The idea of the “5 Leading Lights” gallery display was hatched when we realized the proximity of Theatre Arts Galleries (TAG) to the race course start finish and the desire to have more than just a national bike race in High Point.
Theatre Art Galleries is High Point's valued primary provider of visual arts. Inside the High Point Theatre, right on the race course in downtown High Point, TAG hosts exhibitions of visual art from the traditional to experimental. In two floors of spacious galleries, TAG programs approximately 16 exhibitions yearly featuring solo and group shows. High Point Theatre itself is a wing of the International Home Furnishing Center and offers a wide range of performing arts throughout the year that compliment TAG's visual art exhibits. This powerful combination makes the facility one of the region's premier destinations for visual and performing arts and provides the perfect venue for a combined exhibit of bike art, vintage bikes, and of course, examples of current “leading” frame builders and examples of their craft.
Originally we wanted to bring visual arts with a bicycle theme to both bicycle enthusiasts and the public. As this evolved the question was raised, “Why not combine this themed art exhibition with an exhibition of the bicycle as an object as well?”. We decided to combine these bicycle art forms into one broader event and to add a small group of acclaimed builders as a special focus. Finally, “Why not add a vintage bicycle show and hand built bicycle show?” to cover all aspects. And thus was born “The Bicycle: Art meets Form”
Through friendships and years in the cycling industry we were fortunate to interest some of the best builders in the world, Peter Weigle, Mark DiNucci, Dario Pegoretti, Nick Crumpton and Dave Wages. Each brings their own strengths, qualities and passions, yet each is connected by a wide respect and recognition in the field of handmade frame building. From Italy, Dario Pegoretti with his famous metal working skills and his artistic paint, to Nick Crumpton and his state of the art use of carbon fiber, or Peter Weigle and his masterful randonneur bikes and equipment. This contrasted with the clean yet elegant simplicity of a Mark DiNucci frame or the elegant overall appeal of A Dave Wages bike from Elis Cycles. This fascinating combination brings differing aesthetics, differing materials, different personalities to provide, what we hope will be, the driving force or “leading light” of this inaugural “The Bicycle: Art meets Form”.
Nick Crumpton / Crumpton Cycles
Persistence and dedication. Nick and his Crumpton Cycles continues to strive to deliver their best in carbon fiber bicycles. Each bicycle frame is made to order for individual riders, and Nick still personally designs, builds and finishes each frame in his studio in Austin, Texas. His technique centers around building a carbon bike in the same way one would build a steel bike. Each tube is hand selected (and carbon fiber allows for even more customization depending on the layup of each section of tubing), precision mitered, and jigged before sending it off for final production.
Nick’s journey to his current level of success and acclaim has been long and insightful. His dreams have taken him from a local bike shop mechanic to work in 1990 with TechnoSport and in 1994 starting his first professional “dabble” in steel frame building with Bikefriday in Eugene Oregon. He later returned to Austin , where in 2003 he began his ascension to the top of the custom carbon frame building world under his own Crumpton Cycles. His initial approach was unique yet guided by his prior work with steel…… you “take a step back, remember you're a frame builder. This approach reminded me that what I needed to do was stick tubes together ……and now years later I guess I can say it is a success”. Success indeed, as evidenced by his many awards including highlights of Best Carbon Bike at 2010 NABHS and Bicycling Magazine Editors Choice “Best Dream Road Bike” ’08.
“I have spent the years refining a rather elementary process, still not perfected but with each frame, a little better. This is what continues to drive me. If I thought there was no room for improvement, I think I'd find it hard to go into the shop each day and produce a status quo”. And to that we say, “Nuf” said”. Welcome Nick.
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Mark DiNucci / DiNucci Cycles
Mark DiNucci has been described as the bike makers’ bike maker. Over the last 40 years Mark has focused on only one thing, designing and building the best bicycles possible. Mark runs a small, one-man shop in one of the hotbeds of handbuilt bicycle craft, Portland Oregon, where every lug is shaped, brazed and filed by hand and where he designs every element of a frame, from fit and geometry, to tubes, lugs, dropouts and fork crowns. He has a zen-like approach to his work; simple, elegant and with an extraordinary level of craftsmanship… This dedication takes significant time and only a limited number of DiNucci frames are made each year. As Mark states, “I strive to deliver a frame that is as perfectly crafted as possible and I think the end product is worth the wait”.
Mark started as a frame builder in the 1970s and later transitioned to design for larger bicycle manufacturers. Now after 25 years of engineering bicycles for other brands Mark has returned to what he loves most, being able to take the time to design and build frames that reflect his high standards of craftsmanship & performance. Mark has won numerous awards including “Best in Show” at the 2011 North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show (NAHBS). Considering Mark’s dedication, tenure and acclaim in this craft, we feel very fortunate to have him a part of the “5 Leading Lights” of The Bicycle: Art meets Form event.
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Dario Pegoretti / Pegoretti
Dario Pegoretti, an Italian framebuilder based in Caldonazzo in the Dolomites, is one of the most colorful characters in the bicycle industry. His hand-painted frames, coupled with his technical innovations and custom drawn tubes, are some of the most recognizable in the industry. With innovative paint schemes derived from inspirations ranging from street art to advertising, Dario injects a refreshing and typically Italian dash of color and panache to the world of the custom bicycle.
From his early apprenticeship with Luigino Milani, Dario is considered one of the great modern frame builders and a pioneer of metallurgy and TIG welded frames. Pegoretti has designed and built frames that were ridden by Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Stephen Roche, Claudio Chiappucci, and Mario Cipollini, among others. He started out as a contract builder, making frames labeled by other manufacturers until the American distributor Gita Sporting Goods, Ltd. in Charlotte North Carolina convinced him to build under his own name. His current models include the Responsorium, Big Leg Emma, Marcelo, Duende, Luigino, Love #3.
Despite being diagnosed with lymphoma in 2007, Dario has continued to build and explore and to create some of the most beautiful, yet functional bikes in the world today. Pegoretti won the President's Choice award at the 2007 North American Handmade Bicycle Show and frame builder of the year at the 2008 show. The awards and acclaim continue to grow.
Dario writes “It is true that I have ‘used’ my paint schemes to give to my products a strong imprint. But first I am a frame builder and the technical part of the job, the quality of the craftsmanship, the development of new solution or tube set is more important than the aesthetic part. At the beginning my paint scheme was painted just to try to change some conventional rules, at the end of the game a frame have a surface that I can use in many different way to express myself or my thoughts” ….FATTI CON LE MANI(made by hand).
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Dave Wages / Ellis Cycles
Yes, the builder’s name is Dave Wages so we may wonder "Who is Ellis?" In respect for his family and their tradition, Ellis is Dave’s middle name, and his great-Grandmother’s maiden name.
Originally from New York state and by way of Madison, Wisconsin, Dave Wages has gone from a young kid riding around his neighborhood, “skidding” and riding through mud holes on his bike, to one of the world's most recognized and accomplished bicycle frame builders. He began his cycling career by working in bike shops, and then, in 1994 he made the jump to Serotta Cycles in Saratoga Springs, N.Y… in the shipping department! Serotta went through some business cycles and when Ben Serotta reacquired the business, Dave became a frame builder.
At Serotta, Dave also met Dave Kirk and Kelly Bedford, two builders who had tremendous influence on his development as a frame builder. Dave says, “I learned the subtle differences that separate a good frame from an exceptional one”. In 2000 he went to work for Waterford Precision Cycles in Waterford, Wisconsin. And finally after the practice and experience of making perhaps 1000 frames for other brands, in early 2008 Dave went into business under his own banner, Ellis Cycles, in Madison, Wisconsin. “I'd always enjoyed working directly with customers; Ellis was the next logical step. I now have the freedom to collaborate with cyclists to craft beautiful frames that are utterly gratifying to ride”.
At the 2008 Cirque du Cyclisme, one of his first Ellis frames won "Best Track Bike". The judges honored Ellis again at the 2010 North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show in Richmond, Virginia. This time, with a lugged Ellis bicycle, Dave took home "Best of Show" award. And at the 2011 NAHBS, a stunning Ellis randonneur bike was tapped as "Best Road Bike". In what seems like a short time, Dave has received great acclaim through hard work, vision, tremendous skills, and an artistic eye for beauty. Yes, the end product is stunning but the beauty is integral, functional...more than just a shiny head badge. A lot more!
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Peter Weigle / J.P WEIGLE CYCLES
Peter Weigle and his small custom frame shop in Lyme, Connecticut, has played a significant role in the revival and popularization of the classic randonneur bicycle. Through his personal relationships with dedicated customers, Peter relies on his client base for advertising rather than web sites or cross-marketing. Delivery time is entirely based on how long it takes Peter “to do it right." In Peter’s world, vision, taste, proportion, lines, balance and style are paramount.
In January, 1973, Peter went to work with startup bicycle frame making company, Witcomb USA in Connecticut. He learned the basics when he travelled to England to serve a 7 month work study program at Witcomb Lightweight Cycles in London. Peter built racing and touring frames for Witcomb USA from late 1973 until it closed in 1977. Then, in late 1977, J.P. Weigle Cycles was launched, building road and mountain bike frames.
Years later, romanced and enticed by Rebour-esque line drawings in the Data Book, and having a small collection of period French fenders at hand, it was easy for Peter fall under the spell of randonneur bikes of an earlier time. Peter’s randonneur entry in the 2003 Cirque du Cyclisme was awarded the Best Neo-classic award, and was voted People’s Choice.
Randonneur bikes with fenders and exquisite racks are elegant, graceful and also extremely practical. They owe their heritage to a time when riders of these machines might not own a car, and used their bikes in all conditions for carrying small loads in a spirited fashion.
Having ridden bikes since his childhood, Peter became a successful racer and remains an avid rider. He has won Connecticut road and time trial Championships, and in 1988, won the USA Cyclocross Championship (Senior-35 category). These days he rides for mental and physical well being, and the simple pleasure of the road. He is a strong rider but nowadays stops often to savor the day, the landscape and the company of friends.
And of course, today, Peter can savor the accolades bestowed upon his bike making craftsmanship. Among many other awards, he has collected the Best in Show, Best Randonneur Bike and the Peoples’ Choice awards at the Cirque du Cyclisme. Peter Weigle has, by all the measures of fine bicycles, “arrived.” ...... at the top.View image gallery...