Rows of bicycles hang from racks and line the aisles at Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop. On Wednesday, shop manager Alain Warchilde offered a sneak peak at other bikes stashed in a back room. They’ll be among bargains on sale Saturday at the shop’s garage sale.
Sharing Wheels, a nonprofit that sells reconditioned bikes, doesn’t actually have a garage. The sale will be in the parking lot next to the shop’s entrance off the alley at 2531 Broadway, near Everett’s North Middle School.
The place is a hidden gem, but well known to bike enthusiasts. Since 2002, Sharing Wheels has offered fixed-up bikes, bicycle repair classes and volunteer opportunities. Through partnerships with agencies serving low-income people, it has donated hundreds of refurbished bikes, especially for children through Everett-based Christmas House.
Longtime volunteer Larry Williamson had his hands and tools on a child-sized bike in the shop’s work area Wednesday. The Edmonds man said he’s been a Sharing Wheels regular since taking a bike basics class in 2012.
While a few customers stopped by, Warchilde was shadowed around the shop by Blix, his Australian cattle dog. The nonprofit’s Facebook page describes Blix as “the assistant manager here at Sharing Wheels.”
A former bicycle messenger originally from Dallas, Warchilde has worked on e-bikes at Leon Cycle, on shared bikes with Lime, and on race and custom bikes. He believes the Everett nonprofit is unique in its focus on helping provide transportation for low-income people and those who are homeless. Sharing Wheels grew out of bike mechanic Ron Toppi’s effort to help people at the Everett Gospel Mission with bicycles, according to a 2017 Herald article.
At Saturday’s sale, about 10 to 15 refurbished bikes will be offered at up to 50 percent off regular prices, along with as-is “project bikes” ready for buyers with the skills and time for tinkering.
On sale, too, will be bicycle shoes and clothing, vehicle bike racks, pumps and “random stuff,” Warchilde said. There’s an e-bike amongst garage sale items, and a donated Lime bike. Retro-looking beach cruisers, with fat tires and comfy seats, caught my eye. “People like them,” Warchilde said.
The shop will also be open, with its regular prices — generally in the $100 to $300 range. Warchilde said there are about 75 bikes now for sale in the shop.
Challenged by the pandemic, Sharing Wheels kept on fixing bikes and getting them to riders.
“We closed to volunteers and learned to adapt,” Warchilde said. Some volunteers took bikes home for repairs.
Spearheaded by Christy Cowley, executive director of Sharing Wheels since 2019, ways were found to donate bikes to kids despite the COVID-related closure of Christmas House last year.
“We aimed for 50 bikes and ended up giving away almost 160. The community really rallied,” Warchilde said.
Kristin Kinnamon, Sharing Wheels board president, posted on the nonprofit’s website a 2020 summary, and how the holiday effort was accomplished. More than 75 volunteers prepared a record 151 new and used bikes. About 100 children’s bicycles were matched directly with families by referral from other nonprofits. Christmas House linked Sharing Wheels with clients, new bikes and helmets, even storing the bikes.
Individuals donated bikes, and financial gifts totaled $32,000 last year, Kinnamon wrote. Sharing Wheels received a $5,400 grant from the Stillaguamish Tribe. A City of Everett Community Development Block Grant provided bikes and Sharing Wheels maintenance classes to 12 low-income adults. The Rotary Club of Everett Port Gardner’s $2,000 grant supported self-help repair services at Sharing Wheels.
This year, instead of the nonprofit’s usual spring Bike Swap for kids, bicycles will be donated to children through nonprofits, Warchilde said.
On Wednesday, Amy and Leighton Heape, of Lake Stevens, were there with their four boys, the youngest just a year old. As the boys’ dad looked at bike tires, Amy Heape saw the kids checking out merchandise.
“Everybody grew out of their bikes,” she said.
Julie Muhlstein: email@example.com
Sharing Wheels sale
Sharing Wheels Community Bike Shop is holding a parking lot sale noon to 4 p.m. Saturday behind its shop at 2531 Broadway in Everett. Items being sold for up to 50% off include refurbished bikes, as-is bikes for projects, bike racks for cars and more. The shop will be open with regular prices. Shop hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Masks required inside.
Some used bikes in good condition may be donated at the shop. Email a photo first to: firstname.lastname@example.org.