Blog

Sharing Wheels Moving Forward

By Brice Howard, Board President

After volunteering thousands of hours at Sharing Wheels for more than 10 years, Kristi Knodell has decided it’s time to pass the baton. Based in part on a review of other community bike shops, the Board of Directors is currently working on a plan to move from an all-volunteer shop management model to using paid staff.

Sharing Wheels elected a new Board of Directors during the summer of 2015. One of our primary goals at that time was to find a new space for the Sharing Wheels shop. We are hoping to find a larger space with greater visibility (and heat!). Although the current location is very affordable, anyone who has visited the shop knows it is a little crowded. And if you’ve ever spent time there in the winter, you also know there is no heat.

As part of this discussion, we looked at other community bike shops in the area. It turns out most of them rely on professional bike mechanics for a steady revenue stream that keeps the doors open and the lights on so they can run their other programs. The Board identified increasing revenue as a critical step in moving to a new location as we felt we needed to plan for higher rent in a new location. We also discussed expanding the number of shop hours on a weekly basis, the possibilities of retaining an all-volunteer shop model versus hiring employees, and looking for grant funding. However, finding grant funding for any nonprofit operations, such as paying the rent, is always difficult and not a longterm fix.

In late 2015 we drafted a grant application to the City of Everett Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) program, proposing to use grant funds to expand shop hours on a weekly basis. In May we were notified we have been awarded a grant of $9,000, which should allow us to open the shop up for an additional nine hours per week. We expect to start offering Saturday and some evening hours sometime in July or August, which we hope will greatly increase the number of families and individuals served through the bike shop.

Currently, we are in the process of hiring two independent bicycle mechanics (former volunteers!) to prepare bicycles for sale, and to perform maintenance and repair services. These mechanics are expected to increase our “ready for sale” bicycle inventory, which in turn will hopefully begin to raise revenues. A few years back Kristi made an extra effort to prepare bikes for sale, by putting in more than her usual number of volunteer hours, and revenues increased noticeably.

Within the next month or two we anticipate hiring an additional staff person, a part-time Shop Manager/Bicycle Mechanic/Customer Service Representative. This individual will staff our new weekend and evening hours. Because of grant requirements we will need to track several criteria during these hours, such as number of customers served, number of new customers, and grant specific criteria

We hope to fill this position by the end of July so that the new Shop Manager will be able to train with Kristi over the month of August. This job opportunity has a lot of potential for growth, and the newly hired employee will be expected to help raise revenue and/or funding to pay for their position over the long term.

Volunteers will continue to be an essential part of our shop operations – we just won’t rely on one person’s dedication.

 

Kristi is planning to step down as Shop Manager at the end of August. Thanks to her years of hard work and careful management of Sharing Wheels, we are poised to grow over the next few years.

New Board Member Needed

Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is an Everett nonprofit established in 2001. We seek a board member with vision and a willingness to be hands-on.

We are looking for people with experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Nonprofit or business management
  • Real estate
  • Fundraising and grants
  • Budgeting and finance
  • Community connections

Ideal candidates have demonstrated a passion for bicycles or community-building, and have participated in significant ways in other nonprofit organizations.

Applications are due May 18. Download the Board_Application.doc (PDF)

The new Sharing Wheels Board is working to develop and implement a strategic vision and operations plan to move the organization forward. The board meets monthly, and each member has an area of focus. The term runs through January 2017.

 

Kids Bike Repair Parties

kids bikes4-9 p.m. Tuesdays

The Kids Bike Swap is made possible only by the work of our amazing volunteers. Join us for a repair party every Tuesday night through June 7.

All mechanical abilities are welcome. A willingness to learn and get greasy is all you need. Drop-in for an hour or two during a repair party, or anytime during open hours.

We also need donations of gently-used kids bikes for the Kids Bike Swap. Check your garage, talk to some neighbors, post on social media – then bring your donations by any time we are open.

4-9 p.m. Tuesdays at the bike shop, 2531 Broadway, Everett, WA. Entrance at the back.

New Sharing Wheels Board Members

The new board will serve through January 2017. The board will select its officers at its first official meeting in September.

Tony Simonelli

Tony is a design engineer at Boeing and a bike communter. He has coordinated the Kids Bike Swap for the past 5 years or so, hosting many work parties, turning many wrenches, and calling volunteers. He appreciates Sharing Wheels for the access to tools and parts, the community service it offers, and the chance to hang out with others who love bikes. He has served on the board of Everett Youth Soccer. His first goals as a board member would be to create a budget and a plan to allow for expanded shop space and hours.

Brice Howard

Brice is an attorney advisor for the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. He has taken the Sharing Wheels mechanics class and volunteered at several work parties over the years. He previously served on the board of Senior Services of Snohomish County. As a board member, he will bring his experience reading and writing legal documents and real estate contracts. He would like to familiarize himself with similiar community bike shops to understand how they have grown to offer more access to the community and volunteers.

Tucker Thomas

Tucker is a manufacturing engineer for an aerospace company in Redmond. He has worked in a bike shop and raced cyclocross on the U.S. national team. He has volunteered at the Kids Bike Swap and helped at a work party in the past. He sees Sharing Wheels as a great way to improve the community and enjoy bicycles. As a board member, he’d like to improve the shop’s community and online presence, organize the shop and systems to improve bike sales, and promote activities such as classes and group rides. He also offers his wife’s experience as a grant writer. Tucker has connections to The Hub in Bellingham and youth racing organizations.

Kristin Kinnamon

Kristin is a communications consultant who formerly coordinated local Bike to Work events and the Snohomish County Bike Map for Community Transit. She is the current president of BIKES Club of Snohomish County, and former president of the statewide Bicycle Alliance of Washington. She has been passingly involved with all types of Sharing Wheels activities from the very beginning, mostly through her wife Kristi Knodell, the volunteer shop manager. As a board member, she looks forward to developing a more formal volunteer program that can help support the shop as an important community resource for low cost bicycles.

Tom Merrill

Tom retired to Snohomish after working as the Director of New Technology for Paccar. He has volunteered at Sharing Wheels work parties, and appreciates that the shop offers an approachable community where people can learn about bike maintenance and bicycling. He has served on curriculum, product and customer review boards. He appreciates that Sharing Wheels offers affordable bikes to people for “transportation, exercise and joy.” He brings strategic planning, financial and management experience to the board. He looks forward to learning more about the organization and identifying gradual changes to match needs and funding

Sharing Wheels seeks board members

Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is an Everett nonprofit established in 2001. We seek board members with vision and a willingness to be hands-on.

We are looking for people with experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Nonprofit or business management
  • Real estate
  • Fundraising and grants
  • Budgeting and finance
  • Community connections

Ideal candidates have demonstrated a passion for bicycles or community-building, and have participated in significant ways in other nonprofit organizations.

The new Sharing Wheels Board needs to develop and implement a strategic vision and operations plan to move the organization forward. The board will likely meet monthly in the near term. The bylaws require a minimum of an annual meeting, with additional meetings as requested by board members. The term of office is one year.

To learn more, contact Kristin Kinnamon, president@bikesclub.org or 425-923-7868.

“My Bike Has Been Stolen”

A day does not go by without hearing about someone loosing their bike to a thief. Every one insists they had their bike locked up but I suspect they wouldn’t admit otherwise.

Bike-Thief-Story-Poster4213108548Bike theft in Everett and Snohomish County is on the rise. Some thieves are trying to get from point A to point B and sees an opportunity to do it easier and faster than walking. They often abandon the bike after getting to their destination. Some of the thieves sell the bike or trade for something they want, usually for pennies on the dollar. And sadly, some thieves turn the aluminum or steel bike into scrap for pennies per pound.

Many of us use our bikes for transportation to work, grocery shopping, school and anywhere else we want to go. Some of us have transportation choices and also have cars or trucks but choose to use our bikes, opting for an affordable and healthier way to travel. For some of us it is our only means of transportation, lacking the financial, legal means or desire for a motor vehicle.

Losing a bike can be especially hard on those with limited resources. Replacing what is taken can  be  hardship

It sounds silly but we have special bonds with our bikes. They give us the ability to move great distances under our own power allowing for self-sufficiency.

Those that steal bikes are heartless, the scum of the earth. There are movies produced on the theme of bike theft: Beijing Bicycle, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and The Bicycle Thief all showing how much the victim loved their bike and the great effort they are willing to go to get their bike back.

Sharing Wheels does not buy or trade bikes. We have a strict policy we adhere to in order to prevent accidentally obtaining stolen bikes. We rely strictly on donations. Some other bike shops and of course pawn shops buy bikes, making a great outlet for the thieves. The pawn shops are supposed to submit the serial numbers to the local police. There is no one database storing the reported thefts, allowing thieves to travel to neighboring cities and unload. These shops pay pennies on the dollar, begging the question, why would someone sell “their” bike for so little. By purchasing from these shops you contribute to the problem, creating a demand for stolen bikes.

There are some online bike registries. The  National Bike Registry and  Project 529 are two such sites. The City of Arlington Police Department also has a Bicycle Registry  program. Check these programs out if you want to register your bike.

Do the police care? Maybe, maybe not. But there is nothing they can do if you don’t report the theft. Only 56% of thefts are reported (I read that somewhere). When you make a report, you need to have some information from your bike that you write down before it is stolen.
Almost all bikes have a serial number usually located on the Bottom Bracket (the cylinder looking thing that the cranks and pedals come out of). Write down the serial number, make, model, and color down and put it in two different safe places with a good photo of your bike. That number is the one thing distinguishing your bike from other bikes, like the VIN number for a car. Without it, there is not much to be done.

To ovoid having to use this information, it’s important to prevent a theft. Some places you can bring your bike inside (hopefully your home is one of them). But even being inside doesn’t guarantee you will have your bike when you return. Open or unlocked garages can be an easy target. The more lock you can afford the better. Thieves are generally looking for the easy target, but they are getting more sophisticated. Check out Hal Ruzal of NY on how to properly lock up your bike .  To a Northwesterner,  New York city can seem like a crime mecca and Hal’s advice may seem appropriate for NYC, but what about here in Snohomish County? A day does not go by without me hearing about someone loosing their bike to a thief.

Transportation Advocacy Day: Tell Olympia Washington Bikes!

Sharing Wheels is happy to support our state wide advocacy organization, Washington Bikes, and make Washington a better place for cycling.

One very important bill making its way through is HB 6227, puts some teeth into the distracted drivers bill of 2010. You can find out more about this bill at http://wabikes.org/2014/01/23/wabikes-in-olympia-sb-6227-strengthening-washingtons-distracted-driving-law/

With transportation project cost overruns looming, increasing uncertainty about how to fix our bridges and roads, and a growing need to invest in biking and walking statewide, the state legislature needs to hear from YOU.
Join us for Transportation Advocacy Day on Thursday, February 27 to tell Olympia Washington Bikes.
This is your chance to let your elected representatives know that Washingtonians want priorities that:

·      Support balanced revenue solutions to support transit, local governments, and more biking and walking
·      Fix our crumbling infrastructure for real
·      Create healthier communities through transportation investments that foster active and safe cities and towns statewide

The day-long event in Olympia connects you with others who share your transportation priorities for better biking. Be a part of the solution and serve as a citizen lobbyist for the day.

After all, if you won’t do it, who will?

Sign-up today: http://wabikes.org/transportation-advocacy-day/.  Lunch is provided and carpools are available.

Christmas House is Awesome….

and Sharing Wheels needs your help to fix up bikes for low income kids. For over 10 years Sharing Wheels has been giving bikes to Christmas House and this year will be no exception. We have 90 bikes to get ready and will be having work parties in November and December to make that happen.

Christmas House is a 100% volunteer, non-profit organization in Everett, Washington that provides an opportunity for qualifying, low-income, Snohomish County parents to select free holiday gifts for their children age infant – 18 yrs old. Many people contribute to the success of Christmas House – including Sharing Wheels volunteers.  Christmas House helps put bright smiles on the faces of over 10,000 children in Snohomish County on Christmas morning.

Christmas House Bikes

Christmas House Bikes
Every year it is hard for me to think about Christmas. It can be a very stressful time with family expectations and demands placed on me all while the days are getting darker. Once we start delivering bikes to Christmas House here in Everett I start feeling better about the holiday.
Christmas House serves around 3,000 families in less than 3 weeks. That translates into around 10,000 children.
The stress for a single parent to make the holiday special for their children is much more significant than my stress over what I am going to get for my grown brother.
Today we delivered another 29 bikes to Christmas House and will do one more delivery next week.
We are a very small part of Christmas House but hopefully a big part of at least one child’s christmas hope.

There was an amazing article written in the Everett Herald newspaper all about ways to help around the holidays, and what do you know, we were in it! Come check us out and discover new ways to help out during the holidays. We sent a bunch of bikes to Christmas House and we are hoping to send 50-60 more! Help here is very appreciated and we love all of our amazing volunteers. http://heraldnet.com/article/20121118/NEWS01/711189989/0/SEARCH Image