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

Summer at the Shop

We’ve had some great new volunteers at the shop these past few months as people helped us prepare for the Kids Bike Swaps in June and July.

Bikes for kids are a good cause to support, and perhaps people are not as intimidated about working on kids bikes. They sound easy, but in truth kids bikes can take lots of time due to hard wear and cheap parts.

For the rest of the summer we’ll take a break from kids bikes* . Volunteers are still needed, however. We fix adult bikes year-round to get them back on the road at a reasonable price  – and to pay the rent.

A basic principle of Sharing Wheels is that bikes are for everyone. So is our shop. Stop in during shop hours to turn a wrench, help with “paperwork” (might be on our computer), pet Tango or assist with housekeeping, literal or figurative. There’s always something to do and people who love bikes of all types at Sharing Wheels.

*See you in the fall when we get bikes ready for Christmas House.

Kids Bike Swap, Ready or Not

Work Party Crew
Darren, Tony, Anna and Vince with the bike of some kid’s dreams.

Lots of volunteers in the shop today helping get kids bikes ready for the Kids Bike Swap next Sunday, June 10. Feel free to stop by the shop during open hours this week to get greasy for an hour or two.

Kids bikes can be really easy – or really hard, since manufacturers do not generally build them for the long-term. Either way, getting a bike ready to continue its life with a new kid who wants it is very gratifying.

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Gen’s favorite part of the work party was test riding bicycles. But he also learned where to find serial numbers for the bike tags.

You also get to use tools you don’t usually pickup in a bike shop – this Huffy had a hammer taken to the wheel, along with vice grips. And some hairspray for the new grips.

There’s something for all skill levels to do, from pumping tires to adjusting a loose hub. You learn a lot working on kids bikes, including how heavy they are!

 

Tango the Shop Dog

When you come to the shop, don’t be surprised to be greeted by the cutest little critter this side of canine.

Even if you don’t like dogs, we promise he won’t intimidate you or bother you – just tell him “no.”

But, if you tell him to “dance,” he just might do that. He’d also be happy to chase a ball or eat some grease off the floor.

That’s Tango, the shop dog.

Some days, he arrives by bike. He rides, but he doesn’t pedal. If his mom is riding up a hill, she might kick him off the bike and make him run alongside. That makes Tango happy.

So does hanging out with Sharing Wheels volunteers.

P.S. – If you ask Kristi, “What kind of dog is Tango?” she will tell you he’s a “golden wow-wow.” That means a mix of golden retriever and chihuahua. Or is he a daschund-chihuahua, also known as a “chi-weinie.” Ah heck – he’s a mutt!