The 21st annual Stop, Swap and Save, touted as the East Coast’s largest indoor bicycle swap and consumer bike expo, will be held Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Carroll County Ag Center. The Ag Center’s doors will open at 9 a.m. — swap veterans say there’s often a line to get in the door.
“It’s like going to a heavenly mall where everything is bicycles,” said cyclist Kathy Gaudet, of Silver Spring. “There’s a lot of things you might not see in your local bike store.”
According to Stop, Swap and Save organizer Robin Culver, the expo brings in more than 4,000 people each year, many of whom spend the weekend in the area and support local hotels, restaurants and retail stores. She said the event is “the place to sell old parts and bikes, and the place to find everything you need for a great season of cycling.” Admission is $5.
Gaudet said she has attended the expo since the beginning, and it keeps “growing bigger and bigger.”
“I try to go in with a list because I get so overwhelmed,” Gaudet said. “It’s a really good place to pick up winter accessories, tires and tools. There’s also some artists that make interesting bicycle arts and crafts. It’s for anyone interested in cycling or getting into cycling. You can add to what you already have or get a gear collection started for a reasonable price.”
Gaudet said people line up early before the doors open because they want to get in and get good deals or find specific items. In the middle of the day, she said the expo becomes more social and near the end of the day many vendors discount their wares.
Barry Hoskins, of Sykesville, said the swap allows cyclists to “reconnect with people you don’t see very often.”
“Other than going to a bike festival or bike race, it’s one of the few times you get to be in a room with 4,000 people who do the same thing you do,” Hoskins said. “It’s for anyone who has more than just a casual interest in bikes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mountain biker or road rider or commuter, there’s something there for you to check out.”
Nic Patterson, of Winfield, said the swap is a great way to get ready for spring cycling.
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“As a cyclist myself, I’m always looking for the latest and greatest,” Patterson said. “There’s always a lot of event promotion there and it’s a good place to see everything that’s going on in the region so you can figure out where you want your season to go.”