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 EducationSharing 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: firstname.lastname@example.org