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News Volunteers

Meet Don

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.

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News

Annual Report 2020

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.

Used Bicycles

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.

Volunteers

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!

2020 Budget

Actual income and expenses for 2020.

Income

Bike Sales$43,899
Parts Sales$11,951
Donations$36,054
Grants$9,665
Repairs$3,466
Online Sales$6,205
Total$111,790*

Expenses

Staff$80,895
Bike Parts$10,680
Rent$7,850
Insurance, Fees$4,000
Adminstrative$4,350
Other Shop Costs$9,680
Total$117,455*
* The adopted budget anticipated use of reserves to balance.

Board of Directors

Kristin Kinnamon, President

Steve Erickson, Treasurer

Drew Ellison, Secretary

Claudia Douglass, Member

Bruce McLachlin, Member

Scott Schmitz, in memoriam

Staff

Christy Cowley, Executive Director

Alain Warchilde, Shop Manager

Categories
kids bikes News Volunteers

Thank you, Volunteers!

By: Christy Cowley, Executive Director

Thanks to all of YOU who participated in this year’s Holiday Kid Bike program, more than 150 Snohomish County kids will get a bike this Christmas. We had 75 volunteers donate over 400 hours these past few months.  All of you helped clean, repair, transport, store and even purchase bikes for our annual giveaway. We matched 100 bikes directly with low/no income families this past weekend with an additional 50 bikes distributed to our non-profit partners including; The Salvation Army, Dawson’s Place, Interfaith Family Shelter and Domestic Violence Services. The outpouring of generosity from all corners of our local community was tremendous! Groups of families and friends, Redmond Police Department, Cascade and BIKES Club of Snohomish County Members, Local Eagle Scouts, and so many individual contributors made up our volunteer task force this year. Thank you for all the support.

Redmond Police Department – Bike Squad
Henry A. in repair mode

We recognized early in November that the needs were much greater this year and that we wouldn’t have enough bikes to fulfill all the family requests. Enter Eagle Scout, Henry Amend, and The Everett Sail and Power Squadron who separately started their own fundraising campaigns and raised enough funds to purchase 61 brand new kid bikes to fill the gap. A special thank you to them and all the folks who contributed to their campaigns.

 

 

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News Volunteers

New Incentives for Volunteers

Join us for a work party or organize your own

By Christy Cowley, Executive Director

We all know volunteers are the foundation of Sharing Wheels’ mission of Keeping People and Bikes Moving. We simply couldn’t accomplish our goals without our volunteers. What you may not know is that we no longer have our volunteers simply cleaning and wrenching bikes. 

Volunteer roles have expanded to include Customer Service Representative, Bike Maintenance Instructor, New Volunteer Mentor, and Newsletter CoEditor.

This year 73 volunteers donated 1600 hours of service to our organization and 4 Super Volunteers have donated more than 200 hours each.

Sharing Wheels loves to recognize the efforts of volunteers and for many years offered shop discounts and wholesaler special order pricing. Now, we would like to expand our volunteer rewards program and offer additional incentives to show our continued appreciation. These include:

  • 10 hours/month allows you to make special orders through our wholesaler at cost plus 20%
  • 3 bike work parties earns you $20 credit on anything at the shop.
  • 15 hours you receive a 50% discount off any Sharing Wheels bike maintenance class, plus NEW free classes just for volunteers to build skills.
  • 50 hours, you earn a Sharing Wheels soft and comfy t-shirt.  
  • 60 hours, you will receive a 50% discount off any used parts or bike in the shop.
  • 200 hours, you earn a bike multitool
  • 500 hours, you earn a Sharing Wheels fleece vest. 

We are always looking to grow our volunteer base so we can continue to provide such an important resource to Snohomish County. If you’d like to get started volunteering with Sharing Wheels, email me.

Fix Kids Bikes – with friends or at home

Speaking of Volunteers – the holidays are just around the corner and we could use lots of help getting 50+ kid bikes in tip-top shape for the low-income families in our community. Work parties are scheduled 5:30-8:30pm every Tuesday and Thursday in October and November. To comply with the public health guidelines, work parties will be limited to 5 volunteers and masks are required. 

Reserve your spot and meet new friends, or request your own private work party with friends and/or family! 

Prefer to avoid the ‘party’ and work on bikes in your own garage? Not a problem, just contact Alain at the shop and he will get you set up to take a bike (or two) home for repair.

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News

Join Our Nonprofit Board

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

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. For the past few years, Sharing Wheels has been in a period of change and growth. To help guide our nonprofit into the future, one of our greatest needs right now is having a mission-focused board that can strategize and prioritize, with members who will ask important questions, help find answers, and reach out into the community. The board meets the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Elections to 1-year terms are held in January at our annual meeting. Board appointments to fill vacancies or expand the board (up to 9 members) can happen anytime. Right now, we are hoping to appoint some new members willing to serve through at least the end of next year (December 2021). The Board Responsibilities (PDF) document describes the basic expectations of our board, along with links to background documents such as our Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation, Annual Report, Budget, and Board Member Agreement. After you’ve reviewed some of our board expectations, I would be happy to answer any questions via email, phone, Zoom or by meeting at the shop.

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

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

Categories
News

Remembering board member Scott Schmitz

Scott with his van and a kids bike
Scott Schmitz delivers bikes to Christmas House last year.

By Kristin Kinnamon, Board President

On Aug. 27 Executive Director Christy Cowley shared this message with our board: “It is with deep sadness that I write to each of you this morning to let you know that our friend and fellow board member, Scott Schmitz, has passed away. “

His family ran an obituary for Scott in the Everett Herald, his hometown newspaper. They suggest memorial donations to Sharing Wheels, or to a scholarship in Scott’s name at Washington State University, his alma mater.

Scott was an extremely dedicated volunteer for Sharing Wheels. At age 29, he was our youngest board member by far, and brought that youthful energy and ideas matched with great intelligence and wisdom.

The son of Everett residents Nick and Debbie Schmitz, he brought 8 years industry experience working for companies like Gregg’s Cycles, B&L Bicycles and Specialized Bicycle Components. He had a strong appreciation for all things mechanical and studied mechanical engineering at Washington State University. He loved living and mountain biking in Bellingham, WA, but spent much of the past year living and traveling around the West in a van he customized for that purpose. Even so, he never missed a board meeting and remained engaged in envisioning a bright future for Sharing Wheels.

Scott cared a lot about Sharing Wheels as an organization because he loved bikes. But he also cared because he saw – and knew in his own life – how important our community space can be for people who need comfort, a sense of competence, something to hold onto that is real (a bike) but that also represents freedom and the feelings you can exorcise while riding a bicycle.

Scott served as our Shop Operations Chair, and worked diligently to develop tools and systems to help both board and staff manage the bike shop. He planned and led our major shop clean-up and reorganization that started last fall and was completed in early 2020. The way the shop works now – better set up for everyone we serve – is to his credit.

Scott wrote several grant applications for us. In 2018 we got $6,500 from the Nysether Family Foundation for organizational development work thanks to his eloquent description of what we do, who we serve and why it matters:

“As the only non-profit bike shop in Snohomish County, we at Sharing Wheels believe bicycles are the fundamental link in the cogs which drive our everyday life. .. Just as bikes are more than just children’s toys, Sharing Wheels is more than just a bike shop. Bicycles serve a diverse purpose for people of all ages; offering freedom from disabling conditions, opportunity for self-reliance, and the ability to connect with and grow respect for our environment. One visit to the shop and it’s easy to see how fundamental our services are to not just the community but, specifically, the underrepresented population.”

His brother made a sketch that illustrates Scott’s free spirit, which we plan to frame and post in the shop in Scott’s memory – and to inspire the many adventures possible by bike. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the sketch, the family will donate all proceeds to Sharing Wheels. Look for more information about this in our September newsletter (you can “Join Our Email List” at the bottom of this page).