Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange: Relocation Needs
New! We have found a temporary location on Bayshore Road in Palo Alto, and opened it for workdays in January 2019, but we still need to find a permanent home.
For 25 years, the non-profit Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange has been repairing used bicycles and donating them to social service agencies for their clients. A property situation may now require us to find a new home. We need an operating space (details within) to support our skill-sharing alternate-Saturday volunteer events. We're open to shared-use facilities (business, school, church etc.)
A permanent home! In could be operating space, raw land, or unused garage or workshop space. SVBE has resources to procure and erect workshop and storage facilities as needed.
Currently, Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange (SVBE) is leasing a temporary workshop. We need the space to host 50-100 volunteers during weekend volunteer events, and 100+ bikes.
An ideal future landlord or property seller has a shared interest in community service and education, and can provide space at below-market rates. With a long-term lease or property purchase, SVBE can invest in infrastructure including work and storage spaces. SVBE wants to hear from property owners, schools, churches, or businesses who have such space. Space used by SVBE may be exempt from property tax.
SVBE’s Community Engagement
SVBE annually hosts a total of nearly 1,000 volunteers at its skills-sharing “work day” events. New volunteers learn bicycle repair skills from experts by fixing used bikes. The repaired bikes are then donated to local social service organizations. SVBE teaches many of the mechanical problem solving and tool skills no longer taught in public schools.
Community Impact – Providing Mobility to the Community
With several dozen well-attended events each year in Palo Alto and two dozen more in Santa Cruz, SVBE put over 900 bicycles back on the road in 2017 alone, with most of the bikes distributed through partnering social service organizations in San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties.
Adult bikes provide transportation for jobs and errands to a wide range of impacted populations. Children's bikes provide recreation and an introduction to practical transportation by bike.
Read more about SVBE's community impact.
Connections to Local Volunteer Groups
SVBE hosts volunteer groups from throughout the community, including parent-student groups, corporate service groups, and community service programs, as well as dozens of individuals who come to learn repair skills and serve the community.
Read more about SVBE's partner organizations.
How we Work
The Bicycle Exchange is a year-round outdoor activity. On our work days, we set up canopies and repair stands in the parking lot and roll out our tool and parts carts. Volunteers work in teams on selected bikes for donation that week. Many of our volunteers have never used tools, but experienced volunteer mentors provide guidance through demonstration and explanation of principles. Bikes receive a 2-stage safety/quality check before they are cleared for donation pick-up during the following week. Our partner service agencies receive bikes on a rotating schedule throughout the year. We often hear our volunteers say, “Hey, I learned something new today!” New donations arrive throughout the day.
SVBE began in 1993 with our founder wanting to share his mechanical skills and put broken bikes back on the road. It soon collected more mechanics and became a service program under the Mountain View Community Services Agency. In 2007, providing more bikes than MVCSA could use, it became a program under the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and grew rapidly, funding itself with the sale of a small number of high-end bikes. By 2014, it had outgrown the Coalition and became an independent 501c3 non-profit. Over the years, it has attracted more and more volunteers and service groups, expanded into Santa Cruz. Production of refurbished bikes has grown steadily. The organization remains all-volunteer, with all proceeds going back into the program.
For a full history of SVBE, have a look at our History page.