By Brett McKay
A popular event that gives cyclists a chance to buy and sell bikes without the hassles of online marketplaces is returning to Edmonton, this time with plans to include children's bikes, too.
Alberta Bike Swap will be at the MacEwan University's 107 Street parkade on May 14 from 8am to 2pm for consignors, 2:30pm to 4pm for buyers, and throughout the day for donors. The swap is accepting children's bikes on consignment for the first time this year.
"We have a huge need for people and children to become active," co-founder Laura Grant told Taproot. "We've been asked for years about whether we would put children's bikes on or not. This year, we thought, 'You know what? Let's help more families.'"
"We've always donated about five times what we take in back to the community to fund other cycling-related non-profits," Grant said. "In 2019, in our last event we put on, we donated almost $29,000 in bikes and in-kind back to the community."
COVID restrictions put the bike swap on hold for two years, at a time when demand for bikes was surging. High demand and supply chain slowdowns led to a global bike shortage that is expected to continue, causing delays for bike shops and sending more people looking online for a quality used model.
Two sketchy experiences with online marketplaces in Calgary led Grant and her husband, Chris, to start the swap. In one case, the would-be buyer showed little interest in Chris's rebuilt bike and returned later to rob their garage. In the other, Laura went with a friend to look at a full carbon road bike and found it being sold from an unfurnished basement suite for a fraction of what it was worth. (No, she didn't buy it.)
"We need to create a safe space to buy and sell bikes," Grant remembers telling her husband. "And use that money to fund safe cycling in the province."