Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ann Arbor bicycle show


Words and photos by Mike Eliasohn

It's been a few years since I last attended what is officially the Ann Arbor/Saline Classic Bicycle Show and Swap Meet. My excuse for not going always was I had too many other things I had to do.
I still have too many other things to do (one of these days I need to retire from retirement), but at 6:35 a.m. on Sunday, April 24, I was on the road to the 36th annual show – 152 miles from St. Joseph.
At the previous shows I've attended, I've seen maybe one or two recumbents – though for bicycle nuts like me, there always were interesting cycles to see.  
But this year, there were enough recumbents to be noticeable.  I talked to a fellow who bought a Rans Vivo short wheelbase suspended recumbent.
There was even a bicycle shop that specializes in selling recumbents – Fremont/Elmore Cycle & Fitness (with stores in both of those Ohio towns) with several Sun recumbents for sale (all out-of-production models, as I recall).  
Also a change from past years, from what I recall, there were a lot more old school BMX bikes (and probably many not-so-old-school) for sale.
Inside one building is the actual "show," with bicycles on display in many categories, which were judged. But the vast majority of the space on the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, inside the other buildings and outside, is occupied by people selling bikes (like-new, restored, in need of restoration or perfect for a rat rod or cutting up to make into a recumbent) and parts.

Two views of this amazing tricycle, one of several creations made by Rick Legato of Rochester.  "This is bad ass," said one viewer. "... This is really unique."  Rick, who works as an aircraft toolmaker (machinist)  did the design and machining, but not the welding.  The frame is mostly made from aluminum I-beam.  The tricycle is for sale. The yellow bike behind it is a much modified mountain bike.

A stretch cruiser by Rick Legato, also for sale.  The purple part was a 1966 Schwinn Starlite.  The silver parts of the frame are new tubing.  A Brooks leather saddle (made in England) provides the seating.  The rust colored bike behind it is another Legator creation.

Rick Legato astride what he calls his "clown bike."  The front and rear hubs are off-center, so the bicycle bounces up and down as he pedals.  Such bikes are usually built by lacing conventional hubs and rims together using varying length spokes.  But Rick machined the from and rear disks with the hubs mounted off-center, but the spokes are all equal-length.

This gentleman pedaled by on this apparently homebuilt front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel steering tricycle just after I arrived. I thought I would find him later and get some information, but didn't, unfortunately.  There is, or was, a production FWD, rear-wheel steering trike, the Sidewinder. Its website still exists, but all four of its models are  "out of stock ," so the status of the company is unclear.

This lever-drive Alenax was for sale for $165.  An article in the May 1984 issue of Bicycle Business Journal said the company was projecting sales of $100 million (presumably annually) and manufacturing in the U.S. within 18 months.  Production was somewhere in the Orient. The lever drive system was said to be suitable for any type of bicycle – road, mountain, BMX, juvenile and adult tricycles. But the Alenax was not a success and production apparently ended in 1993.

This 3-speed Alex Moulton sold for $600.  Alex Moulton introduced his small-wheeled bicycles with front and rear suspension in 1962  Some models over the years have been produced by other companies.  Moulton died in 2012 at age 92, but the Moulton Bicycle Co. still manufactures bikes in Bradford on Avon, England.  They are available for sale in the U.S.

This bamboo beam bike was judged "best unrestored" bike in that category in the "show" part of the Ann Arbor bicycle show.  That is, the seat is at the end of the bamboo beam, which flexes to provide suspension for the rider.  The bike is a one-speed "fixie." 

 This sort-of Tour Easy clone was apparently homebuilt.  Construction quality was good , but the bike was very heavy.  If there was a price on the tag, I neglected to write it down.

In contrast, this was a genuine Easy Racers Tour Easy, apparently an early model.  The card said, "make offer," and listed the owner's phone number.  The owner wasn't nearby to talk about the bike.

Friday, April 8, 2016

32nd annual Michigan HPV Rally - June 18-19, 2016

The rally will be held at the Waterford Hills sports car racing track on the Oakland County Sportsmen's Club grounds in Clarkston, near Pontiac - the location since 1986.The oldest such event in North America is open to riders of all human powered vehicles — recumbents, regular bicycles, tandems and handcycles.There are classes for streamlined, unstreamlined cycles, tandems, women, youth and tricycles. The rally is conducted using Human Powered Race America rules (, then under "recumbent racing," click on "Human Powered Race America," then on "racing rules." Note: HPRA rules require all vehicles to have a mirror or mirrors enabling rear vision to both sides.The track is 1.4 miles around, with nine turns and one hill. Sunday races use a shorter course without the hill.

The Michigan HPV Rally is continuing, but the Michigan HPV Association is going out of business (see article below).  So to help empty the MHPVA treasury, the entry fee is only $10 for the weekend (both days), per entrant, even for those racing more than one vehicle. Register in advance by going to or at the rally.Spectators free. Even if you don't want to compete, come and see some unusual and some very fast bicycles and tricycles. Prize money will be awarded to top finishers in each class. Again, to help empty the MHPVA treasury, prize money is being boosted this year.

Schedule of events (tentative, subject to change):
Registration and technical inspection starts at 8 a.m.
One-hour time trial (streamliner, streetliner classes) - 9:30-10:30 a.m
One-hour time trial (stock, junior, women, tandem) - 11 a.m.-noon
Hill climb/coast down (all classes) - 1:30-2:30 p.m.
LeMans start road races (or other event, depending on consensus of competitors)  - 3 p.m.
Urban transportation contest - in afternoon.
6 p.m. (approximate) – Eat at local restaurants.
200-foot sprints, flying start (all classes) - 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Tricycle race - 10 a.m.
Road race 1 (faster vehicles, 20 laps, 12 miles, no hill) - 10:30 a.m.
Road race 2 (slower vehicles, 15 laps, 9 miles, no hill) - 11 a.m.
Awards ceremony by 1 p.m. (hopefully).
Location: Oakland County Sportsmen's Club: 4770 Waterford Road, Clarkston,MI 48346. For a map of the track, visit or 
For additional information, contact: Mike Mowett, 313-574-0340 or, or Mike Eliasohn, 269-281-0797 or
TO GET TO THE RALLY:From I-75, get off at exit 91. Take M-15 south to Dixie Hwy. (US-24). Turn left, continuing south about 1 mile and turn left onto Waterford Road, then proceed to track.If coming from the west, take U.S. 23 north (or south) to M-59 (Highland Road). Go east on M-59 to Airport Road, then left (north) to US-24. Turn left, then immediately right onto Waterford Road. Go about a half-mile to track.


MOTELS (with approximate distances/direction from Waterford Hills track)
Clarkston - Clarkston Motor Inn, 6853 Dixie Hwy. (US-10), 248-625-1522, 12 rooms, 2 miles northeast.
Clarkston - Olde Mill Inn of Clarkston, 5835 Dixie Hwy., 248-623-0300. Across Dixie Highway from Waterford Road leading to track. This is the closest motel to the track.
Hartland - Best Western of Hartland, 10087 M-59 at US-23, 810-632-7177, 61 rooms. About 18 miles west.
Waterford – Comfort Inn, 7076 Highland Road (M-59), 248-666-8555, 111 rooms. About 3 miles southwest.
Waterford – Waterford Motel, 2201 Dixie Hwy. at Telegraph Road, 248-338-4061, 50 rooms. About 6 miles southeast.
Waterford – Holiday Inn Express, 4350 Pontiac Lake Road, 800-345-8082 or 248-674-3434, 83 rooms. About 7 miles southwest.
Whitmore Lake - Best Western of Whitmore Lake, 9897 Main St. (off US-23, exit 53), 734-449-2058, 61 rooms. About 33 miles southwest.
Free camping available overnight Friday and Saturday at the Waterford Hills Sportsman Club, site of the HPV rally, starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Restrooms, showers available and possibly electrical hookups.
STATE CAMPGROUNDS (, then click on "camping andrecreation," then "make a reservation.
Highland Recreation Area, 5200 E. Highland Road (M-59), White Lake, 248-889-3750. Two miles east of Highland.
Holly Recreation Area, 8100 Grand Road, Holly, 248-634-8811. Five miles east of Holly.
Ortonville Recreation Area, 5779 Hadley Road, Ortonville, 810-797-4439. Four miles northeast of Ortonville.
Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, 7800 Gale Road, Waterford, 248-666-1020. Closest to Waterford Hills track, about 4 miles west.
OAKLAND COUNTY:  Groveland Oaks County Park, 14555 Dixie Hwy., Holly, northeast of Holly, 248-634-9811.
PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS ( Detroit Sportsmen's Congress Horseshoe Lake Campground, 1050 E. Oakwood Road, Oxford, 248-628-3859, e-mail