Please look through our answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
Why do you repair and give away bicycles?
Why do you repair and give away bicycles?
- To promote the bicycle for everyday use – for school, work, errands, exercise and fitness.
- To reuse, recycle and conserve our material and energy resources.
- So children can experience the joy of bicycling even when their parents can’t afford to buy them a bicycle.
- To encourage young adults to adopt sustainable transportation choices.
- To help stop and reverse the trend of increasing childhood obesity.
- To provide bicycles to adults who need them to be able to get to work.
- To teach and share bike repair skills through social work gatherings.
How do people receive the bikes you donate?
We donate refurbished bicycles to local social service organizations whose caseworkers distribute them based on the agency's eligibility requirements. We do not donate bicycles directly to individuals in need.
Who is eligible to receive a bike?
Eligibility is determined by the individual agencies and organizations based on need and availability of our bicycles.
Based on responses from recipient organization staff and caseworkers, our bicycles to go individuals and families that cannot otherwise afford the price of a bicycle.
Is the Bicycle Exchange a non-profit organization?
Yes, the SVBE is a tax-exempt non-profit 501c(3) organization, #46-1608203, separate from SVBC.
Where do the bicycles come from?
- Bicycles are delivered to our workshop by individuals who no longer need them.
- We get plenty of bikes donated without advertising due to our long operating history.
- We DON’T buy/import new bikes; all bikes are recycled.
Can I make a donation to the SVBE?
Our program accepts bicycles and bicycle parts of all sizes, and in the condition described below. Our mechanics always have lots to do and none are paid so we appreciate your effort to clean up your bike before donating it so we can focus on repairs. Of course, we also accept monetary donations.
All donations are tax-deductible.
We only accept bicycles that are dropped off during our regular workdays. We do not pick up donations in general, unless they are of great value.
How is the Bike Exchange funded; where do the dollars go?
The Bike Exchange is funded through a mix of bike sales and donations from businesses and individuals. Our only paid staff is our general manager. Our largest expense is replacement parts. We make an effort to use our dollars locally and support domestic suppliers.
Can I buy a bicycle from the Bicycle Exchange?
Yes, while most bikes are donated to charity we sell a portion of the bikes we repair. We usually have some bikes available to purchase at each of our regular volunteer events.
Can I trade in one of my bicycles for a Bicycle Exchange bicycle?
What condition bicycles does the Bicycle Exchange accept?
Flat tires and broken or missing parts are no problem. We have an extensive parts inventory. Our volunteers can fix almost anything, however we don’t restore paint and we can’t reverse corrosion. Before donating your bike, ask yourself:
- Could an experienced mechanic repair this bike in 1 hour or less?
- Is the bike substantially free of rust and corrosion?
- Is the bike clean enough that you could offer it as a gift without embarrassment?
If the answers are all “yes” then we’ll gladly receive the bike. Please clean up your bike before donating it so we can focus on repairs.
Can I volunteer to repair bicycles too?
- Yes. Individuals under 18 should be accompanied by an adult until we determine they are ready to work independently.
- No mechanical skills are necessary. We provide parts, tools and guidance.
- An excellent resource to learn or improve your bike repair skills is Sheldon Brown’s website: http://sheldonbrown.com/repair/index.html or Jim Langley’s website: http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/wrench.html, or Alex Ramon’s site: http://bicycletutor.com/ .
- Individual volunteers need not RSVP before coming to a workday during non-pandemic times, but in 2021, they need to RSVP for our 2nd and 4th Saturdays.
- Group volunteers (5 or more) should contact us for planning purposes.
- You do not need to be a member of the SVBC to volunteer to fix bikes.
Are there other things volunteers can do for the Bike Exchange?
Yes – we have only two paid staff. As our organization grows we’re looking for people to help coordinate our activities with other non-profits and volunteer organizations, track inventory, write receipts and thank you letters etc.
Where/when do I go to donate a bicycle or to volunteer?
Our volunteer events are held on the second and fourth Saturdays of January through October, the second and third Saturdays in November and the first Saturday in December. Our doors open at 10:00 am, and we finish up around 3:00 pm. Please RSVP here.
How do I contact the Bicycle Exchange? Do I need to?
How long has the Bicycle Exchange been donating bicycles?
We operated under a non-profit in Mountain View from 1993 to 2007. In 2007 we joined the SVBC and have expanded our operations throughout the Bay Area. In 2014 the Bicycle Exchange obtained its own non-profit status.