We’ll be at the Anacortes Open Streets festival to show of some of our beautiful refurbished bikes and classic parts. There’s also a short ride at 10 a.m. Meet at 5th & Commercial.
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.
Meet at the Sharing Wheels shop for a casual 8-10 mile ride around Everett. After the warmup, ambitious riders may continue to Snohomish for a total of approx. 30 miles. Everett-only ride will be slow (10 mph) and mostly on trail or quiet streets.
Restrooms available at the start. Henry’s Donuts optional at the finish.
Cost: Free. Advanced signup required. See RSVP on this page.
See our other second Sunday activities.
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.
Keeping People & Bikes Moving
By Executive Director Christy Cowley
Thanks to our volunteers and community support, Sharing Wheels served a huge need for healthy outdoor activity and affordable, personal transportation in 2020.
We couldn’t create community within our shop due to COVID limitations, so we built bikes and connections in new ways. Volunteers took bikes home to clean and fix. Local nonprofits helped us match bikes with adults and kids who needed them. Our board met monthly via Zoom. Donations of time, bikes and cash kept us rolling despite a difficult year.
Bike Sales: While retail bike shops ran low on inventory, quality donations kept us stocked with a huge variety of bike styles, sizes, and prices. We loved helping new riders buy a bike to fit their needs and budget. 246 bikes.
Kids Bikes: Instead of the annual Kids Bike Swap and Christmas House events, we matched bikes with families directly, and partnered with other nonprofits to distribute bikes to low income kids. 194 bikes.
DIY Shop Use: Our free self-help station was moved out to the garage due to COVID shop limits. That made it harder for people to access our tools and advice. 75% of our 129 users bike for transportation and report low income.
115 people spent 2,615 hours helping in the shop and from their own garages. Boeing, Microsoft, & F5 Networks gave $2,500 to match employee efforts.
Top Volunteers: Larry Williamson, Bruce McLachlin, John Kasey, Don Sperlin, Dave Fox, Claudia Douglass, Patrick Sullivan. More than 100 hours each.
Giving & Support
Individual donations doubled this year thanks to spring and year-end campaigns. Donations were needed because shop activity and revenue were reduced due to COVID. 71 people gave $50 or more.
Grants: City of Everett Community Development Block Grant, Everett Port Gardner Rotary, Stillaguamish Tribe.
Education & Outreach
Repair Classes: We managed to teach several small, in-person bike mechanic classes. We also started mini-courses for mechanical volunteers. 25 students.
Adult Earn-A-Bike: We taught 12 formerly homeless or at-risk adults to fix a flat, gave them a fully-equipped refurbished bike, and took them on their first ride. “This is the best bike I’ve ever owned,” said a grateful 80-year-old recipient.
Velo Art Contest: While most events were canceled, we started something new to put our excess new and used parts to creative use. 6 artists, lots of fun!
Actual income and expenses for 2020.
|Other Shop Costs||$9,680|
Board of Directors
Kristin Kinnamon, President
Steve Erickson, Treasurer
Drew Ellison, Secretary
Claudia Douglass, Member
Bruce McLachlin, Member
Scott Schmitz, in memoriam
Christy Cowley, Executive Director
Alain Warchilde, Shop Manager
Tools, bike stands and a mechanic available to help you with basic bike repairs. Contact the shop ahead of time to schedule a time or drop-in. Donations welcome.