8th annual bike swap in Duluth has hundreds lining up for best deal

By KBJR News 1

April 26, 2014 Updated Apr 26, 2014 at 8:14 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The line started forming outside Continental Ski and Bike around 7 AM Saturday.

By 9:30, over 100 people had filled the blocked off street in front of the shop, waiting to get their hands on a new bike for the summer.

"We started the day with 400 for sale," said Continental Ski and Bike owner William Howard, "and we're moving them out as fast as people come in."

The event has grown from its humble beginnings 8 years ago when just 50 bikes were moved throughout the weekend.

But every sale and swap throughout the years adds up for the United Way, as the event also acts as a fundraiser for the non–profit organization.

With every sale, 75% of it goes to the former owner, and 25% goes to the United Way.

"Last year we wrote a check to the United Way for $12,000," added Howard. This year, Howard says the goal is $15,000, "and I think we have enough bicycles here to do that."

New this year to the swap is the chance to demo your next ride along a closed–off section of First Street in front of the bike tent.

"...which enabled vendors like Duluth Coffee and Third St. Bakery to come in here, and people are able to get some refreshments while they're waiting in line," said Howard.

For new bike owner Alice Yonke, who has been asking for a bike for her birthday for the past 5 years, the bike swap is a solution to her latest commuting concerns.

Yonke is moving about a half hour out of the city in the coming weeks.

"I'll be able to do some longer rides out in the country," said Yonke, holding her new red Schwinn, "and I also like to commute to work, so I'll be able to do that safely."

...and for the record, Saturday was also Yonke's birthday.

In all, the annual bike swap has raised over $45,000 for the United Way since it started eight years ago.

It will continue Sunday with reduced prices on what's left in stock.

Billy Wagness