Monday, April 28, 2014

Weekend Trip To Ann Arbor Classic Bicycle Show 1st Place 1970's Classics Division

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap

This weekend I attended the Ann Arbor, Michigan Classic Bicycle Show and Swap.  We had one heck of a time!!

Shannon and I left Friday around 6:30 p.m. from here in Gurnee and headed east on I-94 for Ann Arbor.  Traffic was pretty heavy through Chicago but no major delays and made descent time for what I thought would be very busy on a Friday evening.  We made even better time once we made it to Michigan and finally realized the speed limit was 70 MPH there but it wasn't necessarily easy to go faster for how bad the high way was chewed up from this horrible winter.

Eventually we made it to our hotel in Ann Arbor around 11:30 at night out time.  The very nice Sheraton we had booked gave our room away even though we mentioned when booking we would get there very late but no worries, for there mistake they bumped us up to our king room on the club floor.

After what was sleeping in for us we headed out to explore Ann Arbor.  It was nearly 25 years since I was last in the area if maybe not a few more years then that.  We headed out to see the University of Michigan campus and walk around the "Big House" or Michigan Stadium where I have been told it is the quietest 110,00 people you will ever see at a game, this it was this day and that was with a La Cross game going on.

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap - Michigan Stadium

After walking around the stadium and taking a few photos we decided to take a drive and see if we could find where the show would be held because we saw a sign for it on the way to the campus.  We gave Siri the address on the web site and it pointed us in the opposite direction of the sign we saw but we thought we better go with it because we might have been wrong on the sign.  We where not, Siri took us to a BP station about 15 miles the wrong direction, after confirming the address on the web site Siri was correct the show web site was wrong.  We eventually made it to where the show was being held and then headed back to the hotel with a stop at Red Robin for lunch.

At this time I tired to connect up with a phone call to my friend Darrell who was also coming from the Chicago area for the show.  I left a message that we where at Red Robin and got a call back.  I stepped  a way from the table to take the call where I could hear. (I do not hear very well)  I could not hear Darrell on the phone, he tapped me on the shoulder laughing.

We then went back tot he hotel for a very rare nap and got ready to meat Darrell and Rich out at a Micro Brewery called the Blue Tractor in town.  It is an maybe slightly up scale BBQ joint that had good food and a Smoke House Ale that was fantastic.  I wish I would have remembered to take a picture of all of us for the blog post.

We had a great time out with Darrell and Rich and then headed back to the hotel to catch the Brewers Score and get some sleep because an early morning was coming.  It was rough getting up but we got the van loaded and headed to the show.

It was a very cold and very windy morning for a bicycle show and the show being out in the country the wind picked up all kinds of dust and grit of the surrounding farm fields, not ideal weather to say the least.  I brought two bikes to put in the bike corral and one bike I worked like mad the three days before the show to enter.

I will start with the bike corral, I entered the Silver Schwinn Le Tour I have had done for a couple of weeks and my somewhat rare and precious Peugeot PB-14.  I basically sold the Le Tour but still came home with it.  The first person who wanted it contacted me but had to drive home an hour or so to get the cash and never came back and by the time the show awards where over the show was winding down so I just load the Le Tour back up.  The Peugeot was a different story, the crowd was not correct for it, it was a more a Classic Schwinn crowd but as my friend Darrell said "There might not be a crowd for a Peugeot like that." and I agree with him.  Darrell did sell his absolutely beautiful Raleigh Super Course very rare 5 speed in the corral, I am going to ask him for a photo of it.  Darrell does amazing work in his restorations!

The show portion of the day went very well.  I entered my Raleigh Sprite into the 1970's Classic division.  By my surprise I won first place the division and am very happy about that.  The show had some very cool bicycles in it.  The best in show went to a 1950's huffy radio bike, it is a bike with a radio built into the tank.  Other very cool bicycles where a 1972 Schwinn Paramount in perfect condition, a 1938 Schwinn Paramount Track bike with wood rims, a few 1890's bicycles with the gas head lamps, a lot of Schwinn Stingrays and Krates, and a lot of bicycles from the 1940's and 1950's.

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
My Very Tall Raleigh Sprite in the Show

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
My Very Tall Raleigh Sprite in the Show
While at the swap portion of the show I found a lot of parts and things I have been looking for.  I found a number of nice cranks from the 1980's which I go through a lot of here in the shop.  I also found a bunch of brake calipers I will definitely use.  The cool thing is I found a Raleigh head lamp and bracket perfect for the Raleigh Sprite, I really wanted to go add it to the Sprite during the show but thought better of it.  Oh, I also found a beautiful old bell for Jose, I wish I could have found a few other things on his list and other things on the lists people sent me.

Before I left I also got a great deal on a Raleigh Sprite in a more reasonable size, not the massive size I require and I also found a Raleigh Super Course in my favorite green with the chrome frame under the paint.  I can't wait to get to work on the both but that won't come until the fall, I have to many customers restorations to get too, which is a good thing!!

I was surprised to run into someone I knew from Kenosha that I bought the Sprite from.  The Sprite is rough but the paint is good and it is the cool coffee color.  I have big plans for it.

Below are a few photos of the 6 or 7 barns of vendors there was at the show.

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
1 of the Many Vendor barns

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
Another Vendor Barn

There was so much to see at the show that my ADD kicked in a little but Shannon kept me focused and had an excellent eye for finding parts and bikes.  She found a 1950's Bianchi that I walked right by to look at a Concord, what an idiot, a Concord.  The guy selling the Bianchi would not come to my price but I would have really loved to restore that one.  If the Peugeot would have sold I would have thought long and hard about taking that Bianchi home.  She also found the Raleigh Sprite among a ton of bikes while I was looking at crap. I am so appreciative of all she did during the show.

The show ended and we packed up, got gas and food and got on the road.  We where both tired and soar from walking a ton of miles on rough concrete and gravel through the barns of vendors.  I got so tired about an hour and a half into the trip home that Shannon took over driving duties and I fell a sleep with a kink in my neck, refreshed I drove from the end of Indiana through Chicago.

All in all it was a fantastic trip, we had tons and tons of fun and I came home with a plaque, a few bikes and lots of parts.

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
My Plaque! First Place 1970's Classics

Below are a few photos of bicycles that caught my eye.  The chrome bicycle below is a chrome Schwinn Continental that I wanted to show my friend David C.  The skeleton bike was one of two very cool bikes just shoved in a dark corner in one barn.  I am not a fan off Schwinn balloon tire bicycles, there was some very beautiful ones at the show they are just not my thing, except one in the corner of the bike corral caught my eye, the maroon and black one below, that balloon tire bike I wouldn't mind having.

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
Chrome Schwinn Continental

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
Crazy Skeleton Bicycle

Ann Arbor Classic Bike Show & Swap
A Balloon Tire Bike I Can Handle


  1. Thanks for sharing. I would have been in heaven at that swap meet.

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  3. Congrats on your win. I've been look for a old bike and stumbled on one of your builds. Now, I'm in conflict. I could buy one of yours already completed or DIY.

    Love the work.