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kids bikes News

Kids Bikes Bring Joy

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

Thanks to so many of our loyal (and brand new) volunteers who donated much of their time, we managed to successfully gift 118 refurbished kid bikes to deserving families in our community this holiday season.

All the work started back in October when we encouraged neighbors and friends to sign up and help at one of our 19 scheduled workshop parties. The spirit of wanting to help children in need was great and giving back time and energy is what so many of you did.

A total of 39 folks donated 200 hours of their time cleaning, repairing, and distributing the kid bikes just in time for the holidays. Thanks to the generosity of the Stillaguamish Tribe, Sharing Wheels was able to purchase hundreds of new parts to make each bike safe, shiny and ready to ride.

A total of 118 bikes were delivered to non-profit partners including Christmas House, Housing Hope, Domestic Violence Services, Millennia Ministries, and Dawson Place. We are so grateful to these valued nonprofit partners who take the time to successfully match each bike with a family in need.

I cannot end without giving a special ‘shout-out’ to our work party hosts Larry, Tony, and Ion who once again did a spectacular job of leading and mentoring the volunteer crews and keeping everyone well-fueled during their shifts. Thank you, guys, for your continued dedication and willingness to manage the kid-bike holiday program.

There will always be kids who need bikes, so please, everyone, plan on joining us in 2022 for another successful event. Happy holidays and ride safely!

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Donations kids bikes News Volunteers

Year-End Giving

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Sharing Wheels would not have made it through the COVID challenges of 2020 without a doubling of support from our donors and supporters.

We still need your support. As we enter the winter months, our bike sales slow and our bank account drops. Our budget relies on one thing to maintain our free programs, staff and open shop: You.

You may already be a volunteer, a bike donor, or a customer. We hope you will be a financial donor as well. Give a little if that’s all your budget allows, or give more to help cover for people who can’t donate as much.

Our goal is raising $15,000 to keep people and bikes moving.

All donations made by Dec. 20 will be matched by our board and supporters, so your money goes twice as far.*

How do your donations impact people’s lives? Bikes bring joy, get people places, develop skills, build community.

“I rode the bike everywhere and every single day, for appointments,  groceries … I came home wet on rainy days, but the fun part – me and my kids love getting wet in rain.” –

Prapti, recipient of a bike and trailer through our Community Bikes program
  • $30 fixes a kids bike – we’re giving away 100+ kids bikes for the holidays
  • $50 covers minor repairs & parts to get someone back on the road
  • $100 gives a Community Bike, lock, lights and helmet to an adult in need
  • $150 sends our Mobile Repair Clinic out to fix bikes for free

We welcome gifts at all levels. The board has also set goals to get

  • 30 gifts of $50
  • 10 past donors to increase their gift to $100

Come by the shop anytime to see your gifts at work. Some of my favorite moments this past year have been watching our customers and clients help each other – like when the homeless guy helped a woman load her new bike in her car as his way of giving back for a free repair, or when amateur mechanics crowd around a bike trying to diagnose a problem.

Your support of Sharing Wheels makes these interactions possible. Thank you for keeping people and bikes moving.

*All gifts up to $7,500 will be matched by additional donations from our supporters. You may also work for a company that does corporate matching, such as Boeing, Microsoft or Salesforce.

See our 2020 Annual Report. Save the date for our Annual Meeting & Elections: Jan. 26 via Zoom.

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News Volunteers

Seeking Board Members

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. For the past few years, Sharing Wheels has been in a period of change and growth.

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
  • Lived experience in overcoming challenges such as addiction

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

The board currently meets monthly via Zoom. Elections to 1-year terms are held in January at our annual meeting. Board appointments can also happen anytime. Right now, we seeking candidates for the 2022 election who will serve 1 to 3 years.

The Board Responsibilities (PDF) document describes the basic expectations of our board, along with links to background documents such as our Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, Annual Report, Budget, and Board Member Agreement.

Board president Kristin Kinnamon is happy to discuss the board role and answer any questions via email, phone, Zoom or by meeting at the shop.

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News Volunteers

COVID safety at the shop

October 2021

Masks are required inside our bike shop. Our paid staff is fully vaccinated, and we hope volunteers and customers are as well (find a free COVID vaccination nearby) .

However, we have a variety of people in our small shop every day. We try to stay physically distant when we can, but it is common to get close to each other when looking at or working on bikes together. Wear a mask over your mouth and nose when in the shop we have extras if you forget yours.

Stay home if you don’t feel well. Volunteers, please let us know if you can’t make a planned shift (call 425-252-6952 or email ). We’ll manage without you.

Wash your hands. We have hand sanitizer and gloves in the shop, or you can use soap and water in our restroom.

Keep surfaces clean. Wipe down tools and surfaces at the end of your shift. We have disinfecting wipes and spray. 

Air & ventilation: We open doors when weather permits to improve air flow. We have a commercial-sized air purifier running whenever the shop is open, along with fans as needed.

Capacity limits. We try to limit the shop to 5 people at one time. Volunteer work parties max out at 5 as well, plus one lead volunteer. Our garage space can be used for DIY repair projects without impacting shop capacity. If the shop is full, please wait in the garage until someone leaves.

Categories
classes News

Bikes for adults make an impact on moms

At Sharing Wheels, we know bikes are not just for kids or for men who race in France. Moms love bikes, too. Last year the City of Everett funded our “Learn & Earn” a bike program which provided bikes and basic bike training to 12 very low income adults in our community. Two of the most grateful participants were moms with young children. In addition to adult bikes, they got kid carriers and a bike for an older child so they could bring the kids along.

“I rode the bike everywhere and every single day, for appointments, groceries, with my kids mostly to shops, parks and neighborhood. Me and my kids love getting wet in the rain – the faster we ride, the rain hits our face and we laugh together. It was fun,” said one mom whose family is going through a difficult divorce.

Another mom thanked us for making lives easier during this difficult time: “I haven’t ridden a bike this much since I was in middle school. The classes help me fix other people’s tires and repair my own flats. Thanks for being a valuable asset in the community.”

This year’s revised “Community Bikes” program also targets very low income adults who need a lift.

Our first participant Jeannie had been feeling down, and knew a bike ride would make her feel less depressed. She has spent weeks in the hospital and hasn’t been able to work for awhile due to health issues. But her son’s bike was broken and the family’s other bike didn’t fit her.

She hoped she could trade them in at Sharing Wheels for a bike that worked. Well, we don’t do trade-ins (keeps us out of the stolen or quick-money bike business).

Thanks to generous donors, we have more than enough good, quality bikes in the shop. We’ve set aside some of those as Community Bikes. Jeannie earned her bike by taking a Fix A Flat class and volunteering in the shop. She’s in love with her new Schwinn. She plans to keep her blues away by biking every day.

Thanks to Sharing Wheels supporters for helping make biking accessible to people of all incomes, and reducing the gender gap in U.S. bicycling.

Categories
News Volunteers

Meet Don

New volunteer loves classic bikes

Don began volunteering with Sharing Wheels in November 2020 and has already donated nearly 100 hours of his time! He has personally repaired, in the comfort and safety of his home garage, many of the ‘classics’ we have currently listed for sale in our shop.  We wanted to get to know a little more about him, so we asked him a few questions…

How did you first hear about Sharing Wheels?

In October 2020, my neighbor saw Sharing Wheels featured on the evening news. He emailed me “this sounds like it is right up your alley”. He could not have been more spot-on! 

What is it about the Sharing Wheels mission that connects with you and why?
The bicycle is such an affordable tool for transportation and recreation. Many of the bikes donated are from the 1970-90s and are simply in need of basic maintenance and replacement of consumable parts. Volunteer labor makes them affordable. The uneven distribution of resources in the world limits opportunity for many. We help level that a bit.  

Do you have a good “bike story” to share?
My romance with the bicycle goes back to riding a too big coaster brake bike, as many of us did. My first “project bike” came from the city dump, a 3-speed in need of much repair. I could not afford the prices at Chuck Dann’s Sporting Goods or the local Schwinn Shop so I ordered my white wall tires from the Montgomery Ward Store. I could not get everything from mail order, and since I was walking, I brazenly walked into the Schwinn Shop with my new tires to buy what I needed.  Apparently, Chuck did not hold it against me because later he offered me a job. Years later, that helped me get a job at Parkland Cycle doing repairs in the evening, while I attended vocational school.

Taking a break from my vocation I dropped into Fulton’s Bike and Mower in 1974 and spoke with Phyllis Fulton seeking employment as a bicycle mechanic. During our conversation her daughter Karolyn, stopped in and we were introduced. She left and went across the street to the pay phone, called her mom, and encouraged her to hire me. I worked there for two years and earned enough money to get married.

In August 1977, Karolyn and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in the San Juan Islands at a primitive campground with our Ford Falcon, our REI “Pup Tent” and our bicycles. We were camped right off the beach where the Washington State Ferries passed through the channel between us and the nearby island. We watched an eagle swoop down and catch a salmon, it was a wonderful spot. The book, Bicycling the Back Roads of Washington, had a nice ride starting from our campsite. After riding for what seemed like forever, we reached an undisclosed “No Trespassing” sign. After a short discussion we made a hasty dash and I am sure made some disparaging remarks about our guide book.

After days of heat and dust we treated ourselves to two nights at the ‘Hotel De Haro’, anxious for a warm shower and a good night’s sleep. Alas, the water main broke the previous day and there was no shower. Better yet, somehow the wallpaper between rooms was magically held in place so we could not see but could hear our neighbors, all too well!  

When you are not volunteering at Sharing Wheels, what do you like to do with your time?
In addition to most things bicycle we enjoy reading, camping, visiting our grandchildren, and enabling Boomer, our Golden Retriever, to manage our lives.

Categories
News

Black Pioneers Who Paved The Road

Recognizing the determination and grit of the 25th Bicycle Regiment

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

It doesn’t take a genius to know who is going to win at a lane grab driving down the highway at 80mph next to an 18-wheeler with blinkers rapidly flashing. I learned this lesson early on a 4-day cross-country journey with my son. We headed out in his well-worn SUV packed with a mattress, clothes, and his beloved bike on our way to Pittsburgh to get him settled into graduate school. This was my third college drop off trip, but the first to take me across America. As we crossed the northern states, passing and being passed by countless vehicles, I imagined the millions of people who had made the same trek before us on foot, wagon, and bicycle – especially on bicycle.

Our first stop was Missoula, MT and it reminded me of a fascinating bicycling American history story I once heard. In 1896 the 25th Infantry, an all-black company based out of Missoula, MT, were volunteered by their white commanding officer to study the practicality of bicycles in the military. Most of the soldiers had no biking experience, and the 2000 mile journey they were ordered to make on 60 pound, gearless, steel- rimmed bikes surely tested their strength, but might also prove that bicycle-mounted troops have a place in the military.  These soldiers were the predecessors of the modern-day gravel riders; avoiding roads, carrying 55lbs of gear, camping on the land, albeit for duty rather than recreation.  Their arduous journey from Missoula to St. Louis on bicycle is well documented in short videos and articles and is worth a read if you are not familiar with the story.

Sharing Wheels has plenty of bikes and accessories to equip a modern-day cyclist, so don’t start your next journey without first stopping by our shop and having a look at all our biking equipment. And, if you happen to be traveling east by car, rather than a bike, just remember to always give way to the colossal steel on wheels with the flashing lights moving towards your lane.