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Does your kid need a bigger bike? Bike Works’ 16th Annual Kids Bike Swap is Saturday

The 2011 Kids Bike Swap

Kids love bikes, maybe even more than I do (and I like bikes a lot). But there’s one big problem they have that I don’t: Kids grow.

Riding a bike that is not the right size can be uncomfortable or even dangerous. But buying a new bike every couple years is expensive, and many families simply cannot afford to keep up. That’s where the Bike Works Kids Bike Swap comes in.

Volunteers have been working (and honing their bike fixing skills) for the past year to get donated bikes back into good working condition, all for this day. Kids can trade their old bikes for credit toward a “new” ride that better fits their bodies and their styles. Typically, kids can ride away for under $20, including a free helmet from Seattle Children’s.


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Kids also learn all about community and sharing as their old, loved bikes go into a corral to wait for another, smaller child to fall in love with it all over again. There are some tears as kids say goodbye to their rides, but mostly there are smiles as hundreds of kids get new bikes all on the same day. (See our coverage from last year’s Kids Bike Swap)

There are some changes to the format this year: There will be no more long lines! Instead, people show up, drop off their trade-in bike and get a number. There will be entertainment throughout the day, so people waiting to get a new ride can hang out and listen to live music or get balloon animals and more. This also means that people who don’t need a new bike (or older folks without kids) can still come by and enjoy the festivities.

From Bike Works:

Bike Works will hold its annual Kids Bike Swap on Saturday, May 12th, 2012, from 10am – 4pm at Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118. This event is an opportunity for families to trade-in a bike their child has outgrown for a larger bike – just in time for the summer riding season! The Kid’s Bike Swap helps to facilitate the flow of affordable bicycles within the community and keeps fully functional bikes out of our local landfills.

How the Kids Bike Swap Works
Bike Works staff and volunteers have been hard at work all year refurbishing used bikes to bring to the Kids Bike Swap.   On the day of the event families can bring bikes that their children have outgrown and the bike is assigned a trade- in value.  Then the families can look through all the bikes we have fixed up and pick out a new bike and they can apply their trade-in value to the cost of their new bike.   (If the chosen bike’s value exceeds that of the trade-in value, the customer is responsible for the difference.) Typically, when a bike is swapped the customer is able to take home their newly refurbished ride for $20 or less.  Families looking to buy a bike, who do not have a bike to trade-in, are welcome to shop for a low-cost bike after 12 pm.

New this year: The Bike Works Community Festival
Join the hundreds of other families participating in the Kids Bike Swap! To make things even better, this year there’s no need to wait in line. Families can drop off their trade-in bike and enjoy all sorts of fun activities until their number is called. In addition to the Bike Swap and bike activities, all families are invited to join in the festival, with kid-friendly bands, balloon animals, gardening tips, food and much more! There will also be a Family Bike Expo, with examples of different bikes and trailers that help families to become car-free.  Admission is free and everyone is welcome at the festival, you don’t have to bring a bike to join in all the activities.

Entertainment Line Up
10 AM-11AM:   Rain City Rock Camp for Girls
11AM-12PM:  Smalltime Stringband
12PM – 1PM:  Jug Banditos
1PM- 2PM:  Squirrel Butter
2PM -3PM:  The Onlies
3PM – 4PM: Bubble Man

Free Helmets
Seattle Children’s Hospital will do helmet fittings and provide free bike helmets as well as education on bicycle helmet safety.

I will be volunteering during the afternoon, adjusting bike seats and helping with test rides. So say hi if you’re there after 1!


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3 responses to “Does your kid need a bigger bike? Bike Works’ 16th Annual Kids Bike Swap is Saturday”

  1. fatguyonabike

    Free helmets. Very cool!

  2. wave

    We went to the event and got a sweet new bike for my daughter, trading in her older smaller bike. I loved everything about it! Not only is it a great way to get a nice, slightly-used bike for really cheap, but it was a great community celebration of biking, of re-use, of just being out with other folks. A really great thing. I’d love to see this grow into a city-wide thing with similar events in West Seattle, Ballard, NE, Cap Hill, etc.

  3. […] that day, I volunteered at Bike Works’ 16th Annual Kids Bike Swap in Columbia City. Basically, the Kids Bike Swap is this incredible opportunity for families to […]

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