Why swap meets matter by Old Otto
I’ve been going to swap meets since I was a kid. My Dad used to drag my brother, sister and me to the Pomona auto swap a couple times a year and I hated it! I guess if you walked every aisle there, it add’s up to like 15 miles (maybe it just felt that way) and I swear my Dad never bought a thing (‘too expensive’ he’d say even though it was always Volkswagen parts he was after and I’m pretty sure that shit was damn near free). My Mom had a penchant for antiques and she’d scour flea markets, the Rose Bowl and vintage swaps for junk she could either fix up for the pad or flip for a profit.
She loved/loves early California pottery (Bauer and Fiesta) and would flip a U-turn in our old Type 2 if ever a brightly colored piece of spun clay caught her eye while we were passing though a neighborhood with a yard sale. Because of my aforementioned lineage, I guess I didn’t really choose to love swap meets. Come the weekend, we we’re probably hitting one whether I liked it or not so sooner or later, I learned they were a good place to score G.I. Joes on the cheap, as well as pocket knives and other contraband (knives by the way were definitely off limits according to my parents but they were something a shady swap seller would have no problem selling to an 8 year old kid if he had the right amount of loot).
Fast foward to present times... Swaps rule my weekends still. If I’m not hosting the Nor Cal Cycle Swap, or the up and coming Vegas Car and Bike Swap, I’m at the So Cal Cycle Swap hunting parts with my buddies or trying to offload junk that’s been taking up space in my garage and yard. I love ‘em because they’re a great spot to save a few bucks on parts for yer bike, make a few bucks selling stuff that you don’t need (or are leftover after you put yer scoot back together) and ya get to mix and mingle with similar minded folks...all while perusing piles of two-wheeled Pyrite. Another reason I love me a good parts swap is all the bikes that show up in the parking lot. So cool to see a scoot you might’ve only been privy to viewing on the Insta machines in person. It's nice to see a guy start off with a rough runnin’ bike and after a few months of pickin’ parts, turn it into something both show and road worthy...all on the cheap.
In a society that’s become accustomed to shopping on their phones (myself included), it’s cool that they’re still spots you can go to check out new/used junk, peep in person what people are putting together in their garages and work on your version of the ‘Art of the Deal’. If there is a better feeling than knocking half off a dudes initial asking price by some good ol’ back and forth haggling, I’ve yet to experience it.
Take a sec to peruse the attached pics in this blurb about bikes and bartering and tell me if yer heart don’t race a bit and yer pulse don’t quicken. If either things happen, ya might consider making your way down to the next So Cal Cycle Swap to help out with parts for your next build. While yer there, say ‘hey’ to Marshall, Jordan and Jason and make sure to stop by the Biltwell booth, too!