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Return of the bike swap

After two years on hiatus, the Rogue Valley Bike Swap returns in person April 30
Mail Tribune/File Photo

After two years of COVID closing the door on in-person events, the Rogue Valley Bike Swap will be back — in person, with no charge of admission.

The event is scheduled from noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in the parking lot of the Grove, 1195 E. Main St., Ashland.

Last year, Ashland Parks and Recreation collaborated with Rogue Valley Transportation District and made do with a donation drive. Sulaiman Shelton, the volunteer and event coordinator for Ashland Parks and Recreation, said that donated bikes were distributed to Almeda fire survivors, veterans and low-income residents throughout the Rogue Valley.

This year, Ashland Parks and Recreation and RVTD are coming together again, with additional partnership from Ashland outdoor gear store Get ‘N Gear to bring the bike swap back to life.

The swap allows people to buy or sell bicycles — from those who love bikes to those who love bikes — and to raise money for kids to love bikes.

Those who want to sell a bike at the event receive 80% of the sale price, with the other 20% going to the Ashland Parks Foundation for children's bike education.

Shelton said that in previous bike swaps, the money raised funded a dedicated person who toured Ashland elementary schools, spending a week at each location and teaching students how to ride bikes, and how to do it safely. Now, the education programming is “fluid,” but any money raised will “remain in an account with the Ashland Parks Foundation until the right person is found” to run it, Shelton said.

During the swap, a portion of the Grove’s parking lot will be turned into a test-drive course for pedal-assist E-bikes, courtesy of Ashland Electric Bikes and Piccadilly Cycles. Mark Vergeer, bike programs manager for RVTD, said the course will be 80 feet long, just long enough to safely get up to speed and test out the E-bikes.

Some E-bikes will be available to buy, Shelton said. Siskiyou Velo, a Rogue Valley bicycle club, will have a table at the event, along with Streets for Everyone, a nonprofit focused on preventing traffic fatalities for pedestrians and cyclists. Vergeer said RVTD will also have a table at the event, with free safety gear.

The swap is also an opportunity to protect bikes against theft. Attendees will be able to register their bike’s serial number with Ashland police. If a bike is reported stolen, or a lost bike is found, the police use the numbers to reunite bikes with their owners. Ashland police Chief Tighe O’Meara said, “this is an easy, in-house way for us to have one more tool to track a bike, be it stolen, abandoned, whatever, back to its owner.”

Those interested in selling bikes at the swap can drop them off at the Grove from 5-7 p.m. the day before the swap, or from 8-10 a.m. the day of the event.

Bikes can also be brought to the RVTD building in downtown Medford, 229 S. Front St., from 4-6 p.m. Friday, April 29.

Anyone looking to free up garage space from bicycles or bicycle gear can have a vendors table of their own for $30. The event is also looking for volunteers.

For more information about selling or volunteering, call Sulaiman Shelton of Ashland Parks & Recreation at 541-552-2264, or email him at sulaiman.shelton@ashland.or.us.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Morgan Rothborne at mrothborne@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.