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Third annual Bike Swap this weekend

Thu., April 10, 2014

The first Spokane Bike Swap was patterned after the area’s ski swaps. (Jesse Tinsley)
The first Spokane Bike Swap was patterned after the area’s ski swaps. (Jesse Tinsley)

LeAnn Yamamoto initiated the Spokane Bike Swap as a means to encourage people to ride their bikes to work.

The fact that the swap can bring families together only adds to its charm.

The third annual event, which is advertised as a “one-stop shop to sell your bike, upgrade your bike and buy new or used bicycles and accessories,” promises to outdo the first two. Fifty-eight exhibitors have signed on – 16 more than last year – and sponsorships have grown from 22 to 35.

But Yamamoto, the event director, also focuses on smaller numbers, such as the mother who couldn’t purchase a bike for her and her 12-year-old son until they attended the Spokane Bike Swap.

“It was all because the bikes were affordable that she could find something for her and her son,” said Yamamoto, who works for the Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction Office.

Yamamoto devised a smaller bike swap in 2010, but survey results convinced her that people wanted a bigger event, similar to the Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol Ski Swap.

The first official Spokane Bike Swap, in 2012, took 1 1/2 years to plan.

“Our biggest issue was funding,” Yamamoto said. “We approached a whole bunch of nonprofits to become our partner and got Friends of the Centennial Trail.”

The bike swap raised $10,000 for Friends of the Centennial Trail the first season and doubled that in 2013.

“Our goal this year is $25,000, but I think we’ll surpass that,” Yamamoto said.

“It’s really our only event fundraiser for the year,” Friends of the Centennial Trail executive director Loreen McFaul said. “It’s very exciting to see the exhibitors that have come forward. … The bike corral (at the swap) is like a big, huge garage sale for bikes.”

McFaul said her group’s Trail Builder’s Fund has earmarked $20,000 that will assist with a 1.7-mile extension of the trail in the Nine Mile Recreation Area, to be completed next summer.

The bike swap attracted 2,300 adults last year, an increase of about 300 from 2012. Yamamoto said 600 bikes were consigned last year and 450 were sold.

New wrinkles at the swap this year include flat-tire races, bike maintenance classes and free helmets for every kids bike purchased.

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