Monday, August 19, 2019

Americane Vintage Road and Track Bike Show

This weekend I took a drive up to Rochester Hills, Michigan, near Detroit, for the 11th annual Americane Vintage Road and Track Bike Show, organized by Vintage Velo Rendezvous Michigan (VVRM). The show was held at the International Velodrome at Bloomer Park and included free admission to the track in addition to the vintage bike show. Having never actually ridden on a velodrome before, I was eager to give it a try, so I loaded up a couple of vintage bikes for the show, including my track bike. It's about a 3½ hour drive from Akron to Detroit, which means I was probably the farthest from home of any of the event's attendees. But I knew there'd be some familiar faces at the show as I've met a few Michigan vintage bike fans over the last few years as I've been traveling there for other vintage-oriented bike rides.

Weather for the event could best be described as tenuous. Rain in the morning made for a wet track that needed to dry out in the earlier hours of the day. But the sun came out to dry things off in time for the main event, and eventually it got into the upper 80s (though someone said it was close to 100 on the track!). But then more storms rolled in for the afternoon and cut things short. By the time the show judges were announcing winners, people were rushing to pack up their bikes as lightning could be seen (and heard) moving closer.

A view of the velodrome at Bloomer Park.
There's two riders on the track - Tim P. on one of the "loaner" track bikes, and Mark A. on his lovely vintage Masi Pista.
The velodrome facility had someone on hand to provide free one-on-one lessons on track riding, so I took advantage of that. It didn't take long, and after a couple of laps, I was up on the banking and having a ball.
There I am on the banking, riding my vintage Mercian track bike.
There were some awfully nice bikes brought in for the show. It was great to see what people entered - and lots of bike-lust opportunities. There were awards given for Best British, Italian, French, North American, Japanese/Asian, and "Other" European, as well as a "People's Choice - Best in Show" and "Judges Choice."

This red and white Atala, owned by Jon A., was the winner for best Italian bike.
My Mercian track bike was part of the show - with my green and red 753 Mercian just behind it. 
I liked this blue Colnago - and I also enjoyed talking with its owner, Bob B. I'm going to take a moment here to plug his charitable organization FB4Kdetroit (Free Bikes 4 Kidz) which gets bikes to kids in need. If you're in the Detroit area and have a bike to donate, or would be interested in helping out in some other way (like building or repairing donated bikes), contact them at It sounds like a great cause.
I got a few pictures of this beautiful example of Mark Nobilette's work, owned by Phil K. Elegant lugwork under shocking purple paint. This was the winner for best North American entry.

I really liked the seatstay/seat lug treatment on this bike.
Beautiful old Gios Torino pista. Stunning.
This old Rochet would have been my pick for best French bike. One doesn't see many of these - and this example has some really nice details.

I think this was the French category winner (photo by Tim Potter) - A very nicely detailed Peugeot PX-10, owned by Phil H. 
Tim P. won "Best Japanese/Asian" for this wonderful Nagasawa keirin racing bike. Fun fact: I learned at the show that Tim's father-in-law was a championship keirin racer in Japan. He had some  magazine articles, news clippings, and plaques to display.
Just look at that clearance under the fork crown! Tight!
Okay - so, like a dope, I forgot to get a decent picture of my own 753 Mercian at the show. But this is the bike that won both "Best British Bike" and the "Judges Choice" awards. Wahoo!
Accepting one of the two awards for the green Mercian from event organizer Jon Albert. (photo by Tim Potter).
If you're a Facebook user, there are a bunch more photos on the event page - including more of the bikes, and more of the prize winners (sorry - I didn't get pictures of all of them), with photos uploaded by several participants. Maybe more will be added over the next couple of days. Anyhow, check those out HERE.

So as the last awards were handed out, thunder was rumbling and everyone was packing it in. Too bad, as I was hoping to get back out on the track again before heading home. All in all, it was a fun day (even if it was cut a little short) and I was feeling pretty good at getting some recognition for one of my own bikes at the show. I understand VVRM is hoping to see the event grow - I'll be keeping an eye out for another invite next year. Thanks, guys!


  1. Thank you for coming to the event. Didn't realize you had attended until Tim provided the link to your blog. Your Mercian was my pick for the best British bike. I thought the ~50 bikes were a good representation of vintage bikes.

    1. Thanks! I didn't really make a point of "announcing" who I am at the show - just kind of blended in with the crowd. I had a good time.

  2. Congratulations, Brooks! At least I know those judges have good taste!

    I've seen a couple of Rochets. They were nice bikes, so I'm not surprised at the pick for the French category. I liked the Nobilette, too!

    1. Thanks, Justine - the Rochet would have been my pick for best French, but a very nice Peugeot was the winner in that category. And yeah - that Nobilette was really nice.

    2. I meant to say "your", not "the" pick for the French category. Mon erreur!

  3. Looks like a fun time. Thanks for sharing those fine photos. Yes that's a nice seat cluster on the Nobilette but I like the Mercian Superlight better. Congratulations on your award for that beautiful Mercian. That bike deserves an award.

  4. Thanks for sharing these excellent photos. Some beautiful classics here, all presented superbly. I enjoy your blog, and a RetroGrouch and darned proud of it, and even admit to owning a Bridgestone.