News Uncategorized

Channel to Mediterranean

From June 17 to June 30, our Executive Director Christy Cowley embarked on a 14 day, guided ride across France. Starting on the northern Normandy coast at Ouistreham on the English Channel, she rode southwards for approximately 870 miles through the stunning French countryside. Experiencing the Loire Valley, Puy-de-Dome and Provence, she finished the tour near Nice on the Mediterranean Sea.

Christy’s Route

Her group numbered 24 cyclists with 3 guides, one of which rode with the group and acted as the sweeper to ensure everyone was kept on the correct course. The other two drove the ‘brew vans’, which would meet them at mile 15 and then again after lunch at about mile 55 to provide much needed fuel and liquid throughout the day. In Europe, brew typically implies coffee and tea, not beer. The riders luggage was transported to their accommodations each day, so they didn’t have to worry about lugging it on their bikes.

The group at the ‘Brew Van’

The ride took place almost exclusively on local roads, with a few miles on paved trails. “We were rarely on roads with much traffic. When cars did pass us, they always gave plenty of room to the cyclists,” Christy recalled. “Traffic didn’t get heavy until the final days as we got closer to Nice. Most of the days we were in very unpopulated areas of France. But even on the heavy traffic days, the drivers were careful to give us space.” They crossed the entire country and not a single car honked or tried to run her off the road! 

During her ride, Christy experienced a wide range of temperatures, from heat, cold, rain and even hail. On the final day of riding, there was a serious rain and hail storm so the rider took cover in the tunnels with the cars, whom also took shelter in the tunnels to wait out the storm. 2 hours later they were swimming in the Mediterranean.

Taking shelter from the storm

Great food and spectacular views

France is renowned for its food, and there was no shortage of good food to eat. Staying away from the fried foods like the french fries, or frites, they dined on Croissants, yogurt, fruit and eggs every morning. “We always looked forward to the lunch stops at local restaurants (provided by the tour) or picnics in the countryside,” Christy said. “I honestly forgot what it felt like to be hungry.”

Christy said that one of the most spectacular days was on day 13 when they rode into the Gorges du Verdon. This stunning gorge is the second largest in the world after the Grand Canyon. They started the ascent near the azure waters of the Lake de Saint Croix and slowly pedaled their way to the top of the gorge. The most beautiful aquamarine Verdon River greeted them at the bottom of the descent, and yes, “I did take a dip to cool down.”

Gorges du Verdon

Another standout was the ascent of Mont Ventoux. “The climb was on Day 11 so we had 10 days to fret and chat about it,” Christy said. “It’s a long, slow grind just as advertised, so I just found the (slow) pedal cadence that I could comfortably maintain and tried to enjoy every single moment. Conditions were perfect, low 70s with cloud cover. The descent was a blast!”

Christy atop Mont Ventoux

Fixing a flat

Asked about a nice detail about the trip, Christy recalled an experience with a flat tire. “At the end of one of the rainy days we were about 5 miles from our hotel and completely drenched. One of the riders got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. Well, almost nowhere. There happened to be one small country house and a lady popped out in her raincoat and umbrella,” Christy said.

“She spoke only French and we spoke only English. At some point as she was speaking (really fast in French) I heard the word ‘garage’. I repeated the word and she turned around and led us into her garage so we could fix the flat out of the rain. It was such a kind gesture and she was happy to watch as we repaired the flat, all the while talking in French and smiling. With the flat repaired, she guided us out of her garage and waved goodbye.”

Fixing a flat
News Uncategorized Volunteers

Who you know helps Sharing Wheels

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

Not all of our volunteers refurbish bikes…

Some people can serve as champions of our organization and send a simple email to help us reach our goals. Meet Piper Peterson who did just that last November when we realized we were short on kid bikes for our annual Holiday Kid Bike Giveaway. 

Piper sent an email to her large network of friends requesting gently-used kid bikes and hours later the bike donations came pouring in. The generosity from the community was amazing.

Piper’s support for Sharing Wheels went beyond sending an email.

Thank you, Piper, for spending so many hours collecting, storing, and arranging transport of 87 kid bikes.*  We ultimately met our goal of donating 131 kid bikes to low income families, thanks to Piper and all of the volunteers who helped refurbish donated bikes.

If you have considered volunteering at Sharing Wheels, but have no interest in refurbishing bikes, please reach out to me or join our next monthly volunteer orientation meeting to learn more about the ways you can help Sharing Wheels.

* Much of the credit for transporting kids bikes last year goes to long-time Sharing Wheels volunteer Larry Williamson. He is a stalwart of our kids bike program. Larry and Piper both live in Edmonds – and now they know they have a shared passion for getting bikes to kids.


GiveBIG for Bikes

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

At Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop we continue to support the most vulnerable people in the Pacific Northwest by providing affordable bikes and bike repair services to low/no income households. 

It’s May and the time of year for our annual GiveBIG campaign, so I’m reaching out to everyone asking for support. Families who rely on bicycles as their primary form of transportation rely on us to be open, staffed and stocked with free and affordable inventory to keep them rolling.

Donations help us meet these needs and we couldn’t provide any of our services without the generosity of all our donors.

After reviewing some of our major accomplishments from last year, please consider making a financial donation this month so we can continue to do good in our community.

Together, with my board of directors, we will match every dollar up to the first $3000 donated to help us meet our goal of $6000! 

Recap of 2020:

  • 116 volunteers gave 2600 hours of service – many volunteers took bikes home to clean and repair while our shop was closed due to COVID.
  • 350 adult bikes were salvaged/donated, repaired and ‘released’ back into the community.
  • 194 kid bikes were repaired and then given to low income families in and around the Everett, WA area.
  • 130 people (75% reported as “low income”) stopped in to use our free DIY space, tools and knowledge to fix their own bikes. 
  • 12 formerly homeless/at risk individuals graduated from our Earn A Bike program; learning to perform minor bike repairs and earning a fully-equipped refurbished bike.

I post this request knowing that you each have your own causes you love and support. This organization may not be the primary place you want to put your charitable dollars. But I hope you will consider a gift – large or small – to show support for Sharing Wheels and our mission: Keeping people and bikes moving through empowerment, affordability, sustainability and education.

kids bikes News Uncategorized

Kids Bike Swap June 9th!

We’ve been preparing for months for this big weekend and the weather looks like it’ll be a wonderfully bike friendly day! Thank you to the Herald’s Stephanie Davey for the great write up! There’s still time to volunteer, wrench on some kids bikes now through Saturday or sign up for a shift helping out the day of! We still need some non mechanic volunteers to fill in with check in, check out , helmet fitting & clean up. Sign up here

Kids Bike Swap

Kids Bike Swap Sunday June 9, 2019

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


in the back parking lot

A parent or guardian must come with each child to the Swap.

Russ N. checks out a bike at Kids Bike Swap 2012

Kids can trade in the bike they have outgrown and pick out a bike that fits them. Kids donate their old bike, and receive credit for the value based on its size and condition. A parent or guardian must be present at the Swap.

The credit can be used towards purchasing a bigger bicycle, which can costs an extra. Typically, when a bike is swapped, the family is able to take home their newly refurbished ride for $20 or less. Cash or checks  preferred. We also accept credit cards.

A free helmet comes with every bike – and we’ll make sure it fits!

About Swap Bikes

Bicycles with wheel sizes from 12-inches to 24-inches are ready for trading.

If your child needs a larger bicycle, we may be able to accommodate them.

All bikes are safety checked and refurbished by Sharing Wheels volunteers before they enter the Swap.

Swap Hours

No bikes will be swapped before 10 a.m. If you arrive early, please stay out of our “bicycle  coral.” If you arrive really early, we might even put you to work helping set up.

Before 12 noon, you must bring a bicycle to swap for credit to enter the Swap. After 12 noon, bicycles can be purchased for the value listed, without the need to trade.

The Swap closes at 2 p.m

News Uncategorized Volunteers

Seeking Board Members

Updated March 2019

Do you like bikes and want to give back to your community? Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is seeking volunteers for our nonprofit board of directors.

We have at least two and up to four openings. Submit a board_application (PDF) anytime – mail or bring to shop.

Board members support our mission of “connecting unused bikes to people who need wheels” with hands-on governance and enthusiasm. You don’t need to get greasy – we are looking for people with experience and expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Nonprofit or business management
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Fundraising and grants
  • Retail or business services
  • Everett community connections

Board members commit to monthly Board and committee meetings. We are updating vision and goals for 2019, keeping our growing shop aligned with our longterm mission of “connecting unused bikes to people who needs wheels.”

We seek Board members who bring a diversity of age, race, cultural background, economic background, and experience. Board members are usually elected to one-year terms each January, but can also be appointed by the board at any time.

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 or 425-923-7868.


Benefit Concert May 18 @ Zippy’s

32169514_1693016160733474_8160210860493504512_n5 to 9 p.m. May 18

Cafe Zippy, 1502 Rucker Ave., Everett

Celebrate Bike Everywhere Day on Friday May 18th with live music from local talent at Cafe Zippy, just north of downtown Everett.
Tickets $10 at the door. Good food and drinks for sale, plus raffle baskets & “Pass the Cone” to raise funds for Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop.
This benefit concerts helps fund our programs to serve low income adults and kids.
For updates head over to the Benefit Concert Facebook event.



Meet our new shop manager

Santa bike mechanic

Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop has hired our first-ever paid shop manager, Josh Pfister.

Josh has been a long-time volunteer with Sharing Wheels, and started working for us this summer as a bike mechanic.

He has worked at the Marysville Bike Shop and at Bicycle Centres in Everett. His preferred mode of transportation is an old Bridgestone set up as a singlespeed.

As shop manager, Josh will oversee daily shop operations, ensure quality repairs and outstanding customer service (he’s a very friendly guy), and work with the Board of Directors to promote our shop’s development and growth.

Thanks to a head start from volunteers during the United Way Day of Caring in September, Josh has been busy reorganizing the shop. Things look a lot different if you haven’t been by lately!

The job is part-time, but has allowed us to open the shop 4 days a week instead of just 3. Our Saturday hours are funded by a grant from the City of Everett.

Volunteers continue to be essential part of our nonprofit community bike shop. Stop by to meet Josh and see how you can help.