Almost two weeks ago Ed and I, along with eight students in the Major Taylor program put on brave faces for what we expected to be a crazy day running the bike consignment area at the Seattle Bike Swap. We had never done it before, but jumped at the idea that we could turn this aspect of swap into a fundraiser for the Major Taylor Project.
I was told that in the past it was never a very large section of swap, maybe having around 30 bikes, but that I should expect no more than 50 bikes to manage and sell. At 6:30 a.m. the first four bikes were turned in, and we were ready to go. By 7:30 a.m. I had run out of the premade tags (numbers only ran up to 50) and was making new numbers on my recycled-bicycle-paper-notepad. By 8 a.m. we ran out of our allotted space (the whole front room in the exhibition hall!) and had to set up new racks for the bikes in the main aisle. At 9 a.m. exactly deal-hunters started coming through the section to evaluate the 81 bikes that we had set up for viewing. This is where the help of the Major Taylor teens proved invaluable. They haggled with customers, using the main selling point that 10% of the sale price went to the Major Taylor Project, allowing more kids to get out on bikes and experience the freedom a bike has to offer.
The teens did a far better job bargaining with the deal hunters than I would have. I was the last line of defense and had a team of dedicated students helping me run the money side of the affair. Even though we had to give away 90% of the sale price, the teens helped us raise an impressive $3,600, making the organizational efforts well worth our time, and as an added bonus, the Major Taylor students got to see the Seattle Center (many of them had not had the opportunity beforehand).
If you missed the opportunity to let someone else sell your bike for you and support the cause, don’t fret because the Major Taylor Project will be back at the next swap, streamlined and ready for your business.