Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane Bike Swap returns to fairgrounds this weekend

The Bicycle Butler, in North Spokane, will be bringing electric bikes to their booth at the 12th annual Bike Swap on Saturday, April 20, at the Spokane County Fair & Expo. Here the shop head mechanic rolls a new bike from the store front to the shop, Tuesday, April 16, 2024.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Cycling enthusiasts, weekend trail riders and toddlers on tricycles will have the chance to swap their used equipment for something new to them this weekend at the 12th annual Spokane Bike Swap and Expo.

Spokane County’s premiere cycling bonanza will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. Hundreds of new and used bikes will be available for purchase, alongside more than 40 vendors offering helmets, wheels, jerseys and other gear and accessories.

New to the event this year will be a BMX show from Spokane’s Matt “The Teach” Orlob, a former flatland freestyle professional rider. BMX Spokane will also be in attendance and will provide demonstrations of their practice gates throughout the day in the education and entertainment area, swap organizer LeAnn Yamamoto said.

Yamamoto said she expects a large turnout this year. Cycling has increased in popularity over the past decade, and swap attendance has matched pace. The swap draws thousands of people each year.

The COVID-19 pandemic, when cycling was one of few recreational activities available, helped boost its popularity even more, Yamamoto said.

“It’s quite the milestone to have an event that long, so it is nice,” Yamamoto said. “Especially through COVID too; we only had to cancel one event.”

Community members looking to offload a bike can register it for sale online ahead of the event at for a $5 fee, Yamamoto said. The check-in for registered bikes will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the fairgrounds.

In addition to used bikes from community members, newer models will be available for purchase from some cycling shops in the area. Between 600 and 700 bikes are on hand each year, but that number has been steadily climbing since the event’s inception.

Yamamoto credits cycling’s popularity in the region, as well as the several courses, trails and resorts in the area where Spokane riders can go, for the uptick.

“We’ve just grown year after year,” Yamamoto said. “We have so many trails and things where people can ride. I do think it’s becoming more and more popular.”

Yamamoto serves as the transportation demand manager for the county’s commute reduction program Commute Smart Northwest, and founded the swap more than a decade ago as a way to help employers in the region promote cycling as a way to get to work. She’s an avid cyclist and said she saw a need for an event where Spokane community members could learn more about the sport and find the gear right for them.

“It really serves as a way to just get people thinking about it more,” Yamamoto said. “Anything and everything about bicycles is there, so people can come and learn, they can shop around, they can sell if they’re interested.”

Employers, commuters and cyclists are not the only ones to benefit from the swap and its mission; 10% of all proceeds are funneled back into the community through a grant program overseen by the Spokane Bike Swap & Expo, which has been a registered nonprofit since 2019. More than $250,000 have been raised since its inception in 2012.

Yamamoto said the event also caters to those ready to take their first rides. Children 12 years old and under receive free admission, and there will be a wide selection of tricycles, strider bikes and kid-sized mountain and road bikes available. Admission for those older than 12 will cost $7.

Educating parents and early riders about how to ride safely is a priority for the organizers, she added. Any child younger than 14 who purchase a bike will be given a free helmet fitted to the right size.

Jon Amend, manager for The Bike Hub, said he looks forward to the event each year. He said it’s great for the community and serves as an opportunity to connect with new customers. A number of bikes picked out at the swap each year end up at one of the shop’s locations for tuneups before their new owners are ready to hit the road.

The Bike Hub will have some bikes available for purchase in the corral, but less than they have in years past, Amend said. He expects to see bikes of all shapes and sizes for sale, including a handful of gravel bikes, which have risen in popularity in recent years.

Gravel bikes straddle the line between mountain and road bikes, allowing for use on a variety of surfaces and trails. Amend said they’re a great option for Spokane riders.

“With the condition of Spokane roads, and the Palouse and other rides nearby, we have a lot of people who have been road riders for years switching to gravel bikes,” Amend said.

Bicycle Butler co-owner Kathy Arnold said they plan to bring some e-bikes to the event, another variation of the classic bicycle that’s rising in popularity. The shop will have a booth for anyone interested in learning more about the sport or looking to find a spot in town for year-round maintenance.

“We’ve definitely seen more electric bikes come through,” Yamamoto said. “And lots of people are interested in them, too.”

Yamamoto said she’s excited to open the doors Saturday and welcome attendees. While the event has grown and evolved over the years, her passion for helping others find the right resources, local rides and a sense of community has remained the same.

“The one thing I like the most about it is we start out with an empty building and by Saturday it’s full of people,” Yamamoto said. “Just to see people smiling, walking away with a bike is amazing.”