Colorado Springs Bike Swap to be bigger than ever

If the Colorado Springs Bike Swap isn’t yet something local cyclists mark on their calendars every year, organizer Gabe Alvarado hopes that changes after Saturday.

The second-of-its-kind event will cover two fields in SoccerHaus, up from one last year, and sponsorship has tripled, with businesses and nonprofits setting up booths that Alvarado envisions as a community staple one day. Cyclists again will be the sellers and buyers.

"You’ve got to keep stuff like this going. This is what makes our town cool," said Alvarado, a Springs native and avid mountain biker.

That belief inspired him to take over the swap in 2017, as the first one was in jeopardy of not recurring without a leader. About 1,200 people came through SoccerHaus last spring, stocking up on lightly used gear and parts and finding new fleet members from the corral of road and mountain bikes.

The swap isn’t only for veteran riders looking to shore up inventory or snag quick cash, however. It’s also a chance for newbies to enter the sport without breaking the bank.

"The cycling community’s a very honest and open crowd," Alvarado said. "No one’s going to try to sell you something you don’t need or have no idea how to use. You’re not going to get ripped off."

Just ask Kids on Bikes, the nonprofit that "made out like bandits last year" with donations. This year, attendees will pay $1 at the door, with every dollar going to the organization that Alvarado admires for guiding low-income youth to a new hobby.

The swap was born to be a local version of VeloSwap, the world’s leading cycling expo, which comes to Denver every year. But Alvarado doesn’t foresee his event ever being like that one.

Demos and races would be cool, he said, but he wants something more modest, without the big brand names and business-first approach.

"I think it really helps to bring everyone together, as cliché as that sounds," he said. "It helps to not only connect buyers and sellers, but you can form relationships with people."

Contact Seth Boster: 636-0332

Twitter: @SethBoster

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