Monday, March 19, 2012
As a guy who's always tinkering with something, I find swap meets of all kinds, quite a blast. I've left the warm winter of New Orleans and traveled the nearly 1000 miles back to the mid-west, just to attend the Brazen Dropouts swap meet in Madison, Wis. in January. There are not many things I love more than a swap, flea market, bike/car show, antique fair, or similar events. There's the Ann Arbor Michigan swap, April 29th, that has had me salivating since last year. Rarely do any of these events, disappoint. Except for... well one. The one that's actually walking distance from my shop. The one that's intended to serve the same folks that we do on a daily basis. The Active Transportation, Chicago Bike Swap. I'm sure there will be those who blast me for writing this, but so be it. It's a shit show in so many ways. I find it hard to believe that a large committee of people can arrange such a god awful event. I don't even see how they could get off calling this a swap. Webster defines swap meet. noun. An informal gathering for the barter or sale of used articles or handicrafts. Okay, so perhaps they could get away with calling it a swap. Here's the problem though: It's $10 dollars to get in! Highest price anywhere! Sponsorship by a non- profit or not, that's not cool. Lot's of swaps are sponsored by non profits. You would think non-profits, of all groups, would understand, value. I'm sure they'll say, they have added value, with their lectures and performances and tons of volunteers. They should note, most attendees are cyclists. They don't really need a, "how to keep your bike running during winter". They rode them to the swap.. Being as most attendees are avid cyclists, what's with all the dealers bringing new off the shelf accessories that are marked down 5%? Cyclists have that crap already! If no one purchased your cycling shoes at $190 bucks what makes them think someone will pay $180 at a swap? The amount of cheap, takeoff merchandise at that swap is depressing. Hello local bike shops, the reason you had to pack up so much stuff and take it back to your shop, is because no one wants it or it's not a bargain. If you're looking to get rid of something, price it accordingly. The event takes place in multiple rooms and when you go from one room to the next, the door Nazi's are checking for your wristband everytime time you enter. It seems the $10 dollar fee is what's of utmost concern. Even though you're carrying a bag of purchased merchandise and wearing a wristband, you're still treated like a stowaway as you move about the place. That sucks to high hell. Get it together, Active Trans.