David Fox works on a bicycle at Sharing Wheels in Everett on Nov. 5. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

David Fox works on a bicycle at Sharing Wheels in Everett on Nov. 5. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

At Sharing Wheels, rebicycling offers a link to freedom

Bicyclists can find affordable, reliable transportation and repairs.

This is one of a collection of stories about philanthropy in Snohomish County.

EVERETT — For many a cyclist, the road to freedom and convenience runs through a windowless shop off a back alleyway.

Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop rebuilds donated bicycles. Throughout the year, the nonprofit takes in unused mountain bikes and road bikes, BMXes and beach cruisers, even tricycles and tandems.

Flats get fixed, brakes changed. The inventory is resold.

“Our primary mission here is to be able to provide affordable, reliable transportation,” shop manager Josh Pfister said.

A fully overhauled ride generally fetches $225 to $300, though some bikes that haven’t been fully refurbished cost less. Cyclists in need of repairs can stop in and use tools for free.

Sharing Wheels also is known for sending bikes to Christmas House, an Everett charity where children can pick up gifts for the holiday. They aim to supply 100 this year. The shop each spring hosts the Kids Bike Swap, giving youngsters a chance to trade in an old bike and get credit toward a new one.

When there are more donated bikes than Sharing Wheels volunteers can fix, the overstock gets shipped to Africa through the Seattle-based Village Bicycle Project. Other programs include giving out free safety lights, hosting repair workshops and setting up bicycle parking at events around Everett to encourage people to arrive on two wheels.

“Sometimes people think of us as being about kids bikes,” said Kristin Kinnamon, who serves on Sharing Wheels’ board. “Year round, we are more about adult bikes. For us, bikes are for people of all ages. They’re for transportation, they’re for health and they’re for sustainable communities.”

The nonprofit has been running since 2002. Some pivotal changes took hold last year, when Sharing Wheels hired Pfister as its first paid employee. Until then, the community bike shop had relied solely on volunteer labor — which remains its driving force.

A grant from the city of Everett has allowed the shop to open for regular weekend hours. Through the winter, that will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Sunday hours are set to resume in the spring.

The nonprofit grew out of bike mechanic Ron Toppi’s work helping homeless people at Everett Gospel Mission with bicycles.

Kristi Knodell helped Toppi incorporate the nonprofit 15 years ago and later served as a long-time shop manager. Knodell, who is Kinnamon’s wife, stepped down from that position after Pfister joined the staff.

Kinnamon also is the president of B.I.K.E.S. Club of Snohomish County, an organized cycling group that provided Sharing Wheels with a $1,200 grant for Christmas House bike repairs. The cash helps cover up to $20 in replacement parts for each donated kids bike. An hour or two of labor goes into fixing each one.

“You can’t sell a kids bike to recoup that amount of resources so it’s definitely a labor of love,” Kinnamon said.

Pfister, 36, grew up in south Everett and graduated from Mariner High School. Bike-building has been a passion since childhood and a sometimes career since his teens.

“I’ve been doing this since I was in high school — about 20 years now,” he said. “I’ve almost always had my foot in a bicycle shop somewhere.”

As at other shops, Pfister is spending the slower winter months gearing up for crunch time when the weather improves and business gets brisk.

His office these days is in a commercial building at 2531 Broadway that once housed a dairy. The shop was the cooler — hence the 8-inch-thick entry door and lack of windows.

Inside, it’s a controlled jumble of metal, with Diamond Backs and Mongooses, Schwinns, Univegas and other brands. Stacks of milk crates brim with pedals, derailleurs and brakes.

“They’ve been in disuse, just hanging in someone’s garage,” Pfister said. “By the time we send a bike out, we try to make it as good as new if not better.”

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

Ways to help

Sharing wheels is looking for gently used bikes, a couple of board members and some elbow grease.

The shop accepts bike donations whenever they’re open — they’re also happy to accept cash or checks. The board that runs the nonprofit currently has up to two vacancies. Volunteers with bike-repair skills needed to help ongoing work on donated bikes and to staff special events.

Winter hours: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2531 Broadway, Everett, WA

425-252-6952

More info: https://sharingwheels.wordpress.com

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Trees and foliage grow at the Rockport State Park on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Rockport, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
When you get lost in WA, what’s the cost to get rescued? Surprisingly little

Washington’s volunteer search and rescue teams save lives without costly bills.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.