Burke Mountain Academy Bike Swap

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burke bike swapEAST BURKEIt was a beautiful weekend for a bike swap.

Outdoor enthusiasts flocked to Burke Mountain’s Mid Burke Lodge to gear up for bike season.

13 Burke Mountain Academy sophomores, along with the helpful guidance of academy math teacher, Vivian Buckley, organized the daylong swap.

“It’s a community service project,” said Buckley, “a lot of the kids don’t necessarily live in the area, but this is where they spend a big part of their year, so we wanted to give back to the place where we work and play… I've always enjoyed working with this sophomore class, they have a lot of energy.”

The projects goal was to raise money to benefit Kingdom Kids, a local non-profit foundation that provides outdoor recreational opportunities, like skiing and biking, to children in the Northeast Kingdom community.

Community members brought in about 20 bikes, as well as accessories, on consignment. Buckley says, “If a persons item is sold they would get 75% of that and 25% would go to Kingdom Kids.”

The event got some added help through the support of Village Sport Shop, a local business that sells outdoor sporting equipment.

“I had gotten a lot of advise form the folks who organize the ski swap… they had worked with VSS… they’re always so fun ad supportive, Chris Hibshman and his sister Carrie Tomczyk, who run the shop together. I asked them if they wanted to do this and they just looked at each other, looked at me, and said yes together!” explained Buckley, “They’re community minded people that want everybody to enjoy the outdoors, so they’re a great partner.”

VSS provided not only their knowledge of bikes, but brought along some equipment to sell as well.

“We’ve got some of the new Pugsley, the fat tire bikes for snow… we brought some of our normal trail bikes we brought up, and then we have some new bikes we felt were appropriate to try and sell,” said Hibshman, adding that, “It’s been a great opportunity to show people what’s out there, with kids it’s good to get them involved in out door stuff. We’re psyched to be involved.”

The idea of BMA of having a bike swap had surfaced a year ago, according to Buckley, but unexpected school trips delayed their plans. This year, having more time to plan, they managed to squeeze in the organizing and execution of the event between the student’s April break and May ski trip.

Jordan Watts, a BMA student involved in the bike swap, thinks it’s something the students would like to continue in the future.

“We’ve been discussing maybe making it our senior trip… it was our first year so we really weren’t sure how it was going to go, but it’s been pretty successful today,” she said.

At the end of the day the bike swap had brought in a total of around $3,5000 in sales, with $850 going to support Kingdom Kids.

Buckley is happy with their success, and already has ideas to help make next years bike swap better.

“We really want to make this an annual event,” she said, “in particular we had a lot of people looking for children’s bikes and we got maybe two children’s bikes in the drop off, so I think that will be out big push for next year, to try and get people to bring in those kids bikes.”