Nobel Prize winner William Saroyan said, “The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.” The feeling of almost flying, enjoying the outdoors and the happiness of riding a bike is experienced among people of all ages and places when on two wheels. While bicycling is a fond childhood memory for some, many ride to gain physical health, escape life’s worries and get around town — all noble reasons to jump on the seat and hit the streets.
Whatever the motivation, Pierce Trips invites families, novice riders and those with experience to join in the free fun at the 12th Annual Bike Swap on Saturday, May 6, at the University of Puget Sound. The free, family and kid-focused event brings the welcoming community of Tacoma-Pierce County and bicyclists together in one place to share the love for cycling.
What to Expect at The Bike Swap
Whether you arrive by bike, on foot, by bus or by carpool, The Bike Swap will feature fun for all ages and stages of bike riding.
Need a bike or have one to sell? The Bike Corral is the place to find what you are looking for. With no listing or selling fees, find your new-to-you ride and buy local while reusing bikes that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Those selling more than one or two bikes and parts can register as a vendor for free. (Online vendor registration closes May 1 at 11:59 p.m.)
Were you looking to donate? You can donate unsold bikes and bike parts toBikes 4 Kids or Second Cycle at the event.
Are you interested in volunteering? Volunteers are needed to help with set-up, tear-down, check-in, , supervision of the kid’s skills riding area, directing traffic and staffing.
Downtown On the Go will offer low-cost helmets to keep riders safe. Purchase affordable helmets, or get yours properly fitted.
Don’t miss the Map Master’s station! Get the best biking routes from those in the know. With an upcoming revised map version with new trail networks, learn about the places perfect for your needs.
Kids will love the riding area set up just for them. Young riders can practice safety skills in a controlled environment before hitting the streets.
Find vendors with fun products, the latest and greatest information on cycling in Tacoma and Pierce County and learn more about the organizations related to bicycling. Also, stop by the Bike Inspection Station for general checks on the bike you are buying.
Hungry after all that bike fun? Grab a bite to eat at one of the delicious food trucks!
What The Bike Swap Means to Local Organizations
Recycle/Reuse Manager at Second Cycle Matt Newport is excited that the event is back after a few years of hiatus.
“We have really been at a turning point with the City of Tacoma in getting bike infrastructure adapted into our cityscape,” says Newport. “In order to boost ridership and encourage people to get out there, The Bike Swap is a way for people to come together and share resources and knowledge.”
With a mission to demystify and normalize bike riding as a part of daily life and realize the bicycle as a tool for personal and community empowerment, Second Cycle focuses on the accessibility of biking.
“It can be an expensive activity,” says Newport. “For some people, it’s transportation, and for others, it’s recreation and even health care. Events like this help keep things more affordable, and that’s a lot of what Second Cycle does too. Our mission is to try to lower the barrier of entry and encourage others to ride more. The Bike Swap brings the community together.”
The Bike Swap is for New and Experienced Riders
Bob Myrick, who does community and government relations with the Tacoma WA Bicycle Club, shares how the club has been a part of The Bike Swap since the beginning. “We’ve had a booth there every year,” says Myrick. “Even if you don’t have a bike to sell, there’s something for everyone.”
For those new to cycling, Tacoma’s Bicycle Club and The Bike Swap are fantastic ways to get introduced to the cycling world. “Over the years, we’ve been involved in advocating for the trail system in Tacoma and Pierce County,” shares Myrick. “We will be at The Bike Swap to direct people to our trail system, especially people with children. Parents who are interested in The Bike Swap, it’s a good place to show your children the world of bicycling.”
Myrick feels that bicycling is suitable for all types of people, citing a recent club ride with riders ranging in age from 25 to 85. He also sees cycling as connecting people who might otherwise not network with each other. One member who brings joy to the group is a man in his 20s with a developmental disability. “He knows the area’s history better than a teacher,” Myrick says. “He rides the bus to our events, goes on our ride and has lunch with us. He’s in a positive environment where he interacts with others.”
With the weather warming up, Myrick invites everyone to visit The Bike Swap and learn more about cycling in the Tacoma area. “It’s the season for bikes, and it’s an ideal time to have this event and to find accessories you may need, get a tune-up or safety check,” says Myrick. “It’s a nice positive experience for people. We’re pretty excited The Bike Swap is back. We treat it as a destination and encourage people to ride their bikes there, spend an hour or two and enjoy the ambiance.”
As a new Tacoma WA Bicycle Club member, Auburn’s Greg Thompson finds the group rides perfect for him. “My recent experiences with grief made me a bit of a recluse,” shares Thompson. “The bicycle community was the first community where you compete against someone, but they are willing to help you compete against them. I found that amazing.”
Thompson is also volunteering with The Bike Swap this year. “I feel like I need and want to give back, branch out and meet a new set of people,” he says. “This aligns with my passion and is an easy way to give something back.”
Beyond the community, Thompson’s health has improved with his cycling habit. “Riding bikes is the outdoor passion I can do all the time,” he says. “It’s made me a nut. At 66 years old and having 14 surgeries, I feel so lucky and grateful that my bike allows me the opportunity to roll around still. The bike has just been everything and will let me roll until I can’t roll anymore. And with volunteering, I’m so happy to tie it into my passion. I can’t be as physical as I used to be, but I love helping. I look forward to helping out at this event.”
Pierce County is excited to host the highly anticipated event. “The Bike Swap brings the Pierce County community together to connect with bicyclists and bicycling resources and an opportunity for the public to find bikes, gear and parts that are new to them,” says Pierce County’s Sustainable Transportation Coordinator Melodi Yanik. “It gives space to sell their bikes and gear and meet other people who like getting around on two wheels.”
It’s also an opportunity for Pierce County to interact with the community and receive feedback on what people would like to see, what events would encourage them to ride more, and routes they like to take to better shape the region’s comprehensive plans.
“The hope is to increase the reach for all types of riders,” says Yanik. “Besides standard two-wheel bikes, we’d like to include E-bikes, cargo bikes for families or folks who want to carry stuff around, and adaptive bikes for people with different abilities. Bicycling is for everybody.”
The Bike Swap is on Saturday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Puget Sound’s Thompson Hall parking lot on North Union Avenue and North 14th Street. Bring the family for this free, fun event and find a welcoming community of bicyclists ready to share their knowledge.