I’ve been to exactly 2 organized clothes swaps in my life: One in Santa Cruz, CA and one just recently in Westport, CT. The swaps were set up and carried out in dissimilar ways. But the end result was the same: I walked away feeling happy, connected to new fabulous women, and with a few new items to add to my wardrobe.

Here’s how it was done in Santa Cruz. I was invited to a friend’s house and asked to bring a bag of clothes (unspecified season since you dress pretty much for one season in CA) and a dish & drink for potluck. I should mention that the “purpose” of the clothes swap beyond the obvious was to mindfully reduce consumerism (buying clothes just to buy clothes, which I have been guilty of doing). Recycling of all kinds is rewarded.

The Bike Lady at Westport Bike Rentals
The Bike Lady at Westport Bike Rentals

I walked into the clothes swap with my bag and my food/drink.  I added my clothes to a bonfire-like pile in the center of the room. Chairs were arranged around the pile and various women whom I didn’t really know were eating & drinking.  We mingled and exchange business cards.

Then, the fun began! A bell was rung  & clothes went flying, literally. Women, in various states of undress, dove into the pile of clothes, tried things on, asked for opinions & threw things back that didn’t work.  In order to paint for you an accurate picture, I have to share that many women in Santa Cruz have large colorful tattoos and unusual piercings. I remember taking a step back and watching the multicolored frenzy.

The other clothes swap was a charitable event for the wonderful, The Adoption Hope Foundation. It was held at the Saugatuck Church in Westport, CT. It was catered, including a bartender (I believe the board members and their husbands were the chefs & barkeeps.) and had live acoustic music. The purpose of this event was fundraising.

I brought my bag of  Spring clothes, as requested, and handed them over to a couple of gals who were sorting & hanging & folding. Wardrobes were arranged around the room. It was all very organized.

While we were waiting for the swapping start time, we noshed & mingled and we were allowed to “window shop”.  Once again, a bell was rung and this time I would describe a take-off scene, much like a wedding dress sale.

Women loaded up their bags & headed to restrooms to try on items. My impatience got the better of me and I tried on clothes in the hallway. Note: I wore my nicer undergarments, fully expecting the bonfire scene from above.

So how does this connect to Westport Bike Rentals?

I think the tale of 2 clothes swaps is a good illustration that there are many different ways to do something.  Let’s look at biking. In Fairfield County, I think road biking/racing comes to mind first when you say the word, “bike”.  But other types of biking exist: mountain biking, downhill, BMX, touring, recreational and others.  Personally, I would love to try cross-country touring at some point.

When I mention Westport Bike Rentals to people, very often I get an account of how fast someone has ridden, or which race someone is preparing to ride, or how many miles they rode with their group of road cyclists on Sunday morning. All are fabulous bike goals. I‘m sure the racers & trackers & cyclists finish up feeling exhilarated, revitalized and triumphant.

I also hear from people who think bike riding is not for them because they don’t race, or have the outfit, or haven’t ridden in years (even a spin bike). Good News! You don’t need to be a bike racer, or go to spin class, or track your bike miles to ride a beach bike cruiser. It’s okay if you haven’t ridden in years. After a day on one of our bikes, you’ll feel exhilarated- fresh air, sunshine, and beach views can do that to a person. You’ll feel refreshed-moving your body at a slower pace does wonders for the mind too.  And, you’ll experience that fleeting feeling from biking in your childhood: freedom. You can go where you want to go and explore your corner of the world.

Westport Bike Rentals is not about how far and how fast you want to go…unless  you want to go far and fast. It’s up to you. Either way, you’ll be left with an easy breezy feeling that comes from riding a bike.

Here’s to letting the good times roll!
The Bike Lady