French Fender Day would have usually been this past weekend. And while I think FFD won't be happening anymore, we have had the honor to have gone up to Peter Weigle's place a few times and have captured some of the most beautiful bikes and coolest people around. Here's a quick round-up of some of my favorites in no particular order:
Thanks for all of the wonderful memories, Peter!
This is something that I'm copying and pasting from an entry from a previous FFD, that I think fits in today's bike world:
"Throughout my life, I've gone to car events focused on both new and old, worked on my own vehicles (and sometimes others'), worked in a bicycle shop that did high-end customs and restorations, and currently attend/exhibit at shows that cater to our niche of the bicycle world. In the world of vintage, you cannot fully learn things simply by reading them in a book or even seeing them online. You need to ride a bike with downtube friction shifters, learn how adjust a loose-ball bearing bottom bracket, ride a 10-speed bike that has ten speeds total to really grasp how far we have come as well as the context as to why these things even existed. And often, learning by osmosis is paramount. Once the context lines up with the technical aspects, then you have knowledge. With the basis of knowledge and accessibility to resources, hopefully an interest will blossom and, with it, an appreciation of vintage cycling - and that is future of vintage.
Seeing an old bike, to some, may be a novelty or on the other side of the spectrum worse, garbage. We need to keep the younger audience in mind when we have these super neat events such as French Fender Day, Philly Bike Expo, Builders' Ball (RIP), NAHBS (RIP), and smaller regional shows. It may be easy to misread a lack of knowledge as disinterest, when in reality, it is simply hard to enter into a conversation when you are unable to articulate a question or interject with additional information. I've been a part of this industry for long enough that I can tell when someone I talk to has that spark of interest, but doesn't yet know some of the terminology or why a certain accessory even exists. It's exciting to see that ah-ha moment when they can understand the desire for frame/fender/rack/lighting integration and can see why Rebour identified and illustrated particular items on a Constructeur's frame.
Owning and using a vintage bike is a labor of love. They aren't as light and don't shift as crisply, but they exude a style and flair that is often lost on modern, wunder-bikes. There is a story behind the bike, even if you don't know it. The scratches tell how the bike was used, the stickers tell you where it lived, and the design tells you what the fashion was. There is something unique about riding an old bike (even with new VO components) that shows your personality and your desire to keep perfectly good old things in use rather than in the landfill or recycling plant.
We need to ensure we are open to all types of cyclists and expose those who may have never ridden toe-clips to these simple and wonderful machines. And that means being open, honest, and also accessible. Perhaps it's something I've learned though reading parenting stuff online, if you don't know something, rather than saying, "Because" or "I don't know", say "hmm, let's find out together". There are various forums, internet resources, and people that house an amazing wealth of information from frame identification, part compatibility, and period-correct selections. Use them! Post a question on a forum, drop a DM, ask a question in person over coffee. You'll be amazed at how open and accommodating people can really be."