the Lifestyle aspect that I want to share and support – bring people together that ride, or don’t ride (yet), connect our trails with the downtowns (Grass Valley, Nevada City) and get a step closer to becoming a real bike hotspot.”
Upon arriving on Saturday, people were returning from the morning group ride. In the hotel there was a diverse collection of 43 bikes, many from collectors along with a handful of custom bikes from Northern California framebuilders. Along with the bikes, you could check out local artwork, crafts, historic photographs, and copies of the Jobst Brandt book “Ride Bike!” available for purchase from Tom Ritchey himself.
In the parking lot was a small bike swap with a wide assortment of bike stuff for sale, frames, bikes, old and new parts, and accessories from local businesses and collectors. The Saturday ride was led by Tour of Nevada City bike shop and Sunday’s ride was led by YouBet! bikes, both riding from town and touring the local dirt roads and trail network.
I was one of just two framebuilders displaying bikes, Brad of W.H. Bradford was my neighbor on the patio and both of us were showing 3 bikes outside and 1 entered into the “Concours.” There were other Northern California framebuilder bikes entered into the Concours including entries from Columbine Cycle Works, Fitz Cycles, Frances Cycles, and Kelly Bikes.
The Concours wasn’t the same format as the Concours de Machines, instead it’s categories are based on what types of bikes are entered into the competition, ranging from 60 year old road bikes with wooden rims to modern downhill mountain bikes and everything in between. Entries were judged by 6 experts with different industry backgrounds.
There were several notables of the bike world in attendance including Tom Ritchey, Jimmy Deaton, Kurt Stockton, Chris Kelly, Doug Hatfield, and John Uthe to name a few. Tom was signing copies of the “Ride Bike!” book, which included Tom’s history with the early “Jobst Rides.” The Jobst rides would meet on Sunday morning and take out their (very traditional) road bikes on all-day rides in the Santa Cruz Mountains on everything from paved and gravel roads to washed out singletrack. This is a must read book if you appreciate anything about cycling history and the various characters that helped define what and how we ride now.
Like a movie star, I imagine it’s hard to be Tom Ritchey – a legend of the bike world and so easily recognizable. I finally mustered up the guts at the end of the night to ask him if my small Diamond M-20 milling machine was, in fact, his old milling machine – something the seller claimed at the time of purchase, but I couldn’t verify.
It was pretty cool when Tom zoomed in on my iPhone photo of the mill and said, “Yep! That was my first mill, I put in that new motor.” …and that was pretty much the extent of conversation. I walked away happy to know the lil 500lb hunk of iron in my shop used to cut tubes for some of the first Ritchey frames!