~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Walk Through An AZ Motorcycle Swap Meet


Every year there is a motorcycle swap meet at the county fairgrounds about twelve miles from where I live. For some reason I've never gone so this year I vowed to make it to the event. Motorcycle swap meets are great fun, full of interesting people, and with so much bike junk around there is lots of fodder for photographs.

The gathering this year at the fairgrounds was billed as "Arizona's largest motorcycle swap meet." Compared to the mega meets I see pictures of from other parts of the country this one is pretty minuscule. Still, there were some interesting tidbits and a wider range of bike clubs than we usually see at the annual vintage bike meets.

I came within an inch of buying a '57 Sportster engine cover with some engraving. The part was well used, not expensive, would have looked great on the wall in the garage just as a piece of vintage motorcycle art, but in the end I let it go by. Sort of sorry now that I did.

Motorcycle people make great photographic subjects if you can get them to let you take the photo. Since a good many of the people at the meet today were from 1% clubs or close to it, I didn't take too many people pictures. Actually, I took none. Someone told me once that in a crowd of bikers I looked like a cop. Geez, there's a warm and fuzzy thought. I've never forgotten that and it's probably true, I'm too mainstream to ever "look like a biker" and if I tried I'd probably look like a cop trying to look like a biker.

I'm not a cop, by the way, although I've known a few over the years same as I've known some...uh...not-cops. In the end I'm big on live and let live. I don't mess in other people's business as long as they stay out of mine. Regardless, pointing a large DSLR camera at people has a way of stiffening them up and spoiling the photo. I thought my red Bultaco hat maybe eased my straight-laced appearance a little, seems to work ok at the vintage meets, but with todays crowd I was definitely an outsider at what appeared to me as much a social gathering as a swap meet.

Unloved: Suzuki GSXR carbs for sale at a mostly Harley swap meet. Yeah, I know how they feel.

I've noticed when I look through my pictures and the ones that the the Mrs. shoots that she tends to shoot pictures of people while I shoot pictures of bikes and parts. I mentioned to her today that she should try to avoid taking pictures of people without asking, especially taking pictures of the "colorful" vest or jacket art. She comes off as a lot more innocent looking than me; she told me she kept pointing her camera at some guy with a three pigtail beaded beard and he kept throwing up his arm to cover his face. "He really looked like a character!" Hint: He doesn't want his picture taken. He has his reasons. I'd have probably gotten my lights punched out for that. The innocent look has it's advantages.


I walked up to one group today out in the parking lot, didn't even have the camera up, and half of them got up and walked away before I got much past "Hi." Not even people with colors, just camera shy, I guess.

Perfect match.

Here's more pictures from today's excursion:

AMF Harley. Ah, the good old days when you could buy a matching bowling ball to go with your Harley. Oh wait, you still can.

A David Mann fan


A little paint, some Armor All on the tires, and it's ready for Craig's List as "mint condition."


Modern retro out in the parking lot. Very nice!




From what I see at the bike gatherings and on-line the days of the stretch out, swoopy chopper are over. Hooray!

Wanna go postal?


My vote for one of the coolest bikes there. I didn't get to meet the owner, the bike was just out in the parking lot. Clearly the guy was proud of his days as an Army Ranger, as well he should be. Nice, nice, clean, machine.





6 comments:

mq01 said...

people can be funny about having their pic taken. i take caution and generally do NOT take pics of riders that i dont know, you just never know... and i would hate to offend anyone.

Doug K. said...

I find that if I take the time to strike up a conversation and get to know someone just a little I can usually get them to let me take their picture. Problem with that, especially at a bike event and given my propensity for liking to talk bikes, is that I wind up spending all my time talking and almost none taking pictures.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

You took some beautiful pics at that swap meet. Now with that being said, all the good eye candy there, aren't you a little bummed that you've missed it all the years prior?

FLHX_Dave said...

Sweeet! WillyD and I will make the next one. There are Nice picts Doug and your pick for the best bike would be mine also. I wanted to do this to my bike but I'm gonna wait until I overhaul. I wanted to do the whole F-4 Corsair WWII deal on it. All I would need is a can of flat white paint!

Pictures? Yeah, M/C parties and runs I don't take unless I know the guy I'm snapping. Every place else is fair game and if they don't like it then they can tell me so.

Crusty said...

Swap Meets here on the East coast are more about people watching then they are about finding that "gem" of a used part. Most of the vendors sell the same crap that you can buy at any Biker event/rally. Best to use your el-cheapo camera and not something that might get "accidently" knocked out of your hands if you happen to point it at someone who is not a photography buff! -Crusty

Willy D said...

That’s my kind of “candy store”.

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