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Bikes abound: A day at the Chief Blackhawk Antique Motorcycle Swap Meet


This weekend, Thursday through Sunday, is the 42nd Annual Chief Blackhawk Antique Motorcycle Club Show at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport. Two honorary Little Village correspondents and myself had the chance to go down on their opening day, as we try to do every year, and check out the scene. There are hundreds of antique and custom motorcycles, wild vintage ephemera and motorcycle fans of all kinds at the show and we snapped a few photos to give you a glimpse of this awesome world. Full disclosure and bragging rights: I ride a 1975 Honda CB550F Super Sport, although it only runs half the time.

Photos by Brendan Spengler and Jensina Endresen

Edwards and Chastain admire a mid 40s custom Indian bike.
Jensina Endresen and Lindsay Chastain admire a mid ’40s custom Indian bike.
Safety first, but also, no laws! (The state of Iowa doesn't have helmet laws). Edwards models a vintage helmet and goggles.
Safety first, but also, no laws! (The state of Iowa doesn’t have helmet laws). Endresen models a vintage helmet and goggles.
Mike Wolfe, from The History Channel's <em>American Pickers</em>, attempts to start a '41 Harley Davidson Knucklehead that was found in a barn in Wilmington, Ohio. The <em>American Pickers</em> antique shop is in Le Claire, Iowa.
Mike Wolfe, from The History Channel’s American Pickers, attempts to start a ’41 Harley Davidson Knucklehead that was found in a barn in Wilmington, Ohio. The American Pickers antique shop is in Le Claire, Iowa.
An awkwardly posed shot with Wolfe (notice who he chose to put his arm around!). He also invited our band to check out the stage in his new store, Antique Archaeology, in Nashville, Tennessee during our next tour of the south.
An awkwardly posed shot with Wolfe (notice who he chose to put his arm around!). He also invited our band to check out the stage in his new store, Antique Archaeology, in Nashville, Tennessee during our next tour of the south.
A former cycle racer and motorcycle restorer shows off his 1928 Harley Desert Racer which was actually raced through the '40s, '50s and '60s.
A former cycle racer and motorcycle restorer shows off his 1928 Harley Desert Racer which was actually raced through the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.
The theme of this year's meet was scooters and mini-bikes. Not as good as last year's: Vintage Harley Sportsters, but there was still hundreds of incredible bikes. You see a lot of University of Iowa students zipping around town on their mopeds, but none quite like this.
The theme of this year’s meet was scooters and mini-bikes. Not as good as last year’s: Vintage Harley Sportsters, but there was still hundreds of incredible bikes. You see a lot of University of Iowa students zipping around town on their mopeds, but none quite like this.
The Japanese definitely have their own style when it comes to bike culture. This motorcycle crew came all the way from Tokyo for the show.
This Japanese definitely have their own style when it comes to bike culture. This motorcycle crew came all the way from Tokyo for the show.
Motorcycle customization could really be considered an esoteric art form. There are goofier custom jobs out there, but the cooler bikes end up with horns, skulls, leather, wings and even weirder forms of outlaw biker culture.
Motorcycle customization could really be considered an esoteric art form. There are goofier custom jobs out there, but the cooler bikes end up with horns, skulls, leather, wings and even weirder forms of outlaw biker culture.
Lindsay's mind is blown as she discovers the same model 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide that Marianne Faithfull rode in the 1968 classic biker flick Girl On A Motorcyle.
Chastain’s mind is blown as she discovers the same model 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide that Marianne Faithfull rode in the 1968 classic biker flick Girl On A Motorcyle.
On older bikes, ca. 1900 or so, you tend to see headlamps powered by acetylene tanks, which you would have to manually light. That seems safe, right?
On older bikes, ca. 1900 or so, you tend to see headlamps powered by acetylene tanks, which you would have to manually light. That seems safe, right?
Bikes as far as the eye can see, and rare ones at that, as you can see the vintage BSA racer in the front.
Bikes as far as the eye can see, and rare ones at that, as you can see the vintage BSA racer in the front.
No bikes this year, but we did find an original print of The Cycle Savages movie poster, starring Bruce Dern, one of my favorites!
No bikes this year, but we did pick up an original print of The Cycle Savages movie poster, starring Bruce Dern, one of my favorites!

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