Laura and Chris Grant, the founders of Alberta Bike Swap, aren’t in it for the money. The Calgary couple is simply passionate for safe cycling, and their registered nonprofit has turned the hassle of trying to buy or sell a used bicycle online into a fun event that helps make cycling safe and accessible for everyone.
At the five annual Alberta Bike Swap events held in April and May around the province, people safely buy and sell adult bicycles without the danger of meeting strangers online, or worrying about the handlebars falling off the first time you pedal around a corner.
What Happens at a Bike Swap
To start, you’re not actually ‘swapping’ your bike. But many people do come to both buy and sell bikes. A day at a swap looks something like this:
- All morning, people selling their bikes bring them in, where the volunteers make sure your bike passes a mechanical inspection, record the serial number, and take down your information. The owner sets the price, but the volunteers help you make sure that the price is fair.
- Sellers pay a $15 racking fee, but if you show your AMA card you save $5
- After a quick lunch break, the doors open and buyers enter the swap. The lineups tend to start early and there are usually 10-15 buyers for every bike on the rack.
- Within a couple of hours, the racks are empty. 95% of bikes brought in find a new home, but if any bikes didn’t sell, the owners are called to come bring their rides home.
After the sale is done, and Chris and Laura have a chance to catch their breath, they go through the bills of sale and mail the cheques to the sellers.
Supporting Safer Cycling
At the end of the swap season, once truck rentals, volunteer lunches, and other costs are paid, the money made at Alberta Bike Swap events is invested in safe cycling initiatives through partnerships with local cycling advocacy groups, municipalities, and provincial organizations.
If you’re selling a bike at the swap, you can also bring in your pledge form for your Ride to Conquer Cancer or MS Bike Tour and Chris and Laura Grant will donate $50 to your ride.