For the second year in a row, the Cheap Thrills show in Asbury Park, NJ, proved that you can have a good time in the dead of winter, even on the coldest of northeast February days….and I mean cold. Although this was only the second year for the event, there was an amazing turnout. Clearly, it was a perfect opportunity to get out of the shop, catch up with old buds, and dream about some warm-weather riding.
The show and swapmeet were set in the historic Asbury Park Convention Hall located right on the beach. The hall, with the boardwalk practically running right through it, featured about 60 invited builder bikes, while the adjacent concert hall housed the swap meet and vendor area. The swap and vendor area drew an overwhelming crowd. Just about every chopper brand, vendor, and artist had some kind of representation. Between the vendors, tattoo artists, and swap participants, the place was packed most of the day. On top of that, the recently refurbished Paramount Theatre ran selections from the Motorcycle Film Festival.
The building itself is an incredible space. The fact that the boardwalk runs right through it provided an excellent assortment of locals checking out the bike show, in addition to the huge turnout of builders and followers from all over. (Side note, across the street from the convention hall is the famous Stone Pony, for all you Springsteen groupies.) With so much to see and so many to catch up with, the day went by quickly. After things settled down at the convention hall, everyone grabbed some food, rested up, and headed to The Saint to hear some rowdy rock n’ roll with Joseph West, The Lematts, The Cruel King & The Wedge.
With such an amazing turnout in only the second year, the organizers plan on more space for swap vendors, in addition to more bikes for the show for next year. If the followers of the event are any indication, there is plenty of material out there. Next year’s Cheap Thrills will be held on February 3rd, 2018. The first weekend of February seems to be an ideal time for a show like this, so it’s a safe bet to leave that weekend open on your calendar. Organizers want this to be THE staple winter bike event on the east coast and they are off to a great start.
Huge thanks to Dusty Kenyon, Rich Gohlinghorst, and Walter Gemeinhardt for putting together such a great show and getting all of us out of the cold, dark garages, and shops for an amazing chopper weekend at the beach!
Follow Cheap Thrills on Instagram and check out their website to get involved!
-Daniel Venditto / @dv8sport