Velo Cosmos

Last Saturday I attended the inagural Velo Cosmos event put on in Grass Valley, CA. There were a bunch of historic bikes from collectors and custom bikes from a handful of Northern California framebuilders, local artwork & photographs, and copies of the Jobst “Ride Bike!” book available for purchase from Tom Ritchey himself. In the parking lot was a small bike swap with a wide assortment of parts and accessories and both Saturday and Sunday mornings a group bike ride left from town and toured the local roads and trails.

I was one of just two framebuilders displaying a few bikes – Brad of W.H. Bradford was my neighbor on the patio with both of us showing 3 bikes outside and 1 entered into the “Concours.” There were quite a few cameos, Tom Ritchey was the most prominent, signing copies of the Jobst book and seemingly talking to most everyone at the event. Like a movie star, i imagine it’s hard to be Tom, a legend of the bike world and so recognizable. Even though I’d love to have gotten to know him and chatted about bikes and his history of riding and building, I didn’t want to add to it all. I’m not good at small talk, especially when i’m the one approaching a legend like Tom, but I finally mustered up the guts to ask him if my Diamond M-20 milling machine was, in fact, his old milling machine – something the seller claimed at the time of purchase but I never could 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!

Below are some of the photos i took of the bikes at the show. It’s obvious my preference for mountain bikes and klunkers but I also took some photos of the road entries. I have never been witness to such a diversity in style or time period of bikes so I spent a bunch of time checking them out and looking at the little things that make each one unique. I had some favorites but it if I had to pick just one it would be the Pro Cruiser from the Cove bike shop. That’s where I got my first bike but it’s also an iconic early MTB and simply timeless.

The funnest part about all of these bikes is their stories. Like my milling machine, we’re just “foster parents” of these things. They change hands over the years but their origin story remains the same and contributes to the history that we all love of cycling.

Greg Herbold’s prototype Miyata softail…
Say what?
As usual the Mountain Goat with ovalized top and downtubes was one of my favorites.
More than just a bike
I could see this from a mile away and know exactly what it is.
Yeti F.R.O with the loop tail stays and shoulder holder, Bullseye cranks, classic.
All bikes in the 80’s had a shoulder strap to portage your bike. My early MTB’s always had the Jandd Sling n Pack bag.
The looptail on the FRO
My first bike was a Schwinn Typhoon but nothing like this one that has been modified.
My second bike had Motomag wheels like the rear seen here, gold and all. These look so new!
Trailmaster! Another one from the Cove Bike Shop. One of the first purpose built MTB’s. Check out Mark Norstad’s Trailmaster on Paragon’s Instagram feed for some neat tidbits.
Front view of the Trailmaster. Those bars!
Ritchey Everest from 1981 with bullmoose bars, Hite-Rite, and maybe made with tubes mitered on my milling machine!?
My favorite, chrome plated Pro Cruiser. Raced at Repack. It is that cool.
Jay’s prototype Gunnar gravel bike from 2012 won the award for best gravel bike, well deserved!
Jay’s Klunkpacker won best modern custom mountain bike. (I think there were only two entries but still, the other was W.H Bradford’s Yeti looptail bike below!)
W.H.B looptail. Modern version of a classic.
This Mongoose is in a klunk category of its own. Pic behind is of it on Pearl Pass outside CB.
Kelly green as can be cross/gravel bike with a headshock!
A 1994 Sunn stock build! Francois Gachet won the 1994 World Cup overall with 4 wins and also went on to win the World Championships on this bike (1 of 4 made).
The innovative Sunn Radical+ that was developed by Olivier Bossard (now BOS supension) under the leadership of Max Commencale (now Commencale bikes).
Tinker’s Cannondale form 1998. I raced against (behind) him when he was riding this!
Hats and patches by Tommy Breeze
Beowolf came with some cool coozies and accessory bags, may be seeing them as this year’s Meriwether coozie, stay tuned.
I brought the OGATB, Luddite SilkTi, and the MW-1.
Beowolf Bags, my 3 bikes, and Brad having an afternoon cocktail.
Shane brought a collection of really cool parts, especially from Paul Component! One of 4 magazine racks on top of the case there…
Before Salsa Cycles it was Red Bush… i had no idea.
This Fitz Cycles had a lot of cool customizations
This Frances was one of my favorites, not just because of the handlebar choice either.
This old Masi was a stunner!
The Columbine won best in show from Joe Breeze
The mustache bars on the Frances
Before there was STI and if you didn’t want to use bar-end shifters…
Tom Ritchey gave a talk on the bike and was very complimentary of the local trail system.

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