Photo by Bruce Mike

by: Bruce Mike

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It ’s February 22nd and the temperature outside is -9º with a -23º windchill. That ’s fahrenheit if you’re curious. The average temperature for this time of year is around 30º. Needless to say “this just ain’t right ”. What I did today to get a little reprieve from this arctic hell was visit the Nordeast Swap Meet at the NE Minneapolis National Guard Armory.

I need these bike events to help me get to spring. I attended the International Motorcycle Show earlier this month and I’ll be going to the Donnie Smith Show. Some years we’ve been able to ride to it, not recent years though. As I get older these Minnesota winters are losing their charm.

On the way to the swap meet today I thought about how many more and how much bigger they used to be. I realize Craig’s List and ebay have a lot to do with this but they don’t even come close to giving me what I get at a swap meet. I realize they aren’t for everybody but I love the flea market, garage sale vibe. The negotiating and story telling are what make them fun. I always find a ton of stuff that is completely foreign to me but gets defined in great detail f rom the seller. Usually with an interesting story attached.

This swap meet trip was in pursuit of parts for my nephews bike. He has a pretty good list of things he’s looking for and we were able to knock off a couple at a very reasonable price. What happens to me as I peruse the vast array of parts and pieces is inspiration. I currently own only one old bike and all it really needs is a clutch, which I doubt I’m going to find at a swap meet. The inspiration comes from all the stuff that I could use to make the bike different than what it is. My old Iron Head was a ten year project and as soon as it was done I had a million ideas about how it could be better or at the very least different. This is where I end up with far more money invested than the bike will ever be worth. But can you really put a price on fun?

Here is a great definition of swap meets I found on the internet – “Swap meets are a mixture of treasure hunting and shopping, and the meets attract a diverse crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts. The hard core swappers flock to the meets to prospect for the hidden jewels amongst the used and antique parts, spending hours sifting through bins and turning over chrome on the vendor tables. Some bikers will head out to the swap meet to check out the latest accessories or models from area dealers that exhibit their wares to the riders anxious to see the latest and greatest the industry has to offer”.

A week from now I’ll be trail-riding in Moab, Utah. Another way to beat the winter blues. They’re predicting it will be unseasonably cool but I’ll take 50º over -9º any time. Then 3 weeks after I get back it ’s the Donnie Smith Show and Swap Meet. As it ’s been throughout my adult years, I will continue to plow through these winter months in anticipation of warm sunshine and open roads. Ride safe and be nice.


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