One groovy ride: Simple Transport Auto Show

August 20, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Brian Caron's story about going on a cross-country trip from Hagers-town to Moab, Utah, in a 1975 Volkswagen bus had a far-out, 1960s ring to it.

Except it happened in 1992.

Caron expected the 17-year-old VW to again test his theory of Volkswagen karma, that no VW shall ever break down in such a way that the passenger or driver can't prevail. And if it does, it is for a greater purpose.

That test came.

"The starter went out in Kansas," Caron said. That left him and his fellow road-tripper push-starting the bus the rest of the way to Utah and then back to Hagerstown. The greater purpose was, Caron said, they made it there and back.

Glutton for punishment? Never, said Caron, 37, of Hagerstown. He's been fascinated with VWs ever since he was a licensed driver.


That's the nature of the relationship between VWs and the folks who love them. Imported from Germany and hugely popular among young drivers in the 1960s, owners love them unconditionally, for better or for worse.

On Saturday, Caron is hoping VW lovers will help raise money for people who like to ride on two wheels.

He organized a car show to raise money for Hagerstown BMX, a nonprofit bike-racing club that hosts events at Fairgrounds Park in northeast Hagerstown.

The event, the Simple Transport Auto Show, is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, at the BMX track on the fairgrounds and is open to all air-cooled, Volkswagen vehicles. There's also room for bikes of any kind, though Caron said ones that move via pedal power are preferred.

Caron is president of Hagerstown BMX and a co-founder of Warwagens Car Club, the informal, Hagerstown-based group of VW enthusiasts co-hosting the show.

Other than the 40-year anniversary of Woodstock, Caron said the timing of the event was also meant to coincide with Augustoberfest, the city's nod to Hagerstown's German founders.

Simple Transport also coincides with the 10-year anniversary of Hagerstown BMX's first race, held Aug. 28, 1999. On that day, then-Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II - who is also currently serving as mayor - rode a lap around the track during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Local interest in BMX-ing has grown ever since.

"When we started off, BMX was the kid who got cut from the baseball team," said Russell Keller, Maryland's state commissioner for the National Bicycle League, which sanctions BMX races nationwide. He's also track director of Riverside BMX in Cumberland, Md.

Now the sport has gone mainstream. It's even an Olympic sport.

"These were not alternative sports anymore," Caron said.

Hagerstown BMX is one of two BMX tracks in Maryland affiliated with the NBL.

Keller said the only other NBL track in Maryland is Riverside, which opened in 2004.

The American Bicycle Association, another sanctioning body for BMX racing, currently has two tracks in Maryland, one in Severn and another in Chaptico, according to its Web site.

If you go ...

WHAT: Second annual Simple Transport Auto Show, featuring bicycles and air-cooled Volkswagens; fundraiser for Hagerstown BMX

WHERE: Hagerstown BMX is at Fairgrounds Park, 351 N. Cleveland Ave., in northeast Hagers-town

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22

COST: Admission and entry costs vary:

Spectators, $2; free for ages 12 and younger and for members of the National Bicycle League

$10 per car entry; free entry for buses made before 1968

$3 bicycle show entry

$15 for vendors selling Volkswagen-related parts

CONTACT: For more information, e-mail or call 301-582-1452. You can also visit Hagerstown BMX's Web page,

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