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.
Every day we see new families and neighbors out riding – biking is a great way to stay healthy and get around during this stressful time. We have more faith than ever in the value of Sharing Wheels programs and services (like teaching people to lube those squeaky chains!). During this COVID pandemic, bike shops are considered “essential business.” Unfortunately, we basically had to close to the public for the past month while we figured out the best ways to keep our small shop, staff, customers, and volunteers safe. The good news is, the shop will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays again starting April 22 – with measures in place to maintain social distance and cleanliness. The bad news is we estimate lost revenue of $6,000 to $10,000 from COVID 19. This includes shop sales and reduced grant and in-kind donations, since local business and bike club supporters have had their own coronavirus impacts. We know many people and businesses are hurting during this time. But if you believe in our mission of “Keeping People and Bikes Moving” please consider donating to Sharing Wheels.
Executive Director: Volunteers make our wheels go round and round …
By Christy Cowley, Executive Director
Life has certainly gone sideways these past few weeks with the COVD-19 outbreak. Adjusting to our new norm has us all pausing and reflecting on our families, our friends, our health and our future.
At Sharing Wheels we are thinking a lot about how much our volunteers contribute to our organization. To date this year we’ve had 20 volunteers donate 460 hours, tracking well ahead of the same period last year. Eight of those 20 volunteers are brand new to Sharing Wheels!
In addition to refurbishing bikes, volunteers help us reorganize parts, price merchandise, remove trash and advise customers. We simply couldn’t exist without our volunteers!
Volunteering is limited due to social distance measures. Some regular volunteers are picking up bikes from the shop to repair at home. Others are helping to post bikes for sale online. Other jobs that can be done remotely include:
Data entry – such as keeping bike inventory updated
Graphic design – create posters and slides for our in-shop display
Marketing – help drum up customers.
If you’d like to learn more about volunteering now or in the future, contact me.
We are familiar with disruptions and have experience working through hiccups with limited resources. We also know from experience that expanding programs on stretched dollars works best when we all pull together. So please, stay well and when the at-home restrictions are lifted, stop by and consider joining the Sharing Wheels volunteer team.
Volunteer Profile: From books to bikes
Larry likes bikes. He also likes the people he meets through Sharing Wheels. It’s a combination that has made the retired librarian an essential part of the shop since 2012. That’s the year Larry Williamson, of Edmonds, took a bike maintenance class from then-shop manager Kristi Knodell. He’s been a constant presence in the shop ever since.
Technically, Larry is a volunteer. A SUPER volunteer. He is in the shop three full days a week, every other week (when he and his wife Jean aren’t babysitting their grandson). He enjoys fellow volunteers, staff, and the diverse customers.
“People want simple things,” he says. Like the guy who came in recently with a wrecked rear wheel and no money. “We got him back on the road,” Larry says with understated pride.
Larry always steps in whenever there is something that needs to be done in the shop, no matter how unglamorous the duty. He takes out the trash, sorts the recycling, and counts the tubes and tires for the kids bike programs. He’s helped manage both the Kids Bike Swap and the Christmas House projects for many years. “Families are very appreciative,” of the bikes that volunteers fix, he says.
Beyond bikes, Larry has also served on the Sharing Wheels Board and as a member of the Shop Operations Committee. “Larry’s experience in the shop and as a manager made him very valuable in those policy-making roles,” said Sharing Wheels Board President Kristin Kinnamon. “But the biggest quality he brings is generosity – of time, money, and especially of spirit. Larry really cares about our staff and the people we serve.”
Larry’s bike(s): Larry has one Sharing Wheels bike so far, a Specialized he keeps as a backup to his Marin San Rafael. “I need more bikes,” he says, eyeing the latest lightweight road bike on the Sharing Wheels sales floor.
Favorite rides: 7 Hills of Kirkland. Unlike many people, Larry prefers going up, not down.
Family bikers: One of Larry’s three daughters Jan also enjoys biking. They have done the Seattle to Portland and Kitsap Color Classic rides together, and other rides. His wife Jean doesn’t bike much, but contributes some wonderful homemade food to fuel Sharing Wheels volunteers.
Volunteer time in 2020: 18 days in the shop and 79 total hours.
Impact: A home for the homeless
“When I was on the streets, this was a safe place I could come.”
John was a heroin addict back then, but staff saw he was more than that. “When I came to the shop, I was looked at as a cyclist, never as a bum. I appreciated that.”
After getting clean, John worked his 8 hours of court-ordered service at the shop to start the year. He’s been a volunteer on his own time ever since. “I kinda just knew I wanted to be part of this place,” he said. Biking is a healthy habit John wants to take into his sobriety.
He appreciates the chance to learn more about bikes as a volunteer. “I’m really good at riding bikes. I just don’t know how to fix them yet,” he said.
John’s not the first volunteer to come in off the streets. Sharing Wheels has always been a refuge for homeless and low income people. One year a man living in a nearby hotel on a voucher happily spent Thursday nights working on kids bikes for Christmas House rather than sitting in his room alone. It was a win-win situation.
Volunteer time in 2020: 8 days in the shop and 34 total hours.
Sally lived in a tent when she first started coming to Sharing Wheels. She would come in frequently because parts of her cheap bike were always breaking – again. If she didn’t have the few bucks to pay for the part, she’d do some Work for Wheels* volunteer time to give back to the shop – and stay out of the cold for awhile.
She wrapped her bike in foil to make it look ugly, but it got stolen anyway. Finally, the shop manager got her a better quality bike that could stand up to daily riding. Sally has since gotten a folding bike (better for buses and apartments), and is able to fix it herself thanks to the bike maintenance class she took at Sharing Wheels. An outgoing and friendly person who now has a job and stable housing, Sally still volunteers at outreach events – happy to share the impact of Sharing Wheels.
*Work for Wheels allows people to trade volunteer time so they can purchase needed parts or a bicycle.
Annual Report for 2019
Sharing Wheels accomplished a lot last year:
Took in more than 300 donated bikes
Adopted a new mission statement and strategic goals
Had 50 volunteers give more than 1,800 hours in the shop
Our full Annual Report includes many more numbers, including a budget summary.
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.
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.
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-tradeparticipants.
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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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
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
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
To explain how we do that, it’s EASE:
giving people access to tools, shop, and advice
bike for every budget
Reusing and recycling donated bikes
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.
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.
2531 BROADWAY AVE., EVERETT
in the back parking lot
A parent or guardian must come with each child to the Swap.
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.
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.
We have some dedicated volunteers who come in every week, and regulars who come to work parties and special events. We wouldn’t exist without your help. To keep in touch, we have 509 emails on our contact list (up 10% from 2017).
Bike & Parts Sales
Sales of refurbished bikes and used parts are the main source of income for Sharing Wheels. Sharing Wheels also has bike accessories and some new parts for sale. Most donated bikes are fixed as needed, but some are sold “as-is.” High-end bikes may be sold on eBay or Craigslist. 250+ bikes sold in shop; 30 online sales transactions
Community Bike Shop
The tools and bike stands at Sharing Wheels are available for anyone to use for free during shop hours. People come in to fix their own bikes, often getting a little guidance from Sharing Wheels staff or volunteers. Low-income people, DIY-tinkerers, and basic bike geeks benefit from this service. 4-20people use our shop each week, depending on weather and time of year
Kids Bike Swap
Eleven volunteer work parties kicked off in March, and 14 people helped the day of the event. Hundreds of dollars of new parts went into preparing 75 bikes in advance. Another 100 bikes were traded in, some swapped for immediately, the rest stored for Christmas House. Event was promoted with a flyer and coupon at 4 local schools that have large low-income populations. 100+ bikes home with kids; 50 helmets fitted for new owners
Christmas House Bikes
Each fall, Sharing Wheels contributes refurbished children’s bicycles to another non-profit, Christmas House, which serves thousands of low-income families in greater Everett. 50 volunteers attended work parties starting in September, adding new parts as needed thanks to a $1,000 grant from BIKES Club of Snohomish County. Repeat volunteers earned shop credit, Starbucks card or t-shirt. A. The Gyro Shack provided food for two work parties. 125 bikes donated in 2018
Dark Nights, Bright Lights
In 2017, Sharing Wheels began offering low income clients who did not have legally required bike lighting basic front and rear lights. Donations support the cost of this program. 45 lights installed; 67% for extremely low income people; 70% have been stopped by police; 100% use their bicycle for daily transportation
Valet Bike Parking
Sharing Wheels has a tent, bike corral and racks that can be setup at events to provide secure bike parking and outreach. For the second year, a $500 City of Everett grant paid for parking at Sorticulture (71 bikes), BIKES Club covered a month of parking at the Everett Farmers Market (39 bikes; $300). We also provided parking at BIKES event the McClinchy Mile (53) and loaned our setup to the Delta Neighborhood for their National Night Out event in August. 164 bikes parked over 8 event days.
Basic and Advance Classes were offered in the first half of the year. We did not have sufficient signups for later classes (offered in fall), however there remains strong interest. 14 paid students in 2018
Work for Wheels
Work for Wheels allows people to volunteer time at the shop in exchange for credit towards a refurbished bike or major purchase (up to $250). Time is valued at $10 per hour. The program is open to all, but we ask for optional employment and income information. New (revived from the past) program with outcomes still pending.
WSU Repair Cafes
Our volunteers provided bike repair and other services at quarterly WSU Extension Repair Cafe events. Participants bring in broken stuff and hope to have it fixed for free.