The Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange (SVBE) began in 1993 repairing bicycles for clients of the Mountain View Community Services Agency (MVCSA). With donations from Xerox Corp., the SVBE began renting a small workshop at 2566 Leghorn Street in Mountain View and set up a workshop and regular volunteer work day events to receive and repair used bicycles. Over the next 14 years, the program repaired and donated bicycles and helmets to low income individuals through its partnership with MVCSA. In 2007, the SVBE became a program of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. In 2014 the SVBE was granted IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status and began operating as a separate entity.
The SVBE has developed partnerships to donate bicycles and helmets to more than a dozen organizations throughout Silicon Valley, California; these organizations include social service organizations such as Sunday Friends, the Bill Wilson Center, the Sunnyvale Community Services Agency, and Samaritan House. Currently, the SVBE also donates bikes to the Menlo Park Veteran’s Administration Hospital and supports the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s Safe Routes to School Program by donating bicycles for its skills training classes.
Throughout its operation, the SVBE has maintained a strong educational component, teaching bicycle repair skills to hundreds of volunteers while refurbishing bikes to donate to charity. The SVBE accepts volunteers on a walk-in basis and also hosts volunteer groups from a range of service organizations such as Hands on Bay Area and Young Men's Service League at nearly every work day. In 2012, the SVBE also began organizing bicycle safety classes for bicycle recipients. In 2014, the SVBE launched a Bicycle Exchange program in Santa Cruz. As of 2014, the SVBE has donated over 3700 bicycles to over a dozen regional non-profit social service agencies and governmental entities.
In 2019, Bicycle Exchange moved to a new temporary workspace at 3961 E. Bayshore Road in Palo Alto.