Bike Swap Booming Again

Updated: 04/26/2014 10:40 PM
Created: 04/26/2014 6:47 PM
By: Travis Dill

After eight years the annual Bike Swap at Continental Ski and Bike burst onto First Street with local vendors getting in on the action.

“You can see from the activity around me that there is a lot of turnout here today. We had over 400 bikes under the tent when the gun went off at 10 o'clock this morning, and you can see that we're moving a lot of bikes,” William Howard said.

Howard, the owner of Continental Ski and Bike, said over 300 bikes sold on Saturday setting a new record for the event. A portion of each sale goes to the United Way and Howard said the event raised nearly $12,000 last year.

But the Bike Swap is more than just a fundraiser.

“It's not just the United Way. It's important to me to give people an opportunity to buy a bicycle that's affordably priced, and I like seeing people get back on their bikes,” Howard said.

That mentality got whole families pedaling. Crystal Phillips got her son a bike and one for herself along with a pull behind carriage for her toddler.

“I was surprised how the new stuff cost so much money, and we'd never be able to afford it as a family of six basically so it's kind of nice to be able to get stuff for the kids and be able to go and do things like that in the summer time,” Crystal Phillips said.

The event also helps kids like Hayden Kappenman keep up with their friends with a great deal on two wheeled freedom.

“Well it felt great for me because I've been looking for a bike, and all my friends they've been riding bikes without me so I was kind of let down,” Kappenman said.

This was the first year the Bike Swap closed down a block of First Street allowing vendors like Mrs. Delicious to take part. It was hard to sell ice cream on such a chilly day, but owner Stacy Achterhoff said it was great to meet new customers.

“I think of myself as a business for Duluthians, not necessarily a tourism business, so it's fun to be out with my neighbors,” Achterhoff said.

The Bike Swap might be the best place to get a deal on a new set of wheels while helping support the community. The event continues on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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