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At the fall KidSport equipment sale in Coquitlam, it is about the bike

The sale, that's held twice a year, raises money to help needy families pay for organized activities for their kids
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Bikes are some of the most prized acquistions at the annual fall KidSport sale, but it takes a lot of wrenching to get them into riding shape says organizer Chris Wilson.

There’s little doubt bikes are the big ticket item at the upcoming KidSport used equipment sale.

And it’s taking an army of volunteers to wrench about 200 of them into riding condition and clean them for resale to raise money for KidSport Tri-Cities, which helps families in financial need offset the cost of getting their kids involved in organized activities.

Chris Wilson, the executive director of KidSport Tri-Cities and organizer of the sale, said the mass quantity of bikes is the perfect storm of diminished sale events and continuing donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a partnership with the Trek Shop in Port Coquitlam, which contributes used bikes that have been traded in by customers when purchasing a new ride.

As a result, he’s been wrangling the corps of volunteer mechanics for nightly four- and five-hour sessions of pumping tires, replacing broken spokes, tuning derailleurs and even replacing bottom brackets.

Their stamina has been bolstered by free pasta dinners donated by restaurateur Fred Soofi who operates Pasta Polo in Coquitlam.

Wilson hopes the effort — and rock-bottom prices — will help clear much-needed storage space KidSport uses at Como Lake Middle School, as well as private homeowners’ garages where the overflow has been accumulating.

“It’s been a really cool experience,” said Wilson of the drive to get the bikes ready. “It’s a sense of community and helping each other out.”

While equipment from all manner of sports — from old skis to tennis racquets to mounds of hockey gear — is available at the sale that runs twice a year, it’s the bikes that exact the greatest toll on labour and storage space.

But, Wilson said, the reward comes from the smiles of kids and even adults who are able to find a bike that’s new to them for as little as $30.

“The kids are ecstatic,” he said, adding several of the volunteer mechanics will be on hand at the sale to help customers get the right bike that’s the right size.

Wilson said because KidSport has so many bikes, it’s been able to donate about 100 to families from the Ukraine who’ve sought refuge in Metro Vancouver from the war in their country with Russia.

He’s also continuing to post bikes on Facebook Marketplace to keep some inventory moving in the months between KidSport’s annual fall and spring sale events.

“We’ve always had a lot of interest in bikes,” he said.

Here's what you need to know

The fall KidSport used equipment sale takes place Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Poirier Forum in Coquitlam (618 Poirier St.). Admission is by donation, or a contribution to the SHARE food bank. Sports equipment in good condition to be donated to the sale can be dropped off until Friday, Sept. 9, at three locations:

  • Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex (633 Poirier St.)
  • Port Coquitlam Community Centre (2150 Wilson Ave.)
  • Port Moody Recreation Complex (300 Ioco Rd.)
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