May 01

Swap and Coe wknd post mortem

It was a big weekend for ROMP activity. ROMP was at Coe for the BCW. ROMP earned it’s pay running the Cupertino Bike Swap.Sunday’s bike swap was absolutely incredible. The deals and relics range from improbable to legendary. I could not believe my eyes when I saw a complete mint condition rare tandem roll out bought for only $100. I bought a rare brand new 98′ XTR crankset and bottom bracket for $100.

I arrived at 7:15 am and there were already a dozen vendors there, with more arriving every minute in vehicles of all varieties packed and overflowing with treasures large and small; a veritable petroleum powered flotilla of suburbanite Santa’s converged on the lot. I greeted them as your humble ambassador of ROMP and began the chaotic ritual that the Cupertino Bike Swap has become.

Afterall I reckon we entertained at least 500 buyers, some from as far away as Reno (specifically to indulge here), and around 60 vendors. ROMP mustered a hearty squadron of trustworthy volunteers, and we owe them our gratitude for helping. The money we’ll earn here goes toward the operational costs of the club. Indirectly these funds will help keep MTB advocacy alive all across Northern California with funding for NorCAMBA and benefit riding in all of our favorite haunts.

In Coe ROMP set up a station to help inform visiting mountain bikers in the backcountry. We also conducted rides. I was there only for Saturday, and lead that ride. It was kind of pathetic in that no one showed up for the ride except the ROMP people. However, to a great degree the listed ride (on the weekend program) was to be symbolic and make a complete list of activities on the BCW itinerary. So I laughed and was able to enjoy a sweet ride with my friends.

That ride’s central feature was riding the Bear Spring and Mississippi Ridge route complete from N to S. This corridor was brushed out by ROMP volunteers last year. It was formerly impassable. It was our first time ever to ride this completely and I enjoyed every pedal revolution of it.

As far as the Swap goes, I would like to receive suggestions on how to improve the experience for everyone, volunteers, vendors and buyers, while it may be fresh in your mind. We enjoyed a good turnout due in part to the weather. However, the biggest thing going for this event is the momentum of tradition. The promotion protocol seems to work, but this could be improved.

More important, in my view, is how to run the day of the swap itself. Some improvements may include:

1. Providing a porta-potty accessible to folks waiting in line to get in. Some waited for hours in order to access the best deals first.
2. Providing a valet bike parking service.
3. Providing a bike for sale consigment area for those wishing offer for sale only one bike for a small fee.
4. Stricter enforcement and advertisment of swap policies.
5. Parking lot maps of spaces for everyone to use.
6. Entertainment for people waiting in line and special prizes for random and exceptional folks.
7. Techno music (opinions will vary!) ; ).

I’n too tired to list more, and I’m sure you’re not that interested anyway, but let us know if you have anything to offer. After much consideration, based upon the opinions of sellers, I believe the swap should stay in the lot behind Cupertino Bike Shop.

This year we included representation by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition at the ROMP area. I support the concept of a small bike advocacy expo. However, the focus of the event is the commercial activity itself, and I believe that advocacy activity should be subdued and provided only as a mild distraction from the fun.

These things would not be possible without members. Please renew your memberships and encourage your friends to maintain a membership as well. That’s all.



ps: Special recognition for Linda and Jeff. Without them the swap would’ve been a disaster. Thanks to Sully for cleaning the parking lot the night before. Thanks to Chris for running the burrito sales. Thanks to Charles for bringing the ROMP collateral down. Thanks to Rich for holding the bag all day. Thanks to Sheila for stamping hands. Thanks to Vance for being Mr Cupertino Bike Shop. Thanks to Adrienne and Camille and David, and the other volunteers whose names I forget right now.