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Donations kids bikes News Volunteers

Support Surged in 2020

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Sharing Wheels is not currently accepting donations of bikes for kids or adults – the shop is full!*

Despite COVID-19 limits on our retail sales and volunteer events, Sharing Wheels remained a hub of activity in 2020. We needed the community to step up to support our programs, and that’s exactly what happened.

More than 75 volunteers helped prepare a record 151 new and used bikes for our holiday bike program  We matched up about 100 kids bikes directly with families by referral from other nonprofits. Christmas House, our longtime partner in the kids bike program, connected us with clients, volunteers, new bikes and helmets, and even stored bikes we’d repaired until we could get them to families.

Many people donated gently-used bikes.  Individual financial donations to Sharing Wheels doubled in 2020, to $32,000.

The Stillaguamish Tribe awarded a $5,400 grant to support Sharing Wheels kids bike programs and volunteers. A City of Everett Community Development Block Grant allowed us to give maintenance classes and bikes to 12 low income adults this year. The Everett Port Gardner Rotary continued an annual grant of $2,000 to support the shop’s free self-help repair services.

“Interest in bicycles boomed this year because people of all ages needed to feel the freedom that comes from riding outside,” Sharing Wheels Executive Director Christy Cowley said. “We also help many low income people who use bikes because they are the most affordable, efficient way to get around town.”

*If you need a bike, the shop has an excellent selection of refurbished adult bikes. The shop is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Volunteer opportunities are available. Please complete a volunteer application on our website.

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kids bikes News Volunteers

Thank you, Volunteers!

By: Christy Cowley, Executive Director

Thanks to all of YOU who participated in this year’s Holiday Kid Bike program, more than 150 Snohomish County kids will get a bike this Christmas. We had 75 volunteers donate over 400 hours these past few months.  All of you helped clean, repair, transport, store and even purchase bikes for our annual giveaway. We matched 100 bikes directly with low/no income families this past weekend with an additional 50 bikes distributed to our non-profit partners including; The Salvation Army, Dawson’s Place, Interfaith Family Shelter and Domestic Violence Services. The outpouring of generosity from all corners of our local community was tremendous! Groups of families and friends, Redmond Police Department, Cascade and BIKES Club of Snohomish County Members, Local Eagle Scouts, and so many individual contributors made up our volunteer task force this year. Thank you for all the support.

Redmond Police Department – Bike Squad
Henry A. in repair mode

We recognized early in November that the needs were much greater this year and that we wouldn’t have enough bikes to fulfill all the family requests. Enter Eagle Scout, Henry Amend, and The Everett Sail and Power Squadron who separately started their own fundraising campaigns and raised enough funds to purchase 61 brand new kid bikes to fill the gap. A special thank you to them and all the folks who contributed to their campaigns.

 

 

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Donations News

Invest in Sharing Wheels

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President
Sharing Wheels has long struggled to have enough space for our bikes, people and programs. With COVID, that weakness threatens our mission. We’ve had to limit the number of people in the shop to 3. Our space to store and repair bikes is limited. Our convoluted back entrance limits our visibility and accessibility.
We expected 2020 to be a transition year, one where we invested reserves to help our new part-time executive director grow our organization into the future. Instead, reserves have had to replace revenue lost to COVID. We can’t keep doing that in 2021.
You can help. If you believe in bicycles and the people who ride them, consider a year-end donation to Sharing Wheels. Our goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of the year.
Funding will enable Sharing Wheels to have the space and staffing we need to continue offering our essential services.

Giving TwoWheels Day

Sharing Wheels has our own take on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1). We are asking supporters to “give two wheels” instead. It costs $25 to $75 in new parts and labor to refurbish a donated kid or adult bike. Donate enough to repair one bike, or two, or to fully equip a bike for someone’s daily transportation ($250).
Gifts through Dec. 15 will be doubled thanks to a matching challenge.

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News

Bikes Still Mean Freedom

Older man stands with his bike at bus station
Gary loves his “new” Univega Range Rover.

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Remember the joy of riding a bicycle as a child? Your whole world expanded because you could coast on two wheels.

2020 has been a year of limitations for all of us – where we go, who we see, how close we can get. Being on a bicycle still feels freeing, though.

Despite major changes to our usual kids bike events this year, Sharing Wheels volunteers refurbished about 150 bikes matched with low income families. While many volunteers stayed home due to COVID, you took bikes home to repair and bring back.

Affordable bikes were sold out at retail bike shops, but we still had – and have – a great variety to choose from. We’ve been able to keep up with record demand thanks to hundreds of bicycle donations (prompted by COVID-inspired cleaning).

I helped many people pick out their first bike in years. Customers bought bikes to use for transportation, to make up for closed gyms, to have a healthy way for families to be together outside. Biking has been an important escape for so many of us, myself included. Riding into the shop across the tidally-influenced Snohomish River reminds me that the world is still out there, ebbing and flowing.

An 80-year-old with a tear in his eye told me: “This is the best bike I’ve ever had in my life.” Gary got his refurbished Univega Range Rover from Sharing Wheels as part of a grant program funded by the City of Everett. The bike had fenders, a rack, and a bag full of tools to fix a flat tire – a skill participants learned as part of the program. Gary and I were at Everett Station, practicing how to put his new, lightweight bike on the bus.

Gary described his son as his caretaker, but the bike means Gary can get around on his own. Next year, riding 200 miles from Seattle to Portland is on Gary’s bucket list.

Bikes mean freedom, no matter your age.

Support our work with a year-end donation.

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Donations News

Learn & Earn-A-Bike 2020

This year, despite COVID challenges, we managed a City of Everett grant-funded program that provided bikes and bike training to low income adults. Most will be using the bikes for everyday transportation, including Traci, a mom of 4 kids.

After a difficult marriage to a veteran with PTSD, Traci is now divorced, living with her mom, and back at school to become a pastry chef. She doesn’t own a car. “Now I know how I’m going to get to class,” she said. It’s the first bike she’s had since growing up in Montana. Here in Washington, she’ll combine her bike with a bus ride to get from south Everett to Edmonds Community College.

Traci’s 17-year-old daughter hopes to come in to Sharing Wheels to earn her own bike, and to help fix bikes for the littler kids. The Sharing Wheels shop is now a resource for the whole family.

We had 11 people complete the program, all low income Everett residents. Most were referred by partners such as HopeWorks or Domestic Violence Services.

Participants started by meeting the Shop Manager Alain to select a suitable bike. Then they got a one-on-one “fix a flat” and basic maintenance class from Alain. Finally, when their bike was tuned up and fully equipped with fenders, rack and other accessories, we took people on a practice ride around Everett.

An 80-year-old with a tear in his eye told us: “This is the best bike I’ve ever had in my life.” Gary and I were at Everett Station, practicing how to put his refurbished Univega Range Rover on the bus.

Gary described his son as his caretaker, but the bike means Gary can get around on his own. Next year, riding 200 miles from Seattle to Portland is on Gary’s bucket list. Bikes mean freedom, no matter your age.

While our “Earn-A-Bike” grant is over, Sharing Wheels has always found ways to make bikes affordable for people who need them. Donors – of bikes and cash – support programs such as Work for Wheels and free access to the shop for do-it-yourself repairs and advice.

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Home Page Post kids bikes News

Holiday Bike Update

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

It has been a tsunami of activity in the shop this past month with all of the volunteers helping us meet our goal of restoring 75+ kid bikes for the upcoming holiday season. Since October we have had nine work parties with seven more scheduled – so the job will get done! 

The work parties are full, but we’ll need help Dec. 12-13 distributing bikes.

To date we have 400 hours logged in volunteer time, a 100% increase in productivity compared to a ‘normal’ month at Sharing Wheels. COVID adjustments were made (reduced number of people at each work party and allowed volunteers to take bikes home to fix) and they appear to be working just fine.

So, thank you to all of you who have answered the call to help get bikes ready for kids in need this holiday season. There are so many community members to thank for all the recent efforts.

A special shout out to the following:

Everett Sail & Power Squadron who kindly donated 14 brand new kid bikes to our Holiday Give Away program. Our volunteers will get those bikes built and ready for holiday distribution to low/no income families. 

Officer Robert Peterson of the Redmond Police Department who picked up our most challenging kid bikes for the Redmond Officer Bike Team to repair.

Mike D. and Greg M. for storing all of our finished kid bikes. If you have been to the shop lately, you know we are buried in bikes so having the finished bikes stored safely and securely off site has been a huge relief.

And thank you Larry W. and Mike D. for transporting bikes to our off-site storage!

Bruce M. and Tony S. for hosting our Tuesday/Thursday night work parties. Thank you both for taking the lead and mentoring the volunteers of all skill levels.

And finally…thank you to Alain Cansino, our shop manager, and our only in-shop paid employee. In addition to managing the everyday operations at Sharing Wheels, he has done an outstanding job of quality checking every kid bike and ensuring we have all the parts in stock to keep this important community project moving forward. 

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News Volunteers

New Incentives for Volunteers

Join us for a work party or organize your own

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

We all know volunteers are the foundation of Sharing Wheels’ mission of Keeping People and Bikes Moving. We simply couldn’t accomplish our goals without our volunteers. What you may not know is that we no longer have our volunteers simply cleaning and wrenching bikes. 

Volunteer roles have expanded to include Customer Service Representative, Bike Maintenance Instructor, New Volunteer Mentor, and Newsletter CoEditor.

This year 73 volunteers donated 1600 hours of service to our organization and 4 Super Volunteers have donated more than 200 hours each.

Sharing Wheels loves to recognize the efforts of volunteers and for many years offered shop discounts and wholesaler special order pricing. Now, we would like to expand our volunteer rewards program and offer additional incentives to show our continued appreciation. These include:

  • 10 hours/month allows you to make special orders through our wholesaler at cost plus 20%
  • 3 bike work parties earns you $20 credit on anything at the shop.
  • 15 hours you receive a 50% discount off any Sharing Wheels bike maintenance class, plus NEW free classes just for volunteers to build skills.
  • 50 hours, you earn a Sharing Wheels soft and comfy t-shirt.  
  • 60 hours, you will receive a 50% discount off any used parts or bike in the shop.
  • 200 hours, you earn a bike multitool
  • 500 hours, you earn a Sharing Wheels fleece vest. 

We are always looking to grow our volunteer base so we can continue to provide such an important resource to Snohomish County. If you’d like to get started volunteering with Sharing Wheels, email me.

Fix Kids Bikes – with friends or at home

Speaking of Volunteers – the holidays are just around the corner and we could use lots of help getting 50+ kid bikes in tip-top shape for the low-income families in our community. Work parties are scheduled 5:30-8:30pm every Tuesday and Thursday in October and November. To comply with the public health guidelines, work parties will be limited to 5 volunteers and masks are required. 

Reserve your spot and meet new friends, or request your own private work party with friends and/or family! 

Prefer to avoid the ‘party’ and work on bikes in your own garage? Not a problem, just contact Alain at the shop and he will get you set up to take a bike (or two) home for repair.