The Subaru VeloSwap is an annual event that even armored car drivers now fear. It’s when the ATM machines at the National Western Complex in Denver are emptied by cycling enthusiasts for this mammoth bicycle swap and expo, now in its 27th year. Every year attendees drain some $175,000 cash from ATMs on-site to snap up deals from the hundreds of vendors selling every imaginable bike, parts, accessories and clothing.
Need a vintage-condition, still-in-the-box Campagnolo Gran Sport derailleur circa 1979? Or a new Litespeed? Or a barely used 6 inch travel downhill bike? These are what an estimated 10,000 attendees are in the hunt for.
Subaru VeloSwap started in 1989 by VeloNews art director Dan Wildhirt because he and his friends had to get rid of extra bike stuff at the end of the season. That inaugural event was held outdoors at a Boulder cyclo-cross race. Over the next few years it became apparent that the swap had outgrown all possible venues in Boulder, so the event moved to nearby Denver, where it found a home at the sprawling National Western Complex, famous for rodeos and stock shows. Subaru VeloSwap has developed into the world’s largest single-day consumer bike show and swap, taking up more than 140,000 square feet.
The show quickly became known as the place to find killer deals and where you could buy a race bike from Tyler Hamilton himself. Racers would blow out barely used $5,000 race bikes for $600. Brand new Vittoria CX sew-ups went for the 1975 price of $12 each. And if you wanted to find a vintage De Rosa frameset, The Subaru VeloSwap was the hotspot for collectors. Bike shops also used the season-ending event to flush-out dead inventory that they didn’t want to carry over the winter.
Because those first in line found the best deals, people began lining up before dawn, sometimes even backing up onto the nearby freeway, just to get into the event, which opened at 9 a.m.
- The Subaru VeloSwap is one of the biggest, most popular cycling events in America.
- The Subaru VeloSwap is the world’s largest consumer bicycle expo.
- The event attracts more than 12,000 attendees, in addition to the 600+ vendors.
- The excitement is HUGE … the energy HIGH … the vibe OUTSTANDING.