Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Return from out West

The trip went well, the weather turned perfect, after rain on Thursday and Friday morning. We left midday Thursday and encountered periods of torrential downpour before arriving at Memory Lane at 11pm. We scouted around and bought one bike that night.

Friday morning was looking grim, the field was flooded in spots and that made a lot of mud. The Memory Lane scene is mostly classic Balloon tire and Middleweight bikes, but we have been going long enough that sellers know what kind of bikes we are looking for and bring them for us. The two days at Memory Lane did not turn up any rare bikes for us, but we did find a bunch of riders to bring back to the shop and a nice Schwinn Town and Country Tandem. The best thing I picked up was probably an NOS TA waterbottle cage, still with the tag.

From there, we packed up and drove about an hour and a half north to Ann Arbor Michigan, looking for a motel to take a shower and get a good night's sleep. In Ohio, we sleep in the van usually, or if the weather permits, outside the van. Turns out, it was University of Michigan's graduation weekend and almost all rooms were booked. We found a room, ate, set the alarm, and went to sleep around 9pm. One problem, the alarm went off at 2am, rather than 5am, and we almost didn't realize until we were about to get in the van and leave. I finally went back to sleep around 3:30am.

The line of vehicles leading into the swap meet is usually short around 5:30am, but this year it was already around the first bend. That was a promising sign. Once we were let in, it was a buying frenzy, 5 bikes bought from one guy, 2 bought on the way back to the van with the first batch. People approaching me to buy their bikes, and even more people trying to buy the bikes we just bought to bring back to Philadelphia. This went on all day. No rare bikes or parts were found, just useful bikes and parts for the shop. I wonder how many people went to the swap meet looking for left side Selecta cranks, basic 1/2" pedal axle BMX platform pedals, or 700c Super Champion 40 hole rims? Probably not many, but we were very happy to find them.

I did remember to put on sunblock and drank plenty of water, but the long weekend was getting to us, and the packing seemed to take forever. We were on the road around 6pm or so, and soon realized that we were not going to get that far. So we got a room in Ohio and feel asleep eating Oreos for dinner.

The drive back to Philly was nice, the weather was beautiful. I came back with a few "keepers" for myself- all books. I got a set of Schwinn Service Manuals, Collecting and Restoring Antique Bicycles, and some reprints of high wheel and turn of the century bicycle catalogs. Overall, a nice trip, but it left me wishing I found something cool.

Pictures are of the bikes we bought there, we arrived with an empty van!


Anonymous said...

what books?

Vladimir said...

Excellent! Good travel! I invite you to cycling in the Ukraine.