The Big Event is coming again. This should more aptly be called the Ferioli Event, since Eric (or Bicycle Bozo as he likes to be called) probably supplies about half of the merchandise. Little do the unwary public realize that most of Eric's gems had until a recently been languishing in the Wellesley dump.
There's a definite mystique to the Big Event. To the uninitiated, it looks like a collection of obscure obsolete parts that no one would want. The amazing thing is there's a definite group that loves this stuff. Things that most of the younger club members would not be able to identify, are regarded as treasures by the old guard. So these retro connoisseurs end up unloading some of their useless junk (or what would appear so the great unwashed), replacing it with different useless junk, and going away quite pleased. That is the beauty of the Big Event. They say matter is neither created nor destroyed, it just changes form. At the Big Event, bike parts are neither created nor destroyed, they just change hands. Long time aficionados of the Big Event will recognize things they saw two, maybe four years ago there (much of this stuff is not exactly a hot ticket item). In fact, they may find things they SOLD there looking for a new home.
I've personally done well at the Big Event over the years. I've got a pair of cycling shoes that I paid $5 for about six years (or three Big Events) ago that are my primary winter commuting shoes. Last time I scored big -- I got a bag of used Look cleats for $10. Of course, in the entire time I've had Look pedals, I think I've only replaced one cleat, and that was because it had developed the annoying habit of breaking loose while I was standing on a climb.
There was a period when I would acquire a new (used) commuting bike there every two years, which coincided pretty well with how long it took me to trash the last one (I'm hard on equipment). Lately, I've been going after frames, since I seem to have a lifetime supply of old components looking for somewhere to hang themselves. When you have thirteen bikes, it's much easier justifying buying another frame than another bike. "Well, I really need a late fall commuting bike with streamers," just doesn't cut it. Of course, once the frame enters my garage, parts seem to attach themselves to it, and, voila, another bike rises from its ashes.
I've really can't afford a negative balance of trade this year, or we'd have to move the car out of the garage. So, this year my motto is: sell, sell, sell.