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Go By Bike Week bike swap event helps lower barrier to entry for bike commuting

Donation bikes can be dropped off next week, sale on June 4
Linda Nagle hands out some Go By Bike Week swag to Lindsay and Michael Ness, with their kids Oliver and Della during last spring’s Go By Bike Week event. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror

While commuting by bike is often seen as a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly way of getting around than driving, the cost of buying a bike can still be a barrier to entry to many people.

That’s why for this year’s Go by Bike Week, the organizers have partnered with Spirit Square to put on a bike swap event on June 4.

The idea is that there are plenty people who have functional bikes in their garages or sheds that are going unridden, and could be made useful by somebody else.

“I have two small kids and they grow out of bikes all the time. It’s constant, we’ve got tons in our garage and some I’d like to get rid of and I know some other communities have done this before,” said Spirit Square manager and programmer Lucas Schuller. “There’s a lot of really functional bikes that people throw aside or have sitting in their shed. They’re not necessarily super valuable other than they’d be valuable to somebody who would want to ride them.”

It works like this: people with bikes to donate can come down on either Friday (June 3) from 4-6 p.m. or Saturday (June 4) from 9 a.m. to noon. The bikes get marked into inventory, and donors will get a voucher for half the value of their donation bike so they can come back in the afternoon. The sale itself opens on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. All proceeds will be going to Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, which will be taking any bikes leftover after the sale to either recycle or sell in the ReStore.

“It turns out to be donations to Habitat essentially, there’s no cash going back to anybody or any potential market for stolen bikes or anything like that,” Schuller said.

Schuller wanted to make the event as simple as possible, so there’s no complicated consignment amounts or anything like that. Kids bikes will be priced up to $30 depending on their size and condition. Adult bikes will be $60, and those bikes that are worth a bit more will be sold for $100.

Schuller hopes that the event will give some people the chance to get over that barrier to entry.

“The demand for repair shops is way backed up, just doing maintenance for people the demand has gotten really very much upwards in the last couple of years, in addition to any supply chain issues,” he said. “It can be a barrier even for people who have a bike to get it road worthy.”

There will also be a GoByBike celebration station, and e-bike demos from E-Kruise.

At the same time, the Vancouver Island Library Campbell River branch will be hosting a maker-space station to give kids the chance to decorate their new rides.

Schuller will be also encouraging people to ride to Spirit Square whenever possible this summer.

“It’s definitely something that we need to improve in terms of helping people get to the downtown core,” he said. “I think there’ll be more appetite to make those changes if people are showing the need for it. There’s going to be a number of opportunities and we’ll be encouraging people to ride downtown as much as they can.”

More Go By Bike Week details will be posted on the Mirror website soon.

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