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Mobile bike clinics keep people rolling

Sharing Wheels volunteers fixed almost 180 bikes at free clinics in the community.

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

We’ve gone and done it again for the third year. Partnering with libraries, community centers and WSU Repair Cafe, we’ve offered 26 free bike repair events in Snohomish County this year.* We fixed almost 180 bicycles, plus a few walkers and scooters as well.

The minor bike repairs are completely free thanks to 16 volunteers, who donated 312 hours of their time, and to the The Larson Legacy Foundation, who once again partially funded the purchase of the tools, parts and accessories necessary to run the program.

We never ask for payment at our mobile bike repair clinics, but some people just can’t resist showing their appreciation. Ted was one of those satisfied customers. With no reliable income and only a broken bike to get around town, he came to our monthly clinic at Everett’s Evergreen Library for help. When we were done fixing his bike, he emptied his pockets of all his loose change to thank our volunteers.

The average local bike shop charges $75 an hour for labor, so even basic bike repairs can be way beyond what many people can afford. That’s why we go out into the community to offer help.

Our volunteers helped a wide range of customers in 2023:

  • 43% identified as low or very low income
  • 15% had disabilities
  • 27% were Asian, 12% Hispanic or Latino, 8% Black or African American, and 3% were Native American

With all that diversity everyone still had one thing in common – a bike in need of repair. 

No one should ever have to ride a bike with tattered brake cables and broken pedals. That’s why Sharing Wheels will continue to expand the mobile repair program and offer this much-needed service in 2024 and beyond. 

*Mobile Repair Clinic Locations

  • Evergreen Library
  • Mariner Library
  • Bothell Library
  • WSU Repair Cafes throughout Snohomish County
  • First Baptist Church, Everett

Thanks especially to the Everett Public Library and Sno-Isle Library systems, whose staff helped host and promote the events.