Awww, let’s leave the dry stuff for a minute.  This is serious business, but we’re also serious about our fun.  EVERYBODY asks – “so what happens at a bike swap?”  Here is the time lapse (9 hours into 2-1/2 minutes) that Nate put together.  Calgary Bike Swap 2014 – Time Lapse

Alberta Bike Swap Ltd. is a registered non-profit and funded out of a lint-lined pockets to get more people on bikes. We’re Chris and Laura and dozens of volunteers, who believe enough in building the cycling community enough to break a sweat putting on events like this.

We focus on adult bikes, while different groups, such as the BikeXchange at St. Cecilia in Calgary, do a great job of making sure kids are looked after.

Our goals:

  1. Give used bike sellers a safe and convenient venue for access to thousands of buyers
  2. Give used bike buyers access to hundreds of safe bikes in one visit
  3. Generate funds to support local safe cycling initiatives in Alberta

Our spin-offs:

  1. Provide MS Bike Tour and Ride To Conquer Cancer riders the opportunity to pick-up some sponsorship dollars
  2. Our set of bike racks for community and event use
  3. Direct bike donations to our friends at Good Life Community Bike, Two Wheel View, and Edmonton Bicycle Commuters
  4. NEW for 2014 – TEAM Alberta Bike Swap for the Airdrie to Olds to Airdrie MS Tour.  Team page HERE

What we learned:

If the measure of success is seeing the smile on someone’s face when they find their perfect bike, the bikes swaps are a resounding success. If the measure of success is to make money, then we’ve failed. We acknowledge that it will take time to recover the significant outlay of cash for racks, hall and truck rentals, banking fees, and expenses. We put our money where our wheels are, and will continue to donate half the profit to community cycling-based initiatives rather than define success by money only.

Bikes sold at the swap are safer than a garage sale purchase because our squad of volunteer bike techs, led by the Mechanahands, perform a basic safety and mechanical check of each bike.  If it’s not in the sale – there is something significant that would prevent the bike from being safely ridden away from the swap.  The issues we’ve had to deal with include a cracked frame.  Some good bikes with a minor issue will go into the sale with a descriptive tag.

We are geared toward name brand, adult oriented bikes.
There are thousands of new economy bikes available from a number of outlets, they are referred to as ‘bicycle shaped objects’, that are better to look at than to ride.  Unless they come to swap in brand new condition, they will not pass the safety check.
We record all the serial numbers, there is paper trail of ownership.  We strongly suggest the new owner register their purchased bike with the National bike registry.