Karel Blankenfeldt rides a 10-speed bike through the racks at a past bike swap event in Red Deer. Hosted by Alberta Bike Swap and the local Optimists Club of Red Deer, the swap brings together buyers and sellers under one roof to make bike transactions simpler and safer for all. Bike sellers have the option to donate any unused bikes to the Red Deer Optimists Club bike program, which will then be handed out to children and adults who wouldn’t otherwise be able to acquire a set of wheels. (Advocate file photo)

Annual bike swap in Red Deer set for May 12

Event organized by couple passionate about cycling

The popular Alberta Bike Swap — an annual event that draws hundreds — is back in Red Deer on May 12.

Laura and Chris Grant of Calgary founded the Alberta Bike Swap after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She had been in a coma and one of the first things she did when she awoke was get back on her bicycle. “Cycling has kept me healthy.”

The couple continue to have a passion for riding their bikes, and ride every day. They started out buying bikes at auctions, and fixing them up and then selling them just for the cost of the repairs, Laura said Monday.

Now the Alberta Bike Swap is in four other cities besides Red Deer — Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton. They have assisted other communities with setting up swaps elsewhere.

Laura said they wanted to create a safe place for people to buy and sell bikes, and also raise funds for charitable events. Last year they had a special evacuee event, where they gave bikes to people who had to flee Fort McMurray during the forest fire there.

The Red Deer event is hosted by Alberta Bike Swap and the local Optimists Club of Red Deer. Sellers have the option to donate any unused bikes to the Optimists’ bike program. They will then be handed out to children and adults who wouldn’t otherwise be able to acquire a set of wheels.

Alberta Bike Swap also partners with the Alberta Motor Association to help promote cycling safety. AMA members pay $10 to get into the event. Otherwise the cost is $15. $2 from admission for the first 300 people goes straight to the Optimists to fix the donated bikes.

Laura said their five swaps, which draw thousands of people overall, will take place over three weekends.

The Red Deer swap takes place in Salon B at Westerner Park with consignment from 4 to 7 p.m., with selling/buying from 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. If bikes don’t pass a tech check they can’t be sold.

Bikes can also be donated between 4 and 8:30 p.m.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

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