For the second year in a row, I had the opportunity to attend the Cheap Thrills Motorcycle Swap Meet at the Asbury Park Convention Center in, of all places, Asbury Park, New Jersey.
It was another bitter and blustery cold day in a week of such days. The windchill had it around 10 degrees if not colder outside. I am tossed between which was worse, the chilly rain we had last year or this. I think it’s a tie. Despite the chill, it would appear a record crowd attended this years event. I actually had to wait in line to get in, last year I didn’t.
When you first pay your entry fee and get banded, you find yourself in a corral of vintage and custom bikes. Lining the roped off perimeter of said corral, each bike is shined up… or not…. and presented with a small blue card with the owners name, bike type and entry number. This is so that attendees may vote on people’s choice.
Beyond that, you enter through what would be the entrance to the vintage hall. The building, constructed in 1926, has seen better days but there still is this air of grandeur…. or whatever that smell is, floating around as you enter it’s faded art deco facade. Once past the entry hall, you come to the “concession” entry where drinks and snacks are sold to your left and right. This of course interrupts the smooth navigation into the whole of the space as you have to “Excuse Me” your way through the lines.
Immediately, and I mean immediately after, the floor is covered with old motorcycle parts from dozens of vendors. This whole area of the “show room” is where concerts and plays are held and have been since back in the heyday of the venue. Stadium style seating lines the perimeter of the floor to the sides and rear, while the huge stage takes up the entire front wall. Last year, vendors were all over the floor, but this year, they were on the stage too. Nice to see it growing.
As I have said on a number of occasions to friends and my podcasts co-hosts and listeners, if you want to build a bike, a vintage bike, this is the place to be. While the vast majority of parts available at the event are Harley parts, it is not unusual to see metric and import parts there as well.
I searched for parts of that I needed, sadly only one guy had them and he wasn’t willing to sell them off of the existing part they were attached to. But to prove my point, there is a good chance that what you need is there. Sadly for me, I always seem to attend these events with no cash at all, well, at least not enough to buy anything of significance. What the hell is up with that?
I did buy a pair of soft lowers for my bike, but alas, they were too small and I can’t use them. I only paid $10 for them, but I know they are at least $100 brand new from HD if not more. So I wasn’t going to complain if they didn’t fit. I’ll sell them or give them away.
I always enjoy these type of events, it renews my faith in the industry. People are into motorcycles, just maybe not the new stuff. That was evident here. Young and old, men and women all selling motorcycle related goods. Makes me want to embark on a project bike. But I think it’s safe to say, I have that going on right now, just not with an old bike. That being said…..
….Old stuff rocks.