July 24th, 2024

Alberta Bike Swap on the road again


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on May 3, 2022.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Cecelia Kambeitz rides out of the Alberta Bike Swap with a new-to-her Kona mountain bike at Exhibition Park on Saturday.

Alberta Bike Swap returned to Lethbridge’s Exhibition Park on Saturday to take donated bikes and sell others for people who were looking for a sale.
Chris and Laura Grant founded the event known as the Calgary Bike Swap in 2011 and thought it was a great concept and they incorporated the Alberta Bike Swap. Lethbridge was the third city the event took on behind Calgary and Edmonton.
“We feel a bigger part of the picture, the story, is that we’re giving people a good place, a safe place to buy and sell good used bikes,” said Chris.
“We heard it a few times, ‘Yeah, I could sell this bike online for more, but I don’t want to deal with the hassle.’ And when you buy a bike through us, we’ve tech checked it to make sure it’s safe to buy. Yes, it might need a tune-up to be 100 tip-top per cent – but it is safe to ride. I was heartbroken, some of the bikes I had to turn away today that weren’t fair to sell to somebody because they would have had to spend another $100- $150 to make it work right.”
A Swap-qualified bike is the wheels have to be round and true, tires have to be in good shape, the bearings can’t be worn out and safe breaks.
“People should understand, although it is a used bike sale, we will help somebody if there is a problem; something we should have caught,” said Chris.
In the past, there were between 150 and 160 bikes and that number was much lower in 2022.
“They’re looking better today,” he said, on the bike racks.
“We have worked with some of the shops in the past and a few of them understand us and a few of them will participate. But I got thinking about it -the shop brings in 30 bikes, that fills up the racks nicely. But if only 10 of them sell which is I think about the track record, that doesn’t really help.”
There was a good variety of bikes, from $150 no suspension bikes up to the higher-end carbon fibre road bikes that had a price tag of $1,800 and kids’ bikes available for purchase.
Organizers coach the sellers how to price their bikes.
“We have a lot of plain regular bikes that are easy to price to sell,” he said.
“We have on occasion had speciality bikes – we have some of the high-end carbon road bikes. But those sellers, they know what’s reasonable for it and I really work hard to coach people to get to a point where it’s going to sell.”
People had the option to donate their bikes that would be given to one of the Swap’s partners.
“There’s always been a donation component to our events,” said Chris. “People bring us bikes that aren’t good enough to get in the Swap and plus are straight up donation. And we’re really fortunate to have the strong relationship with a group called Youth En Route – teaching high school students how to plan their route to school, how do ride, safety- and that is happening at Winston Churchill High School.”

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