A steal of a deal
Annual bike auction brings in the customers

Yellowknife (May 10/00) - The word bicycle often brings forward romantic connotations, such as Billy and Daisy peddling away on a bicycle built for two.

A bicycle can also trigger childhood memories -- banana seats and training wheels, makeshift ramps and fat lips.

They have a place in the hearts of those spandex-clad athletic types seen along the highway and pummelling down mountainsides.

The bicycle has also gone beyond its original purpose -- as a means of transportation -- and has become a popular choice for gym enthusiasts intent on improving their cardiovascular health.

And although the nostalgia related to bicycles is not likely on the minds of the thieves who steal them, a hint of it could be detected at the Rotary Club of Yellowknife's annual bike auction held on Saturday.

"I'm a little excited since my bike got stolen two years ago," said nine-year-old Diana Pelova, as she strolled the post office parking lot on Franklin Avenue looking for a new one. "Number 20 is my best so far."

About 65 lost or stolen bikes and crowds of people filled the lot amid the auctioneers chatter and the wafting scent of hotdogs.

Bikes and kids paint a pretty picture but unfortunately this auction, going on its 13th year, was tainted. Seven of the stolen bikes were stolen yet again from their storage site in the old curling club prior to the auction.

"With any luck at all we'll recycle them next year," said optimistic auction co-ordinator Paul Craig.

The bikes sold from anywhere between $20 and $250 and the money goes to different charities decided by the Rotary Club.

"By raising funds it recycles money back into the community for a good cause," said Craig.

"For about a month prior to the event, every weekend, several Rotarians get together to clean the bikes. It's time for fellowship and it's a lot of fun. It's a nice way to spend time."

Sarolta Woulters and Ilona Legler were at the auction for the first time to look for or replace Woulter's bike, which was stolen just two days before.

"We just saw (the bike auction ad) in the paper about an hour ago so it was lucky," Legler said.

"There's a lot so it seems good. Hers isn't here though."

Maybe next year.