5th Annual Milwuakee Bike Swap a success!


From $5 vintage training wheels to $30 new disc brake wheels, the Milwaukee swap had deals for every buyer.

Jake puts on wrist bands as the line moves forward after the doors opened.

Earlier in the week, when I saw the weather forecast of 50s and sunny for Swap Day I couldn’t help but wonder the implications on attendance. I flashed back to 2010 when a statewide blizzard stopped many vendors and attendees from coming out to the event and wondered how, basically the exact opposite day in weather, might affect the Bike Swap. It meant that more people were willing to leave their houses or it might mean more people will be out riding in shirtsleeves and skip the swap.  It turned out that the weather didn’t seem to hurt or help attendance at this year’s Swap. A little over 400 deal hunters paid to get in, up a fraction from last year. We sold out of all 71 vendor tables and only had one vendor who took off early wanting to get out riding and enjoy the weather.


This may be the last year for the swap at the UWM union. Any ideas for a new location? Free and big are the two criteria.

So many skis, so little snow...


This year we tested the waters (since nothing was freezing) on merging snow and ski equipment with the bikes. The ski sale got mixed reviews, but I think we can grow the snow sports aspect by reaching out to more ski specific vendors and snow sport fans next year. I personally guided a swap attendee looking to buy some new cross country skis to one of our vendors and who was glad to find what some new boards and poles. Another couple who said they were disappointed they weren’t able to find the exact ski supplies they needed, but I saw them on their way out with arms full of stuff. Apparently they managed to find deals on plenty of other items for themselves or friends.

The survey links below are analyzed by our swap coordinating team each year to look for areas to improve the experience both for buyers and sellers. So please take a few minutes to give us your feedback.

If you were a vendor please take a moment to fill out this survey

If you were an attendee please take a moment to fill out this survey

Part of the stash of deals from DreamBikes.

Thanks so much to all those who came both as vendors and buyers. The money we raised will go to support The Milwaukee Junior Cycling Team through Milwaukee Bicycle Works. We hope to see you all again next year! Thanks to my co-coordinating team of Bill Koch, Seth Frye, and Matt Daledin, and Lisa Downey! Great work team!

Thanks to FlavorCycle for helping to keep folks fed with delicious food from local restaurants and deliveries fast and friendly by bike. Special thanks also goes out to Alterra for providing 15 gallons of coffee for our vendors and volunteers in the early hours of the morning during out set-up.

If you found a great deal or had a good time at the Bike Swap this year we ask that you tell a friend and bring them with you next year. The more buyers who come to find what they need the more vendors sell, the more vendors bring to sell the next year, the more options and deals you have as a buyer means the better the swap becomes overall! So stay tuned to the Bike Fed blog and become a member to make sure you are up to date on all things the Bike Fed does to help make Wisconsin a great place to be on a bike all year round!

Vintage leather

New carbon

2 thoughts on “5th Annual Milwuakee Bike Swap a success!

  1. Hey Jake!

    It was a great show! Very well run and your show staff and volunteers were super!

    Though we didn’t sell a ton of stuff we did sell enough to want to come back next time. We also bought enough stuff to make the trip sting a little, but we saved literally 3x what we spent in terms of value! (example 60 dollar set of Bontrager tires for 15 dollars!)

    I can’t help but wonder of the weather and or the packer Game kept attendance low or if either helped. Some shows get a reputation of being a good parts show, a good vintage bike show (we were hoping big on this one) a good road bike show etc… I cannot guess what this show was as a lot of good stuff left the show with those who brought it. It seemed like a good mix of what people wanted. Just not a ton of sales made.

    Either way, I hope next year is an even bigger success and I plan to be there!

  2. Thanks for coming Ralph! Maybe we are due for a normal 30 degree partly cloudy day one of these years. Did you fill out the survey? There may be some big changes for the betterment of the swap next year so keep an eye out on announcements.

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