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April 2013

Great Maine BIke Swap gets used bicycles under fresh legs

By | Coalition News, Events

This article originally appeared on

Derrick Rossignol | The Maine Campus
Posted on April 15, 2013, at 2:58 a.m.

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which refers to itself as “one of the most effective bicycle advocacy groups in the country” on their website, took over the New Balance Student Recreation Center to host their annual Great Maine Bike Swap.

“The Great Maine Bike Swap is an opportunity where people can get their trusty old bikes out of the shed, garage [or] barn and put them under a fresh set of legs,” said Fred Rovie, a member of the Great Maine Bike Swap organizing committee.

For a $3 fee, interested sellers could drop off their bicycles at the New Balance Student Recreation Center on Saturday, and have it on display for the Sunday event. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine takes a $15 commission on all sales.

As for interested buyers, two basketball courts were reserved to display of a variety of bikes, gear and Bicycle Coalition of Maine merchandise. There was also an area for prospective buyers to test bicycles.

“Most of the bikes come from individuals who have outgrown a bike or they have a lifestyle change and they say, ‘I’m not riding a road bike anymore. It’s been hanging in the barn for 12 years; what the heck? Let’s get it out,’” Rovie said.

In addition to individuals bringing in personal bicycles, several older, formal bicycles from bike shops were also on display. According to Rovie, the prices of the bicycles range anywhere from $10 to $2,000.

“[T]here’s a lot of real nice, plain vanilla bikes that end up being here, and people get a chance to get a bike under them that they might not [have] otherwise,” Rovie said, adding that there are a few “dream bikes” at the Bike Swap as well.

“It’s a pink Serotta,” he said, recalling a steal earlier that day. “It’s a custom-built bicycle — a road bike. The original price on it was probably close to $1,800, and somebody got it for [$200]”

Rovie says he also enjoys the social aspect of the event.

“It also ends up being a really nice sociable event,” Rovie said. “I think we have seven bike shop owners that are here today, and they don’t often have a chance to mix and mingle.

“Some of us [who] have been doing this for a while, we get to see people that [we] haven’t seen in a long, long time,” he added. “One of the chaps I was just talking to owns three trikes, and he’s owned about six trikes. I sort of see him here, and I don’t see him other places.”

Aside from the actual bicycles, Rovie says the event is also great for cycling advocacy.

“[The] Bicycle Coalition of Maine is here, obviously, and we work on our safety education and access,” Rovie said. “The Bangor Land Trust is here [too]. One of the pieces we’re dear to is trail access. The newly formed chapter of NEMBA is here — the New England Mountain Bike Association. So there’s a lot of connectivity that takes place that is absolutely wonderful.”

According to Rovie, the Great Maine Bike Swap began when Davis Carver, owner of Bath Cycle and Ski, had a vision.

“Davis Carver had a vision and knew there was an opportunity to have bikes bought and sold and people would be excited to do that, and he ran the bike swap,” Rovie said. “He started the bike swap in Portland and ran it for seven years, and it never could get legs under it as a commercial venture.”

It was at that point that the event was taken over by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

“[W]hen we got a partnership with [the University of Southern Maine], that allowed us to really move ahead and bring it to a level where it’s financially sustainable,” Rovie said.

The Great Maine Bike Swap is one of many events put on by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a group that, according to their website, leads the effort to improve biking in our state.

“[T]he real [purpose] is to make Maine a better place to bicycle, because it’s got some really, really cool places to bike and there are some really great people here,” Rovie said. “Ten years ago, if you talked about a state where bicycling was [great], everybody would say, ‘Vermont!’ Well, Vermont spent years just saying, ‘Vermont’s great to bike!’ They don’t have any different facilities [than Maine], and they don’t have the coast. Their roads aren’t that much different from what we have here.”

The newest event from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is BikeMaine, set to take place from Sept. 7-14. According to the BikeMaine website, “In the inaugural BikeMaine ride, 350 riders will pedal 60-75 miles daily across Maine’s varied landscapes on a fully supported ride, camping along the way in friendly and unique communities that will highlight what makes Maine great. Riders will enjoy meals featuring seasonal local foods and local entertainment and, through their presence in each community, will help support local Maine economies.”

Video – Great Maine Bike Swap cycles into spring

By | Coalition News, Events

This article originally appeared on

ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– As spring arrives many of us are thinking of ways to enjoy the outdoors. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine wants to encourage Mainers to trade in their four wheels for two and start biking. The University of Maine hosted the annual Great Maine Bike Swap.

The event allows people to either sell their bikes that might be taking up some space in their garage. Or buy yourself one at a cheaper price.

Executive Director Nancy Grant with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine said, “There’s lots of people, especially these days, that maybe haven’t been on a bike since they were a high school kid. Or [they are] in their twenties and thinking ‘Hey maybe this is something I want to try.’ By coming to the swap it’s sort of a low risk purchase.”

Attendees could test drive the different kinds of bikes. The racks were full of everything from mountain bikes, road bikes, cycles for the kids, and even tandem bikes. With plenty to choose from there was something for every cyclist.

More than one thousand people took a peek at the merchandise and many gave the bikes a test drive. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine sponsors the annual springtime event members say it’s the best time to get people thinking about getting back on the bike.

Grant said, “If they love it they can maybe come back and maybe recycle that bike here next year and maybe buy something a little more expensive. You know the hope is to just get more Mainers on bikes, that’s what we are all about.”

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine will be holding another bike swap in Portland on Sunday, April 28th.


Video – Nearly One Hundred Volunteers Help Bikers at Swap in Orono (WABI – TV5)

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts

This article originally appeared on WABI – TV5

Orono – Bikes of all types were at the UMaine New Balance Recreation Center for the Great Maine Bike Swap.

The event is part of the mission the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has been on since it’s beginning two decades ago.

It’s the sixth year the coalition has been kicking off the cycling-season with an event devoted to pair people with the perfect ride.

“The idea of the swap is to match buyers and sellers of bikes. There’s a lot of people who buy a bike and for whatever reason, you know, sometimes it just doesn’t fit right and for whatever reason it just sits in their garage and takes up space. So, this swap allows people to find a home for a bike that they weren’t using and maybe find a better fit for a bike,” said Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, Nancy Grand.

One of the goals of the event is making sure people find that right fit.

“We have almost a hundred volunteers helping buyers find the right bike for them, from helping sellers figure out what price they should sell their bike at, from admitting the people that came through the front door, to checking out those people that are buying bikes. We have volunteers doing everything,” said Grand.

“A lot of people don’t have the wealth of knowledge on bikes and I’m happy to share and help them pick out a bike. A lot of people don’t realize if something is too big or too small and I feel that is probably the reason a lot of people don’t get comfortable with cycling, because they don’t have the right bike,” Stan MacArthur, a volunteer at the swap.

“With used bikes you don’t know what you’re going to get, so its good to find someone that knows their way around a bike,” said Mike Haggerty, an Old Town resident.

“I didn’t expect to find a bike today and I did. I found a good one. A great old steel bike, made in the United States and it actually fits me,” said Steve Titcomb of Blue Hill.

It’s service with a smile.

“I love seeing other people get excited about cycling; it’s really great for a lot of reasons. People go away with an energy renewed to start their goals, like a New Year’s resolution. I’m going to get out there and ride,” said MacArthur.

If you missed Saturday’s swap, there will be another one in Portland on the April 28th.

You can call 623-4511 or head to for details.

Great Maine Bike Swap coming to Orono (Bangor Daily News)

By | Coalition News


This article originally appeared in the Bangor Daily News.

Great Maine Bike Swap coming to Orono

By Aislinn Sarnacki, BDN Staff
Posted April 10, 2013, at 3:56 p.m.
Last modified April 11, 2013, at 8:48 a.m.

The Great Maine Bike Swap, an annual event for people to sell and purchase used bicycles, will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 14, at University of Maine’s New Balance Student Recreation and Fitness Center on the Orono campus.

Produced by the Bicycle Coalition in partnership with the University of Maine, the Orono swap attracted more than 500 people last year.

Hundreds of used bicycles of all types will be for sale, including mountain bikes, road bikes, classic cruisers, kids’ bikes and hybrids. And large test-riding area will allow shoppers to try out bicycles and advisors will be on hand to help with pricing and bike fit.

New this year, sellers can register their bikes before the swap on an online bike registration system at, which will shorten drop-off lines.

Admission is $3, with free admission for students at UMaine, the University of Southern Maine, the University of New England and Southern Maine Community College, as well as children 12 years old and younger.

Those wanting to sell bicycles should register the bikes online and then drop them off 6-8 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the New Balance Student Recreation Center; or 8-10 a.m. on the day of the swap. Saturday drop-off is highly encouraged to minimize lines.

A 15 percent commission on bike sales will support the Bicycle Coalition’s work to improve bicycling in Maine.

The Great Maine Bike Swap in Portland is set for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 28 at University of Southern Maine’s Sullivan Gym.

The coalition is seeking volunteers to offer their expertise and time at the two events. Volunteers are involved with everything from helping customers choose a bike to registering and running bikes and helping in the test-ride area.

For information about both swaps or to volunteer, visit or call 623-4511.