I drove from Mpls to Madison with 3 other friends in 2 cars total. I got 2 tables ($35 ea) and my buddy got 1. We packed the cars with totes and boxes of parts along with 4 frames and at least 1 complete bike. The drive went fine- elapsed time 4+ hours. We checked into the Motel 6, unloaded the cars, opened the door between the adjoining rooms, snapped open some cold ones and proceeded to price our items with hang tags. The beds were covered with junk!
Needless to say, we began deals right then and there, "Hey, I didn't know you had one of those. Why didn't you tell me about that? ...How much?"
We got up at 6am Sat morning, and made it to the Cleveland Diner by 7 am. We knew from previous years that only bagels, bananas, cookies and pop are available at the event, so we tried to take in as much food possible at the diner- eggs, bacon, omelets, hash browns, toast, juice, etc.
At the Armory (event venue) we knew that setup would start at 8:00, and we got there about 10 minutes early. This helped us get in line near the front for check-in. As soon as we got our hands stamped we dashed out to the cars to start bringing stuff in. My plan is usually to stay very focused and set my tables up asap, so that I can start shopping before the public gets in at 9 am.
About half of my buying came before 9 am and the rest was spread out throughout the event. I bought a NOS Campy BSC BB, a NOS Omas headset, a cool Campy wool cap, a complete Columbus Air tubeset with lugs and NOS seatpost, misc Campy BB spindles, some neoprene booties, some NOS Dura Ace track cogs, an orphan Mafac Dural Forge caliper, Cinelli 65-40 bar, NOS Mavic GEL 330 rims, an orphan Mavic SSC rim, an old shorty Bianchi pantographed Campy seatpost, a couple sets of Suntour barcons, a very clean 151 mm BCD Campy road ring 52T, and a bunch of misc small parts.
It was very dry (but comfortable) in the armory, so I worked hard to keep myself hydrated by slamming numerous bottled waters. They were essential for washing down those damn bagels too.
This was my 3rd Madison swap, so I am starting to recognize familiar faces. It was nice running into Tom Hayes- we have been doing deals back and forth for several years, but met for the first time here.
The swap was over after 6 hours, and it went by very quickly. A 4 hour drive was ahead of us, so we packed everything up and headed out.
I have been to swap meets in Denver, Madison, Ann Arbor, Milwaukee and Des Moines. I would rank them in that order. Word has it that Veloswap is coming to Minneapolis this year. It seems that Quality Bicycle Products will host the event, and a date has yet to be determined. Those of you with connections with Quality, keep us posted. Could be fun!