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Bike auction got people’s wheels turning

More than 700 bikes auctioned off

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Hundreds of people packed into Varsity View Sportsplex early Saturday morning for City of Winnipeg's annual bike auction.

JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

Hundreds of people packed into Varsity View Sportsplex early Saturday morning for City of Winnipeg's annual bike auction. Photo Store

Many people went home with a sweet ride this past weekend.

The City of Winnipeg’s community bylaw enforcement services held its annual bike auction at Varsity View Sportsplex (4230 Ridgewood Ave.) on April 26 and 27.

About 450 bikes were auctioned off on Saturday, and 300 bikes on Sunday.

The bikes came from the City’s bicycle recovery program.

"We have an officer that picks up bikes that have been abandoned or left (behind) or that the police have claimed, so we hold onto bikes and wait for people to claim them," said Marcia Fifer, the City’s licensing co-ordinator.

"So what we do is, the bikes that are recovered — and the owner hasn’t been found — we auction them off," Fifer said.

The Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub (WRENCH), on a service contract with the City, refurbished 250 of those bikes before the auction.

"This is the third year that they’ve worked with us," Fifer said. "They take some of the recovered bikes that are in need of some TLC and give these bikes tune-ups. They make sure the major components are working, so it’s got chains and brakes and it’s fully functional and ready to ride. We want people to leave the auction with good bikes that they can take out and ride and enjoy."

However, Fifer warned customers to "buy or beware" because the bikes were sold as is, so shoppers had to be mindful of glitches as they were browsing.

"Some things might need some bit of maintenance or adjustments when people purchase them," Fifer said.

That’s where the WRENCH came in. WRENCH volunteers were on hand at the auction to provide information about their workshops. According to the WRENCH executive director Pat Krawec, they also provided tune-ups and consultations by donation as well.

"It’s like bike-mechanic busking," Krawec said with a laugh.

Money raised from the auction went back to the bicycle recovery program as well as to the WRENCH.

Fifer said one of the best ways to keep bikes from going missing is to get it registered.

"We encourage registering your bike. We have bike registration for a one-time cost of $6.20," Fifer said. "If we ever come across it, we run (the serial number) in the system, and if we have an owner in the system, we return it free of charge."

To learn how to register a bike, visit http://www.winnipeg.ca/cms/license_branch/bicycle_license.stm

For more information about the WRENCH, visit thewrench.ca

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