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.

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