Donations make a difference

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

With a budget of under $100,000, donations both large and small make a big difference for Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop. And we put that money to good use.

We served approximately 1,750  people this past year. Maybe you came in to fix your own bike with our tools? Or perhaps you bought a used part and got some free advice to go with it? Others donated a bike so someone else could ride.

That’s what Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is all about. We keep people and bikes moving.

You can make a difference for a small nonprofit. Our goal is 100 donors, at any amount. With so many of our customers living in poverty, it’s especially important for those of us with a little extra to contribute financially – for ourselves, and for those who can’t.

Your support will help us though a time of change. We’ve just hired our first executive director, Christy Cowley. The job is part-time, with the goal of improving our programs and effectiveness. Josh Pfister, our first paid shop staff, recently moved on to a Seattle bike shop opportunity after 3 years with us. We continue to look for a full-time shop manager.

We remain committed to our mission of empowerment, affordability, sustainability and education. Learn more about our goals for 2020 and see our new shop layout at our Holiday Open House on Dec. 12.

Thanks for supporting Sharing Wheels.

Join Our Board

Updated November 2019

Do you care about sustainable transportation, serving diverse people in need, and making a difference in your community? Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is seeking volunteers for our nonprofit board of directors.

Board members commit to monthly Board meetings, and may take on additional committee or outreach work as well. Expect to give 4 to 8 hours of time each month. You’ll get the satisfaction of helping Sharing Wheels mature and grow. (There are other volunteer benefits, too!)

We have just hired our first executive director and soon a new shop manager. Staff are in charge of running the bike shop, classes, and bike donation programs. The board’s role is to make sure the organization as a whole is funded and serves our mission of “Keeping People and Bikes Moving.”

We seek Board members who bring a diversity of age, race, cultural background, economic background, and experience, such as:

  • Business or retail management
  • Nonprofit and community connections
  • Finance or fundraising 
  • Homeless and social services

Board members are usually elected to one-year terms each January, but can also be appointed by the board at any time.

We have at least two and up to four openings starting in 2020.

If you are interested, or if you know of someone who you think would be a great Board member, please contact: board president Kristin Kinnamon at bikenbus @gmail.com or 425-923-7868.

Here’s the board_application (PDF) – mail or bring to shop anytime.

Changes: Reorganizing the Shop

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

At Sharing Wheels, we love bikes. That goes without saying, right? To us, even some old Schwinn clunker that weighs 30 pounds, with a few weeds still growing through its wheels, still deserves a good home.

So it’s an occupational hazard for us to accumulate more bikes, and parts of bikes, than we can manage. We’ve been in our current shop location for almost 15 years. That’s a lot of time to collect an abundance of bike-related goodies from generous donors. We have corners crowded with hopeful tools and tidbits, 16 bike pumps (some work), old-school bike accessories, and so many beautiful (in our eyes) bikes (many waiting for repair).

For the past year, the Sharing Wheels Board of Directors has been thoughtfully reviewing our operations and our mission – what it is we aim to do in the world as a nonprofit. We’ve come to realize that Sharing Wheels is as much about people as it is about bikes.

But there’s not much room for people in our current shop.

The board has also reaffirmed that we are in the business of moving bikes – repairing them, selling them, passing them on. Storing bikes – until we have time to fix them, waiting for the perfect customer, while we wait to find that special part – is not part of our mission.

Keeping People and Bikes Moving: Empowerment, Affordability, Sustainability, and Education

Sharing Wheels Mission

Right now, it’s hard to move through our shop. It can be even harder to find room to work on a bike – yours or ours. As we get back into teaching classes, where can students sit, or stand?

In August we took the first steps to clean out some of our excess bikes and parts. This month, we’ll be taking even bigger steps to ensure that our shop serves all parts of our mission. We’ll be rearranging, taking apart, hanging up, putting on display, labelling. This reorganization is so important that we’ll be closing the shop for the week of Sept. 23-29.

Our preliminary goals include:

  • Room for more work stands – so volunteers and customers can work on bikes
  • Better bike display – to show off what’s for sale
  • Easier to find and access parts
  • More basic tools, more organized

You might remember a similar shop reorganization effort that took place about two years ago. It made a big difference, for awhile. Then that bike love thing kicked in. of course.

Attention to shop organization needs to be ongoing. It’s one reason we are hiring an executive director.  We intend to set aside space and set up processes to keep both bikes and people moving – in our shop, and in the community.

If you have thoughts about how we could better manage space for people and bikes in our current shop, please contact me: bikenbus@gmail.com

This post is Part 3 of 3 blogs about changes at Sharing Wheels. Part 1 is about hiring our first executive director. Part 2 is about our mission.

Changes: New Mission, Same Goals

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Every nonprofit should have a purpose, a problem we are trying to solve. At Sharing Wheels, our tagline for years has been “Connecting unused bikes to people who need wheels.” People donate bike they don’t use to us, we fix them and pass them on.

But we’ve realized recently that getting a bike is really not the biggest problem for our friends and customers. You can find bikes at thrift stores, garage sales, on Craigslist, and in front of many a homeless camp.

The problem is that bikes break. And people don’t know how to fix them.  So people can’t count on their wheels to get around, and bikes get dusty and rusty.

We knew that was something we wanted to help with back in 2002, when we wrote our Articles of Incorporation as a nonprofit. The document describes our purpose as:

  • To provide information and education about bicycles and their maintenance and use
  • To encourage adults and youth to maintain and use bicycles, and
  • To encourage the use of bicycles in Snohomish County as a means of building community and alternative transportation.

If you’ve visited our shop lately, you’ve seen that we have kept true to our purpose all these years. There’s always someone fixing a flat with our tools, getting a bolt for their rack, learning how to adjust their gears.

Each fall and winter dozens of volunteers help us refurbish kids bikes. And while we haven’t successfully hosted any adult repair classes this year, we have a few classes on the schedule this fall and more coming.

A mission statement can be used to help the public understand what an organization does. But it’s also used by the board to judge what we should do. We need to focus our limited resources, staff and volunteers on the things that matter and make the most difference.

That’s why the Sharing Wheels board has spent many hours over the past year discussing and debating our mission. We thought about our current programs, how our shop is used today and how we want it to be used, about the small things we do, and the big picture.

We wanted something simple, that we could remember and recite when we are promoting our work. What our mission boils down to is:

Keeping People and Bikes Moving

To explain how we do that, it’s EASE:

Empowerment: giving people access to tools, shop, and advice

Affordability: A bike for every budget

Sustainability: Reusing and recycling donated bikes

Education: Repair classes for customers, volunteers and community

Our new mission statement is inspiring us to make changes (see Parts 1 and 3), but also to recommit to what we do best: helping people ride bikes.

You can contribute to our mission: By donating a bike, giving money, volunteering at a work party, taking a class, or coming in to see what cool bikes we have fixed up this week.

Changes: Hiring Our First Executive Director

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

I was around when Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop was established in 2002, watching Ron and Kristi offer free bike repairs at the Everett Gospel Mission once a month. I saw the first board president’s garage fill with bikes and parts, and watched our first earn-a-bike kid joyfully ride his new wheels (that he’d fixed himself) down the alley.

We’ve moved to our own shop and a different alley since then, and had many other changes as a nonprofit. But we have remained committed to serving a diverse clientele of people who use and love bicycles.

Just three years ago, we hired our first paid staff. That has helped to triple our revenue. But growth has also increased the complexity and responsibilities of our nonprofit.

After a year-long organizational review, the Sharing Wheels Board of Directors has decided we need more professional leadership than our volunteer board can provide.

It’s time to hire our first ever executive director. The board seeks to hire someone who can implement our new strategic plan, by developing the people (staff and volunteers), place (bike shop), programs (such as classes and work-trade) and procedures that will make us a more effective, mission-driven organization.

Here’s the official executive director job post.

The position is part-time because that’s what we can afford. But even so, we believe we can attract someone who wants to make a difference, either early in their career, or as they wind down professional work. The director will be assisted by our shop staff , along with volunteers and a very dedicated board.

Hiring our first executive director is a leap of faith – we can’t fully fund the position with current revenue. But we believe the position is sustainable in the long-term, once we get programs and partnerships established. Meanwhile, we are counting on grants and donations from individual supporters – like the people reading this blog post (you!)

We also need your help spreading the word about this unique job opportunity. The perfect candidate is not necessarily a bike nut or mechanic.  They just need to care about sustainable transportation, serving diverse people in need, and partnering with a nonprofit board.

This post is Part 1 of 3 about changes at Sharing Wheels. Part 2 is about our mission. Part 3 is about our shop space.

Kids Bike Swap June 9th!

We’ve been preparing for months for this big weekend and the weather looks like it’ll be a wonderfully bike friendly day! Thank you to the Herald’s Stephanie Davey for the great write up! There’s still time to volunteer, wrench on some kids bikes now through Saturday or sign up for a shift helping out the day of! We still need some non mechanic volunteers to fill in with check in, check out , helmet fitting & clean up. Sign up here

Kids Bike Swap

Kids Bike Swap Sunday June 9, 2019

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

2531 BROADWAY AVE., EVERETT

in the back parking lot

A parent or guardian must come with each child to the Swap.

Russ N. checks out a bike at Kids Bike Swap 2012

Kids can trade in the bike they have outgrown and pick out a bike that fits them. Kids donate their old bike, and receive credit for the value based on its size and condition. A parent or guardian must be present at the Swap.

The credit can be used towards purchasing a bigger bicycle, which can costs an extra. Typically, when a bike is swapped, the family is able to take home their newly refurbished ride for $20 or less. Cash or checks  preferred. We also accept credit cards.

A free helmet comes with every bike – and we’ll make sure it fits!

About Swap Bikes

Bicycles with wheel sizes from 12-inches to 24-inches are ready for trading.

If your child needs a larger bicycle, we may be able to accommodate them.

All bikes are safety checked and refurbished by Sharing Wheels volunteers before they enter the Swap.

Swap Hours

No bikes will be swapped before 10 a.m. If you arrive early, please stay out of our “bicycle  coral.” If you arrive really early, we might even put you to work helping set up.

Before 12 noon, you must bring a bicycle to swap for credit to enter the Swap. After 12 noon, bicycles can be purchased for the value listed, without the need to trade.

The Swap closes at 2 p.m

Bike selection can’t be beat

Our white winter has meant plenty of quiet time at the shop this winter to prepare bikes for spring. We have lots of bikes – what we need now are customers. So if you or a friend need a bike, come on by.

Unlike retail shops that only carry certain lines of bikes, we have a bit of every brand: Specialized, Bianchi, Trek, Bridgestone, Giant, Softride, Kona, Townie, and much more.

It’s important to find the right bike – one that fits you and the way you plan to ride (fast, in town, on trails, carrying stuff, etc). Our shop staff and volunteers will take the time to find the right bike for you. We’ll encourage you to take a test ride and see how the bike feels, shifts and stops. Then come back and take a different bike out for a ride.

Years ago, I thought I wanted a hybrid city bike. But when I went for a test ride, I found out no, I wanted to go fast. I next tested a road bike Trek built specifically for women. It felt right from the start.

You won’t have a better variety of bikes to compare than at Sharing Wheels. We don’t have the latest models (very often), but the colors, the quality, and the fun-factor can’t be beat.

When you buy a bike from Sharing Wheels, the money pays for the refurbishing we might have put in (such as parts to ensure you’ll have a safe and functioning bike) as well as providing revenue that supports the shop overall.

You’ll get a bike that’s right for you, and we’ll put one more unused bike back into circulation.

  • Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Seeking Board Members

Updated March 2019

Do you like bikes and want to give back to your community? Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is seeking volunteers for our nonprofit board of directors.

We have at least two and up to four openings. Submit a board_application (PDF) anytime – mail or bring to shop.

Board members support our mission of “connecting unused bikes to people who need wheels” with hands-on governance and enthusiasm. You don’t need to get greasy – we are looking for people with experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Nonprofit or business management
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Fundraising and grants
  • Retail or business services
  • Everett community connections

Board members commit to monthly Board and committee meetings. We are updating vision and goals for 2019, keeping our growing shop aligned with our longterm mission of “connecting unused bikes to people who needs wheels.”

We seek Board members who bring a diversity of age, race, cultural background, economic background, and experience. Board members are usually elected to one-year terms each January, but can also be appointed by the board at any time.

If you are interested, or if you know of someone who you think would be a great Board member, please contact: board president Kristin Kinnamon at bikenbus @gmail.com or 425-923-7868.

Advance your bike skills, help Sharing Wheels

Would you like to practice and improve your bike mechanic skills? Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is starting a series of Sunday work parties for volunteers to learn bike maintenance while helping to refurbish donated bicycles. The first work party and training is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17. Volunteers will get oriented and give input on best times for future class sessions to complement the work parties. Pizza will be provided.

Attendees should have basic bike knowledge – such as fixing flats and lubing chains, or past experience helping with our kids bike programs. More experienced home and shop bike mechanics are also encouraged to attend – to learn more or help teach others.

Each session will cover a new bike maintenance skill which will be practiced while fixing up Sharing Wheels bicycles.

Ultimately, volunteers who attend all sessions will receive training equivalent to an advanced mechanics class – a $100 value. Space is limited, so volunteers are asked to sign up in advance on the Sharing Wheels website.

Additional adult bike work parties are scheduled for Sundays, Feb. 24 through March 24, except no work party March 10. Volunteers who put in at least 10 hours will be invited to a special Advanced Mechanics course in April.

Space is limited, so advance signup is required.

Register Now

Classes wrench in the New Year!

We are hosting mechanics classes in the new year! Basic Maintenance Classes are $35 and will be held on Saturday January 19th, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm and Thursday February 7th, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. 
The Advanced Mechanics Class is 4 consecutive Saturdays from January 26th through February 16th from 4:30 – 7:30 pm, with a cost of $100. 
We have a limit of 6 spots per class so sign up early and tell your friends! To reserve your spot or for more information contact the shop at 425-252-6952 or visit http://sharingwheels.org/classes/