calgarybikeswap's picture

Calgary Bike Swap

Alberta Bike Swap was incorporated as a non- profit with the cycling-oriented mandate to support sustainable transportation, health and recreation. Our swap provides a safe venue to buy and / or sell a ready-to-ride bike.  We hold a one day bike swap in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge.  As long time riders, we fund the event out of pocket, just to do the right thing, and get more people on bikes.  

If a person is trying to sell a bike online, they are competing with at least 2000 sellers. If a person is looking to buy a bike online, not every bike is as advertised, nor does the buyer know if the bike is owned by that person selling that bike. If a buyer isn’t mechanically savvy, they don’t know if the bike is safe.

We realize our vision of ready-to-ride bikes through a technical check before that bike is accepted into the sale. All serial numbers are recorded, which provides an effective measure to keep stolen property out of the swap. The focus is on adult bikes, since there are several local initiatives for kids’ bikes.

Keeping the swap a local community event we donate 50% of the profit from the swaps into local community cycling initiatives. All bikes not sold are returned to the owner if requested, or donated to Good Life Community bikes in Calgary, or Edmonton Bicycle Commuters in Edmonton. The swap is funded out of pocket by founders, Chris and Laura, who put our money where our wheels are. The MS Society, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and the Heart & Stroke Fund participate in the bike swaps. We also pledge $20.00 to any cyclist that brings a bike to sell at the swap for the Ride to Conquer Cancer or any of the MS Bike Tours.

We choose to work co-operatively with bike shops and cycling groups. We visited every bike shop in Calgary and Edmonton with an invitation to participate. We traded rack fees for draw prizes, and gave shops a reduced consignment fee on whatever sold. The shops that participate are very supportive. A lot of people cannot buy a bike from their shop until they sell the one they’re trading up to. Any person that has spent over $100 from a participating shop gets a reduced racking fee. We also provide tables for cycling groups at the bike swaps.  BikeCalgary, the MS Society, Ride to Conquer Cancer, and Cyclepalooza are four of twelve tables booked at Calgary bike swap. 

If the measure of success is seeing the smile on someone’s face when they find their perfect bike, the swap will be a resounding success. If the measure of success is to make money, then we fail. We acknowledge that it will take time to recover the significant outlay of cash for racks, hall and truck rentals, banking fees, and expenses. We put our money where our wheels are, and will continue to donate half the profit to our community, rather than define success by money only.

Due to an unexpected snow dump last year, we inadvertently held two bikes swaps and still had over 2500 participants. Calgary Bike Swap 2012 is back for its’ third bike swap and year two, and will be held on May 5 at Shouldice Arena. Calgary Bike Swap will be the first weekend in May, every year from now on. This venue is just off the pathway, accessible by bus, has lots of parking, and is open for a number of new attractions designed to improve the value of the experience for participants. Watch our Calgary Bike Swap Facebook page for updates, Contact us at [email protected] to get involved.  

Consignment for sellers, please see website for details.  $2.00 entrance fee for buyers.  

May 5, Shouldice Arena, 1515 Home Road NW


Saturday, May 5, 2012 - 08:00 to 16:00


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RichieRich's picture

Bikeswap copy-n-paste

You ok with me copy'n'pastin' this to my companies internal classifieds?

calgarybikeswap's picture

@ RichieRich - Please do

Feel free to copy the logo.  if you want a logo with the website, shoot me a note through, and I'll send you our logo.

We support local, and found a graphic designer for our logo.  He's through Arusha/Calgary Dollars, and we are so happy with his work.  

RichieRich's picture

Busy Day

I got there about 1132am to consign my previously-enjoyed "project road bike"... after navigating the chaos outside that resulted from another event in the parking lot (recycle day) that restricted vehicular access.  Nonetheless, my bike was quickly processed and au revoir to memories.  I debated joining the line which was at that time just outside the building door... in the pouring rain, figured I'd sit in the car for 15mins then come join. Well... the lineup had tripled by the time I got back, and after 15mins in the line I got inside for the sale portion.  Between opening time at 12noon and me getting in about 1220'ish... at least 50-60% of the bikes had owners!!  wow!  By 115pm I'd say about 90% of the bikes were gone... and relocated to become part of the huge around-the-arena lineup for payment.  I found a few steals on parts myself.  Spent more than I'd consigned my bike for!  (can't say no to new unused XTR & Ritchy WCS equipment). 


At this time... I honestly don't know if my bike sold.  I assume it did - no phonecalls or emails, no way of checking, other than driving down again to take a look.  This "system" needs to be remedied next year.

Lots of positives though... I'll take the kids next year, and advertise to friends/family.  Some AMAZING deals there!!


calgarybikeswap's picture


So glad you liked the swap!  We got the venue at Shouldice in September, and worked for months at making it a positive event.  We only learned about the recycle event on Thursday night, and confess to not having slept much with worry about traffic volume and respect between both events. We really tried to work cooperatively, and really appreciate the signage that MCA put out.  

I wondered if people worried about whether the cheque would be in the mail.  I designed the paperwork, but I'm always up for improvement ideas, email me please.  I put boxes on the agreement to sell that if you wanted to pick your bike up, we would call you.  If you didn't get a call, the cheque is in the mail.  I too would wonder.  I might shoot people a note if they left an email.  Feedback, please.

You saw how crazy busy it was, we had plans that went awry with the busyness.  One great volunteer Robert F, thought it would be great to have a time lapse of the event so people could see how it all unfolds.  I think we'll do that next year, since I doubt we'll have time to get that ready for next weekend's swap in Edmonton.  

How many people were in line-up?  How many people did you think were at the swap.  We've had numbers ranging from 300-3000.  I have no idea, it was a blur.  ~L