Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tucson GABA Bike Swap Fall 2012 Photos: the RAIN Technique for Swap Success

Your bike wants a fender ornament of similar grandeur as this sweet old Schwinn has

At the fall GABA swap, I applied the RAIN technique for bike swap success:


This effective bicycle swap method has been slowly taught to me by swap masters over a long period of arduous swap practice. Scanning always, you first have to RECOGNIZE some bike object of your desire that you need to acquire. This object is seldom on a list that you made the night before, or not exactly, because the odds are not great that a very specific object you desire will appear in your scan zone and be recognized. Much more likely that a bicycle object will appear in your area of scanning that you will quickly recognize as something you need strongly.

For example, my first purchase was a pair of Specialized Touring Pedals built by MKS in Japan in the early 80s. I did not have that on my list exactly, but recognized as soon as I scanned them that I wanted to acquire them.

Flat, stout, smooth, beautiful old pedals
After the initial recognition comes the ASSESS step. This involves picking up the object of your desire/need, and as quickly and efficiently as possible, assess if it's actually a piece of junk, broken, dirty, used abused and worn, or actually worthy of your time and effort to take to the next step. This is not foolproof, because in the heat of the swap you won't have time to execute a complete mechanical engineering fitness and suitability study on each and every object you pick up.

In the beginning, bike swappers brave the rain and cold
Next come INGRATIATE and NEGOTIATE, where you get a price that doesn't empty out your pocket of cash at the first table you stop at. Upon success, you pay, pack your hard-won object into your backpack, already having resumed scanning for your next acquisition. If negotiations are not successful, and you usually know within a few seconds if the haggling is going to happen or if the price is the price, put it down and move on. You may find another one, or, if you really wanted it, go back a few hours later, when the haggling may be easier, and you can resort to the (often honest) "I've got $37 left, what do you say?" approach.

Miscellaneous boxes of crap where much essential goodness may be found

OX Platinum frame, pangs of recognition

Clearing, with coffee in-hand, makes the swap seem all shiny

Celebrating the freedom to swap, and haggle, and ride to our heart's content

At the crossroads, the wildcatters gathered to sell their rides

Boxes of rain-spattered rims

HERCULES the head badge says. OSG Best Chrome of Show Award!

Yes, titanium seat binder bolts. OSG Titanium Accessory Honorable Mention Award

I lifted that Columbus frame, and it felt like a carbon feather

J.A. Stein tire iron. No tire can offer meaningful resistance to it. OSG Most Powerful award.

Once the sun came out, the crowd grew rapidly

Sonoran hot dog from BK Tacos. As good as it looks, needed to regain energy after swap exertions.

The take. Shoes, tubes, helmet, grips, a Rivnut kit, XTR cables, GABA jersey, bullhorns, etc, aw yeah.

All in all, a great swap, got some parts to go put on now. Not positive I needed the leather-covered helmet, but I kind of like it, and the price was right. Also not sure what exactly I'm going to do with the clear Oury grips, but I had to have them. And yes, that's another set of original Eggbeater pedals. I used the RAIN technique, and they went into my bag.


  1. Wow! Nice haul. What a great event to attend.

    1. I really enjoy seeing the vast age range of people who turned out to go bike swapping. I also heard several different languages being spoken fluently, which always lifts me up.

  2. Looked cool. Spent some time in Tucson awhile back, but never managed to get to the swap meet. Did you stop by BICAS by chance?

    And I was going to give you crap about the "cold" comment, as I am required by law, but then I looked and the overnight low tonight for Tucson and Portland are supposed to be the same.

    1. I didn't get to to BICAS specifically, although that area of Tucson is steeped in bike art, and there were several vendors selling related art items. The bike swap is an unusually focused and mercenary event for me--drive down there, get going as early as practicable, RAIN it up, drive back to PHX. My family has been asking for a slow weekend outing to Tucson, which would also happen to be much more amenable to a BICAS visit. And in terms of "cold", the swap kicked off just as a cold front moved through. It's almost the same temperature in PHX at the moment as in Portland, although we're planning to send the clouds packing and get back to our regularly scheduled nice weather by afternoon, in time for the Canal Convergence Art ride, which I'm planning to join.

  3. That Peugeot frame is just killing me with desire.Any idea how many $$$ it went for?

    1. slow rpm, I flipped over that purple price tag on the ground in front of it out of curiosity. It was priced such that someone who flipped over the price tag out of curiosity might be very tempted to then haggle and purchase it. I think it was priced at $250. It was a sized a bit small for me.

  4. Heaven...I like the old style touring pedals.


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