Mark Your Calendars ! Iron Ranch Bicycle Swap Meet | The Classic and Antique Bicycle Exchange
Oct 24, The Barber Vintage Festival swap meet is laid out in a neat grid, with narrow paved walkways bisecting flat, grassy zones marked with chalk. Feb 9, Saturday's activities included a bike festival with a small swap meet section, sponsor and vendor booths and the vintage bicycle concours. 2nd Annual Outlaw Bicycle Drags and this year VINTAGE SWAP MEET! Public. · Hosted by Mark Christman. Interested. clock. Sunday, September 9, at.
Hagerty employee-volunteers canvassed the event for a rolling chassis, a workable engine, and a body, then proceeding to burn the midnight oil for days getting the vehicle drivable. And they almost made it, until electrical troubles proved insurmountable. With electrical gremlins now banished the truck still runs, by the way.
And so, Randy and I hatched a plan: Stuff our pockets with cash, head to Birmingham, Alabama, and hit the swap meet the second it opened for move-in on Thursday in hopes of finding two salvageable vintage dirt bikes that could be turned into safe, viable motocrossers by Sunday.
Randy and I arrived in Birmingham Wednesday evening, and I was jumping around like a kid waiting for Disneyland to open as we approached the swap meet area first thing Thursday.
Bike building has been in my blood since adopting my first basket-case Ducati at 18 years old. The hunt is on The Barber Vintage Festival swap meet is laid out in a neat grid, with narrow paved walkways bisecting flat, grassy zones marked with chalk lines, like a football field ready for the big game. And big it was: And so, we started walking, poring over the machines and parts—some neatly organized and others haphazardly scattered—on each rectangle of lawn.
Down the first row and up the next we went, looking for good candidates. Alas, it had no compression whatsoever, and we had little hope of finding a piston. A pair of BSA and Triumph cc singles also looked compelling, except for low compression on one and a seized fork on the other. With just 72 hours to convert them into racers, they both seemed like longshots. All might work, but finding a reasonably matched pair of the same displacement proved tough.
As the afternoon wore on, things started to seem bleak. Randy seemed content chatting with the dozens of folks at the stalls and on the asphalt promenade.
Some recognized him as the racing superstar he is. He was genuinely happy to be there, on an adventure, and away from the pressure of his Motor Trend TV show and trying to set lap records.
Mark Your Calendars ! 2017 Iron Ranch Bicycle Swap Meet
Me, I began to sulk. No bikes meant no racing, and no story. Stein Randy Pobst strikes first and buys the Rickman motorcycle Two little unicorns Disappointed and flummoxed by the lack of just the right bikes in the swap meet—which, it deserves pointing out, was still filling up as vendors arrived—I agreed to accompany Randy across the Barber complex to the motocross pits. Comprised of a handmade English bronze-welded chrome moly frame, hand-laid fiberglass bodywork, a steel gas tank, and an air-cooled, radial-head Zundapp cc engine, it was a little jewel.
Operationally it was nearly all there, and with a Mikuni carburetor conversion already done, seemed like a strong purchase possibility. It even ran, although the cracked tires, a leaking rear tube, little fork damping, and an inability to run without the carburetor enricher on were question marks.
We had a bike. When I looked up again, fate was staring me straight in the eyes. Incredulous, I blinked, blinked again, and then floated toward it as if ensnared by some strange gravitational force.
Could it be the same bike Randy had just bought? I found the seller, Scott Lochbihler, and asked him about it. A former race bike, it had been idled when its young rider found sponsorship on another machine, and was now unneeded. Randy hustled to the Hagerty booth and returned with a small bottle of gas and some two-stroke oil.
We quickly proceeded to brew some premix up right there in the proverbial sink, and then dribbled some into the spark plug hole and carburetor bowl as if feeding a baby bird. Finally, the long-asleep Zundapp engine started, its staccato exhaust barking crisply out the pipe.
But then another thought hit me: Bargain hunters began crouching down to examine it, and the core bike too. I had to act quickly. I had to agree. Stein Fate shines upon us as we find two Rickmans that can run in the same class The big thrash Reality intervened as soon as we propped both bikes onto their work stands in the Hagerty tent, for two important reasons. First, both bikes needed signification attention, including new tires, tubes and new chains, oil changes, fuel-system servicing, lubing cables, brake adjustments, straightening various bent pieces, and plenty more.
Second, rumors swirling around Barber were that the entire Sunday program, including our motocross races, would be cancelled due to the arrival of Hurricane Nate, which was tracking straight toward Birmingham. First thing Friday morning, we tore the front wheels off both bikes, cleaned the drum brakes, and levered the hardened old tires off.
Or rather, I levered the hardened old tires off. It was his toolbox, after all. One tire iron short of a full toolbox, and replete with a mysterious ex-girlfriend who may or may not still have that essential drop-forged steel lever in a kitchen drawer.
The one that we now needed, badly. But there was no use arguing this point. Stein The ever-affable Randy Pobst front "lost" one of his tire irons, forcing your author to improvise with a big ol' screwdriver With various Hagerty visitors helping by standing on the tire bead, one magical tire iron and one king-sumo screwdriver levered all four old knobbies off the year-old Rickman wheels. If two nearly identical Rickmans found at Barber was one miracle, guessing at shipping the exact tires they needed there ahead of time was another.
We were scoring with Lady Luck.
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Another windfall was in the chain department. Fortunately, Regina Chain had sent series Professional Cross Supermoto chains—purposely over-length at links—and after we cut about four links off with the handy Regina chain breaker, they fit perfectly.
With a loaner generator humming behind a nearby tree, floodlights lit up the Hagerty tent well into the night. They took on the exacting job of trimming our Fastlane MX racing graphics to fit the unusually sized vintage Rickman fiberglass side panels.
No small task, the custom-fitting took a couple of hours and looked great. Behind our work area, a poor guy in his pup tent had enough of us by In contrast to the sunny and amicable Thursday and Friday weather, Saturday dawned gray and ominous, as the outer bands of Hurricane Nate crept north into Birmingham.
And the word was now official: This created many new potential problems. The course was deep in the Alabama woods, and as it differed every year, no one knew exactly where it went.
And from our bike-building standpoint, the entire Saturday planned as a test and tune day would now be compressed into a single one-hour race instead. Talk about flying blind. The geology of the Paso Robles, however, consists of a fair amount of sedimentary soils. Even though there was rain on the days before the weekend event, most of the gravel roads absorbed the rain and there were very few places that were actually muddy and most all of the gravel sections I rode were in great shape.
The area of Paso Robles provides spectacular riding, especially in the spring. Rows of vineyards are highlighted by the varying topography and the many hills are green, sprinkled with yellow mustard flowers. The morning of the ride, there was very light coastal rain, but not enough to warrant even wearing a rain jacket. At the start, groups were staggered at intervals. By the first climbs riders spread out and you could go at your own pace not being crowded by groups as in larger cycling ride events.
I started the ride with tires at about 95 PSI. I had been riding Panaracer Pasela TGs previously, that are great tires, but they can feel a little sluggish in the wider sizes. Compass Stampede Pass tires, with their lightweight casing ride very responsively. These tires, combined with the newly built-up wheels and stiff Stronglight cranks with their narrow Q-factor width, the Urago was especially responsive on climbs.
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Urago was a small frame builder often having to compete with much larger bicycle brands, so they tended to put more into there handmade frames. At 95 PSI the tires felt fast on the pavement, on the light gravel they felt pretty good as well, but the tires really seemed to come alive after I dropped the pressure slightly to between At this pressure the bike absorbed the bumps but still seemed to handle excellent without feeling sluggish.
Towards the end of the ride, not having full fenders some of the wet dirt accumulated on the chain that started to affect the shifting with the large difference in the chainring teeth, but mostly ok.
The Compass tires were a perfect complement to this vintage lightweight Urago. Although the bike was over 50 years old it felt new with these tires. Not knowing how well such an old Urago would do on a distance, I rode the short route this year. The constant rolling hills were all the more interesting. Along the way it was fun to see so many different riders of all ages and the variety of vintage bikes from the US, Europe as well as Asia.
The routes had better markings this year, with more route signs, plus color coded arrow markers on the asphalt that more clearly indicated each of the three routes and where they split up that was very helpful.
At the rest stop at Olea Olive farm, we were served the traditional lunch of French fries and homemade garlic tomato sauce, plus a flat bed truck was filled with bananas and tangerines. At Olea I had a nice chat with Sasha from Citizen Chain in San Francisco, who was riding a sleek gray vintage Albert Eisentraut bike with his distinctive logo signature.
Eisentraut, a long time frame builder in San Francisco Bay Area, who has taught many others his craft. After this second checkpoint, the riders were spread out now, and one could enjoy the scenery along the route. In one section of white-ish gravel was highlighted against dark clouds in the distance, creating a dramatic landscape.
While many riders were older, there were a few younger riders participating.