This year marks my fourth year of the Cirque and I'm just amazed at what this event has become!
Just to give some perspective, let me briefly describe my first Cirque. I arrived, along with one of my local friends, at the old Cycles de Oro shop on Saturday afternoon. Dale, gracious as ever, personally pulled a Stronglight crank and BB from an old Peugeot frame I had brought for Sunday's swap. Dale also showed us some of the bikes he had prepped for the show. They were all crammed into his tiny office. We hung out in the shop and talked bikes for a couple hours. My friend and I went out and pre-rode the Sunday-ride course before meeting Dale and other early-arrivals for dinner Saturday night. There were five of us. Afterward, we road out to Dale's house for his shop tour, where we were joined by a couple more Cirque attendees, and we all actually fit inside at once! The swap and show on Sunday easily fit into the gymnasium at the Rec Center, with plenty of room to spare. I think there were about 20 bikes (if that) on display.
Fast forward to Cirque 2002. A whirlwind 60 hours (at least for me) of total emersion in bicycle culture, history, technology, stories, rumors, truth, lies, exaggerations, personalities, friends (new and old) and just plain fun! It was non-stop as I bounced from one bit to another. One-on-one conversations during walks from the hotel to the shop and back; in-depth group discussions wherever more than a few people gathered; impromptu bike shows upstairs at the shop and in the hotel lobby, parking lot and hallways; hotel room swap meets; breakfast, lunch, and a raucous dinner for 45+ people on Saturday night! On, and then of course, there's the ride, swap and show on Sunday; post show dinner; post dinner gathering for the really hard-core loonies; and then meltdown. Whew! What a blast!
And what a show!! How can the bikes keep getting more and more amazing? How do you pick your favorite? Can they get any better? Pretty soon they won't all fit in the room. Can the seminars fit in an afternoon? In a day? What next? Where do we go from here? And it's spreading like some kind of lovable virus!
And for all this we owe a great debt to Mr. Dale Brown. His passion and enthusiasm are infectious. His spark fuels the roaring fire that this event, this movement, has become. Dale's contribution of time and energy is amazing. How he has time to breath, let alone converse, joke, and carouse with the rest of us, I'll never know. Thanks Dale!
And thanks also to all the others, now far too many to name, for the shared experience. It was just awesome!
Falls Church, VA