Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chicago Bike Winter Swap Meet

It's time to start packing for the Winter Swap at the Pulaski Park Field House in Chicago. I have never been to this swap as a vendor or a consumer. I have high hopes.

First things first, lets get that van cleaned up............I just cleaned this thing in mid January for the Madison Swap, not sure how this happens. My kids and their friends have to ride in here sometimes. They don't like it.
This is where Jeff will be sitting...........he's a science guy, I hope he's into fungus and molds.
This is much better....................time to start packing.
 ..............and there's even room for Jeff
Finished! Still time for a couple of beers and hit the rack early. I'm picking Jeff up at 5:30 am for breakfast then head into the city for an 8:00 am unload time.

I hope this enough to fill a 6' table space.

Up at 4:30 am Saturday morning, made some coffee and out the door. Made it to Jeff's place right on schedule. The breakfast choice, Mothers, did not open til 6:30 am. We tried a couple of other places with the same result and finally ended up at Harner's Bakery, not bad for a last resort, ditch effort. My plan was to be on the road by 7:00 after breakfast and we were well ahead of that by a good 15 minutes. Traffic was thin that time of the morning and we were parked by 7:30. The pre packet info I was given said parking might be an issue and unloading could be hectic. I found a spot less than a half  block away and parked it. We checked in and a young volunteer followed us out to help offload. When I handed her the first complete bike she hopped on it to check it out. At that moment I could see that the Active Transportaion Alliance people were passionate about cycling. Cool!

Tiki (Official ATA photograher)

I was set up a good 45 minutes to an hour before the doors open so I had some time to check out the other vendors. I did'nt have much cash to spend, probably a good thing. I did find a few bargains though. Purchased 3 sets of hooded levers from Bibliobob, 20 gear cables from Paul, a winter cycling cap from Erin at Kozy Prery and a 1st gen. Suntour Cyclone rear derailluer.

When I was getting my bikes prepped in the bike corral I spied a Bridgestone MB-1. It was not yet labeled or priced. Apparently it was being sold by a volunteer and when I came back later it was labeled and marked SOLD $50.....Bummer. Later on a gorgeous Tange 2 Schwinn Super Sport caught my eye. No sold tag on this one! I called the number on the tag a pleasant couple met me there within a few minutes only to inform me that someone had made an offer and was coming back with some cash. They said they'd call me if she did'nt return within 20 minutes. No call, I walked through the corral a while later and the Super Sport was gone......Bummer, scooped again. I saw the bike later with it's owner so I approached and told her what had happened and complimented her on a great find. She looked very happy with the purchase. Through the course of the day I was called back to the bike corral 3 times to represent my 5 bikes in the corral. The first time it was Sten, a young gentleman interested in the Schwinn World
Sten was pretty stoked with the World, always a good thing. I had it priced with or without the Cardiff Touring saddle and Sten had a saddle of his own he wanted to mount on the World.

The second time I was called it was Alex. He was very interested in the Univega Viva Sport and wanted a test ride. We went through all the proper channels to get the bike through the security forces of the Active Transportation Alliance and Alex hit the road. He really liked the Uni and wanted it to work but in the end it just was'nt a good fit. The third and final call was a young man interested in the Trek fixed conversion. We also went through the checkout procedures. This potential buyer, whos name presently escapes me, was very interested but also rather indecisive. We exchanged information for a possible future deal.

I sold most all of the helmets I brought, all in new condition, a pair of shoes in like new condition, some toeclips and straps, 3 or 4 rear racks, 2 frames (likely for SS conversions) (both buyers were pretty excited about their project frames) (I like that) and a 47cm Trek 420 frame. Sold various other misc. parts as well.
This swap was in the Pulaski Park neighborhood, a nice centralized location right off the Kennedy expressway. Convenient for out of towners like myself, yet also within walking and cycling distance for many locals. I spoke with Katie Liesner at the after party and she said that about 1500 people came through the door with most paying a $10 admission fee. That's a pretty good day.

I spoke with a few people I knew from the bikeforums Classic & Vintage board including Paul (Big Chainring), Bob (Bibliobob), Alan (ChicagoAl), and Bob's friend Alex. All good people. I talked with several others I have met these past few years at bike swaps and through craigslist trading. Some of those include Brian, Ron, Paul (from Wheaton), another CL guy whos name I can't remember.

 In addition I met some new and interesting people. Chris Wallace from Holistic Cycles in Oak Park. He teaches some repair and maintenance classes I am interested in attending. Erin from Kozy Prery cycling caps. She custom makes these caps herself in several sizes, summer and winter styles, made from recycled materials. The people from Alewyfe. They made soaps and other concoctions, not to mention some awesome homebrew they shared with Jeff and myself.

Early on during the dayI left the room I was set up in and when I tried to return I was stopped dead in my tracks by a couple of volunteers. I was not wearing my name tag or my wristband. One of the volunteers recognized me and let me carry on. At that point I realized I had misplaced my hoodie, a handbag, my day of packet and my camera. It was obvious to me right away that I had set them down while registering all my bikes for the corral. I heade over there and saw all my stuff against the back wall behind a vendor. It was a few hours after the doors had opened (the ATA stated in there rules to be set up by 10 am NO EXCEPTIONS). So I told the gal setting up what I was searching for and she kindly let me pass through. When I stepped on her sign that was laid out on the floor her mood changed rather drastically. I grabbed my stuff and hauled ass outta there. Hell knoweth no fury, than that of a woman scorned! Sorry, no pics.

It ended up being a pretty fun day.  Met up with some old friends and made some new ones. A cycling social bonanza ,if you will. As I said earlier, there was an after party planned at Goose Island Clybourne. It was a long day so Jeff and I decided to get some grub at GI and join the party. The party turned out to be a bust as there were only about 6 people there, 8 counting us. Just as well, long drive ahead.

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