Free Cycles
BRONTË WITTPENN, Missoulian

Missoula’s first Bike Swap last year resulted in the sale of more than 250 bicycles and the recoveries of at least two stolen ones.

“One of them had been gone for six years,” said Jean Belangie-Nye, one of the organizers of this weekend’s second Bike Swap. “A person came in with a picture and her identification number on the bike. We were checking ID numbers and there it was.

“The poor guy bought it at a pawn shop four years ago and had made improvements on it.”

Bike and rightful owner were reunited, and the woman paid the man for the improvements.

Dropoff for this weekend’s Bike Swap is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Commercial Building at a busy Missoula County Fairgrounds, where college rodeo, adult hockey and an arts and crafts show are all going on.

The sale itself is Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., also in the Commercial Building.

The Bike Swap is the brainstorm of Bike Walk Alliance for Missoula and Free Cycles Missoula. Proceeds go toward promoting safer biking and walking in the Missoula area through advocacy and education.

Belangie-Nye said the Swap accepts anything bike-related except helmets, including used bikes, trikes, tandems, carts and parts.

Last year, when the event was at the University of Montana Adams Center, more than 250 bikes for all ages and needs switched hands. There were exercise bikes, dirt bikes, mountain bikes and banana-seat bikes from the 1970s. The most unusual were a triple tandem and a titanium frame racing bike. Prices ranged from $25 to $1,500.

The two bicycle advocacy organizations take 15 percent of the selling price. Last year roughly $35,000 worth of bikes and equipment switched hands. After expenses, Bike Walk Alliance and Free Cycles each made $1,470.

“We’d love to double that this year,” Belangie-Nye said.

For more information contact her at 406-370-1783 or check out bikewalkmissoula.org.

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Mineral County, Veterans Issues Reporter

Reporter for The Missoulian.