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2019 Annual Report

Committing to Our Mission

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Every nonprofit should have a purpose, a problem you are trying to solve. Simply getting bikes is not the problem, for us or our customers. We had more than 300 bikes donated to us last year!

The problem is that bikes need maintenance and repairs. And people don’t have the tools or know-how to fix them. That’s the basis for our new mission statement:

 Keeping People and Bikes Moving – with E.A.S.E.

Sharing Wheels Mission

We spell out how we achieve our mission below. To keep focused on it, we hired our first (part-time) executive director at the end of the year. A new shop manager starts in January 2020. But the most important work of Sharing Wheels could not be done without our volunteers. 

We couldn’t repair all the bikes, help customers fix their own bikes, or make the impact that we do without dedicated volunteers giving us their time and talents. Volunteers keep bikes affordable, empower people with one-on-one mentoring, learn bike maintenance themselves, and make our nonprofit sustainable.  50 people gave 1,800 hours last year – equal to a full-time staff person.

Empowerment

Open Shop: The tools and bike stands at Sharing Wheels are available for anyone to use, no charge. Free advice is provided by Sharing Wheels staff or experienced volunteers. 4-10 people each week; 73% identify as low income.

Bike Lights: Low income customers who use their bikes for daily transportation can get free front and rear lights.  37 lights installed.

Affordability

Bike & Parts Sales: Sales of refurbished bikes and used parts are the main source of income for Sharing Wheels. We make sure to have bikes at all price points, so everyone can afford a decent ride. 250 bikes sold.

Work for Wheels: Customers without cash can volunteer time in the shop to earn the parts or bike they need to get around.  10 work-trade participants.

Sustainability

Kids Bikes: Volunteers fix used kids bikes each spring and fall for our Kids Bike Swap and Christmas House programs. We add the new parts and elbow grease needed to keep old bikes going for a new generation. 102 bikes went home with kids during our June Bike Swap. 108 bikes donated to Christmas House.

Bikes to Africa: Some bikes that would never sell still have value. We donate excess bicycles to the Village Bike Project and Vision 224. 111 bikes to Africa

Education

Repair Classes: We had only a few formal bike maintenance classes in 2019, but have recommitted to this important part of our mission in 2020.

Events: County Earth Day, Bike Everywhere Day, WSU Repair Cafes, Family Rides in Arlington and Marysville. Riverside Neighborhood National Night Out.

WorkSource Intern: We hosted a young man for 90 hours of job training.

2019 Budget

Adopted budget.

Revenue

Bike Sales$37,248
Parts Sales23,580
Donations$17,400
Grants$10,500
Classes$1,472
Total$96,200

 

 

Expenses

Salaries$55,002
Bike Parts$14,599
Rent$10,500
Insurance/Fees$6,650
Administrative$2,775
Other Shop$4,800
Total$94,236

Grants & In-Kind Support

  • Nysether Family Foundation – $6,500 grant 
  • BIKES Club of Snohomish County – $2,000 grant
  • Everett Port Gardner Rotary Club – $1,750 grant
  • Tulalip Tribes – $1,000 grant
  • Boeing Employee matching funds – $1,000
  • Sno-Isle Food CoOp – $917 “register round-up” donation, meeting space
  • Evergreen Unitarian Universalist Church – $500 donation, group work party
  • Snohomish Giving Circle – $400 donation
  • 501 Commons – Satterberg Foundation – in-kind support

 

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Social Distance Challenge

Like many businesses, Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is currently closed. But the Everett nonprofit is taking this time to promote biking through the “Social Distance Challenge.”

Many families have taken the “stay home and stay healthy” orders as a chance to get outside with their kids and rediscover the joy of riding bicycles. Roads are less busy and many people are looking for new activities. Regular bicyclists have struggled with the cancellation of group rides and major bike events.

Biking with your dog (aka family) still counts as social distancing.

Enter the Sharing Wheels bike-riding challenge. “Keep your ‘social distance’ while going the distance” is the event’s motto. Participants are encouraged to bike 10 times or 250 miles during the month of April and to log the rides online. Prizes will be drawn randomly from everyone who completes the challenge by the end of the month. Special certificates will be awarded for most miles and most days ridden.

“It’s easy to get depressed and inactive when being told to stay away from people,” says Sharing Wheels Board President Kristin Kinnamon. “Riding a bike boosts your immune system, your heart rate and your mood.” The goal is healthy fun on your bike, not competition.

The Sharing Wheels shop is closed to the public, but basic bike tools are available in the shop garage for do-it-yourself fixes. Bikes are being sold online, and the shop manager is answering the phone.

“We’re looking forward to restarting maintenance classes, volunteer work parties, and in-person bike sales,” Kinnamon said. “Until then, we hope people pull their own bikes out of the garage and go for a ride.”

The Sharing Wheels Social Distance Challenge is setup as a group within the Bike Everywhere Challenge hosted by Washington Bikes. That statewide challenge starts in May.

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Coronavirus Closure

UPDATED MARCH 27

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop supports essential transportation for many people who are at risk for severe illness should they contract coronavirus.  We benefit from the time and talents of many senior-age volunteers, also considered vulnerable to the virus.

It’s hard to keep a bike shop clean. And it’s hard to help someone fix a bike without getting closer than public health recommends.

In light of these concerns, Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop will be closed to the public starting Wednesday, March 18.

Until then, only four people will be permitted in the shop at one time.  That will allow staff, volunteers and customers to maintain social distancing, clean hands, and clean surfaces.

From mid-March to at least early April the shop will remain closed for most retail and DIY operations. Basic tools and a bike stand will be available in the shop garage for people who need to fix their own flat or make a minor adjustment. Customers who want to buy a bike in-person can call the shop to make an appointment at 425-252-6952. We also list higher end bikes and a variety of parts on our eBay store.

Sharing Wheels staff will remain at work: repairing bikes, organizing the shop, managing programs, and posting items for online sales.

Regular volunteers can schedule time to assist in the shop. We will be maintaining a 4-person maximum occupancy of our shop space.

The basic bike repair class scheduled for March 25 is rescheduled to May 13.  A plan for the Kids Bike Work Parties scheduled to start in April will be announced at a later date.

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Donations make a difference

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

With a budget of under $100,000, donations both large and small make a big difference for Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop. And we put that money to good use.

We served approximately 1,750  people this past year. Maybe you came in to fix your own bike with our tools? Or perhaps you bought a used part and got some free advice to go with it? Others donated a bike so someone else could ride.

That’s what Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is all about. We keep people and bikes moving.

You can make a difference for a small nonprofit. Our goal is 100 donors, at any amount. With so many of our customers living in poverty, it’s especially important for those of us with a little extra to contribute financially – for ourselves, and for those who can’t.

Your support will help us though a time of change. We’ve just hired our first executive director, Christy Cowley. The job is part-time, with the goal of improving our programs and effectiveness. Josh Pfister, our first paid shop staff, recently moved on to a Seattle bike shop opportunity after 3 years with us. We continue to look for a full-time shop manager.

We remain committed to our mission of empowerment, affordability, sustainability and education. Learn more about our goals for 2020 and see our new shop layout at our Holiday Open House on Dec. 12.

Thanks for supporting Sharing Wheels.

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News Volunteers

Join Our Board

Updated November 2019

Board Application (PDF)

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.

Board members commit to monthly Board meetings, and may take on additional committee or outreach work as well. Expect to give 4 to 8 hours of time each month. You’ll get the satisfaction of helping Sharing Wheels mature and grow. (There are other volunteer benefits, too!)

We have just hired our first executive director and soon a new shop manager. Staff are in charge of running the bike shop, classes, and bike donation programs. The board’s role is to make sure the organization as a whole is funded and serves our mission of “Keeping People and Bikes Moving.”

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

Board members are usually elected to one-year terms each January, but can also be appointed by the board at any time.

We have at least two and up to four openings starting in 2020.

If you are interested, or if you know of someone who you think would be a great Board member, please contact: board president Kristin Kinnamon at bikenbus @gmail.com or 425-923-7868.

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

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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.

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Changes: New Mission, Same Goals

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

Every nonprofit should have a purpose, a problem we are trying to solve. At Sharing Wheels, our tagline for years has been “Connecting unused bikes to people who need wheels.” People donate bike they don’t use to us, we fix them and pass them on.

But we’ve realized recently that getting a bike is really not the biggest problem for our friends and customers. You can find bikes at thrift stores, garage sales, on Craigslist, and in front of many a homeless camp.

The problem is that bikes break. And people don’t know how to fix them.  So people can’t count on their wheels to get around, and bikes get dusty and rusty.

We knew that was something we wanted to help with back in 2002, when we wrote our Articles of Incorporation as a nonprofit. The document describes our purpose as:

  • To provide information and education about bicycles and their maintenance and use
  • To encourage adults and youth to maintain and use bicycles, and
  • To encourage the use of bicycles in Snohomish County as a means of building community and alternative transportation.

If you’ve visited our shop lately, you’ve seen that we have kept true to our purpose all these years. There’s always someone fixing a flat with our tools, getting a bolt for their rack, learning how to adjust their gears.

Each fall and winter dozens of volunteers help us refurbish kids bikes. And while we haven’t successfully hosted any adult repair classes this year, we have a few classes on the schedule this fall and more coming.

A mission statement can be used to help the public understand what an organization does. But it’s also used by the board to judge what we should do. We need to focus our limited resources, staff and volunteers on the things that matter and make the most difference.

That’s why the Sharing Wheels board has spent many hours over the past year discussing and debating our mission. We thought about our current programs, how our shop is used today and how we want it to be used, about the small things we do, and the big picture.

We wanted something simple, that we could remember and recite when we are promoting our work. What our mission boils down to is:

Keeping People and Bikes Moving

To explain how we do that, it’s EASE:

Empowerment: giving people access to tools, shop, and advice

Affordability: A bike for every budget

Sustainability: Reusing and recycling donated bikes

Education: Repair classes for customers, volunteers and community

Our new mission statement is inspiring us to make changes (see Parts 1 and 3), but also to recommit to what we do best: helping people ride bikes.

You can contribute to our mission: By donating a bike, giving money, volunteering at a work party, taking a class, or coming in to see what cool bikes we have fixed up this week.