The 2007 Cupertino Bike Swap - Cupertino, California
story and photos by Low Kwan Seng


The annual Cupertino Bike Swap was held on 29 April 2007 and it is (allegedly) the largest bicycle swap meet here in northern California. It's a pretty alien concept in some other countries but over there, the swap meet is like a "pasar malam" for bicycles and bike parts. Vendors, manufacturers and cyclists alike can be found selling their new/old/excess inventory, and occasionally there are cyclists who just want to clear the "junk" piling up in their garages. I'm an internet and swap meet junkie, and I've been buying/selling bike stuffs for the past number of years, so naturally I got myself a swap spot and a table set up.

That's me standing at my booth - check out the stuff I'm selling. A white Colnago Master Piu 1992 frameset and a vintage Vitus bike. It was a beautiful day.

We got close to 70 swap spots this year. This year, I saw all sorts of bike stuff ranging from brand new carbon framesets to some absolute "junkable" things that have been sittting in someone's garage for the past 40 years, rusted to the bone.

As usual (and in most situations in life) the early bird gets the good deal. I scored a brand new Bontrager white carbon saddle for only US$40. I saw a guy buying a brand new Easton/Velomax wheelset for US$200. Further away, someone was selling a slightly used full carbon fork for US$50.

Whenever I see deals like year-end closeouts, stuff coming from shops that went out of business, or factory-direct items, I try to buy in quantity and resell at the swap. As most, if not all, buyers at the swap meet are looking for deals, the price that the seller is offering must be lower than the full retail price (except, perhaps, vintage or collectors' items).

Looks like someone scored some MTB tires! (guy on the right) Also check out all the bikes on sale. If you are looking for road bikes, new or used alike, do not want to pay full shop price, this is the best place to shop - provided you know your size and what you want. You can usually find a deal here.

The turnout this year was strangely, lower than the previous year. But I think I did ok. As usual, the buyers will haggle with you to death (and Malaysians think they are good at bargaining). You need to know where to set the price high enough, but not so high and still come out ok - it's an art of salesmanship.

Check out the Campagnolo wheel bags on the far left of this picture. They're probably used and were going for US$20 each.

I had a mix of consumbles and exotic items: lots of inner tubes, cheap sunglasses, t-shirts and caps. I managed to buy some retro parts from a bike shop in Ipoh (Malaysia) when I was visiting there back in March. Surprisingly, there's a retro market here in the 'States. People are willing to pay for new retro parts. We call it NOS (New Old Stock). I sold some NOS Shimano 600 EX pedals and some Turbo saddles.

That's my swap space again, a little white table selling tubes/sunglasses. Some t-shirts, caps and tyres on the floor. A vintage Vitus bike and a Vintage Colnago Master classic steel frameset + some wheelsets.

My impression this year is that people are extremely careful with their money, and so many high priced items were hard to move. And competition was intense. For example, I sold none of my wheelsets despite offering very good prices. Sigh.

Anyway, time to start the stockpile for next year...

back to home :: cycling :: © 2001 to present, Darren Lee et al. Please request permission before reproducing contents contained in this website. Thanks.