Here in the northeast, the two-wheeled season seems to go from dormant to action-packed in no time flat. It is as if the tightly wound coil represented by the lack of riding and shows in the winter, is unleashed like a suddenly freed shock absorber. It darts here and there in rapid succession, and you need to be on your toes in order to keep up. This past weekend was the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) swap meet at Oley, PA. It is one of several stops during the year for AMCA, but it coincides nicely with the awakening northeast. The show has all brands, but Harley-Davidson, Triumph, and Indian are usually well represented. Increasingly now, the Japanese makes have a greater presence.

The swap meet usually draws a big crowd of participants and shoppers, and this year was no different. Not being in the market for anything, meant that I could join friends and take a leisurely stroll through the field in contrast to the frenetic pace of the Hershey adventure the week before. Of course, not being in the market for anything is a dangerous state as I have noted before. As with many events, the parking lot can be as interesting as anything else. There were lots of Harleys, with many of them 50+ years old. Knuckleheads seemed particularly popular. There were also a lot more Indians than I tend to see with a mixture of Chiefs and Scouts, and even one of the North Carolina bikes. Of course, the rights to the Indian name now belong to Polaris, and production is moving to Iowa, so Indian will be giving it yet another attempt in a long saga of attempts at revival. Also present in the parking lot, were lots of more modern bikes and other brands including BMW, Guzzi, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Norton, Triumph, and a few touring Ducatis. It wasn’t a show, but it could have been.

The swap area is the kind of place that you could take many hours to get through if you like to browse old stuff (and I do). Unlike most swap meets that just feature parts with bikes off in a for sale area, Oley mixes things up. Many stalls/spaces had parts and a bike or 3 for sale. The parts were in conditions varying from NOS to “Hurry, we can watch the final disintegration of this part happening before our very eyes!”. Regardless of the condition, there were parts present commanding strong money. An $800 Indian primary cover with pitted chrome? Wow. The bikes varied between nut and bolt restorations to “The corn flakes I ate this morning had greater structural integrity!”. What I find interesting is that I always come across something that I have never seen (or possibly heard of) before at Oley. This year, it was an Alouette. Sounds French non? Non. It is a Canadian motorcycle with a Sachs engine produced during the 1970s. The interesting Alouette scrambler at the swapmeet ready for restoration, was an interesting project. For someone.

Also present were other interesting bikes. A nice running 1934 NSU, and several Excelsior Hendersons with their wonderful inline 4s were riding about. Everyone loves to watch exposed valves in action !! Not to be missed was a beautiful Nimbus with sidecar (actually, a few Nimbi<?> were in attendance), an Ariel Square Four with its signature exhaust layout, and a lovely Scott. I ended up spending $25 for a couple of old metal signs. However, whether you were looking for an obscure part, a project bike, or a finished bike, Oley was the place where those interested in doing spring cleaning could meet those interested in doing spring shopping.

6 Replies to “Only at Oley”

  1. Cool event, I was there on sat. Did you see the R90S in the for sale tent? Kind of pricey……

  2. Looks like oley is more harley than anything else still years later. I go 2 york now 4my vintage fix

  3. dear brokespoke,

    i saw the R90S. it was a pretty good example of a driver. Strong money, but that was the case all over Oley. cheers.

  4. dear tryumf,

    i've been to a york show aimed more at vintage dual sport and off road bikes. Oley is certainly more focused on american brands, but there was a good mix of all kinds of stuff. Wish i could make all the shows. cheers

  5. Dear Wayne:

    The time is going to come when I own a legitimate antique. I am waiting for the day when antique's are young enough to have electric starters… Reliable electric starters. And when that day comes, your blog will have been my inspiration to get one.

    Then I'll see you at places like Oley.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  6. Dear Jack, you were doing great until you added the word "reliable" to the electric start concept. That said, you will be pleased (or saddened) to note that a 1980 motorcycle is over 30 years old! Your flying brick is getting close ;-). Cheers.

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