Season of Giving: How to Spread Holiday Cycling Cheer Across the Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the best places in the country to be a cyclist, and it’s thanks to many community organizations that make commuting, leisurely rides, and exercise such a joy.
This holiday season, you can help these organizations continue their work – from providing countless workshops for beginners to helping a child get their first bike.
Bike donations are more than welcome at several non-profit groups around the Bay Area. They make commuting a possibility for thousands who need it, and they help build confidence for those just starting out. There are other benefits, too. Waterside Workshops alone diverts nearly 40,000 pounds of waste from landfills each year by taking in bike donations.
There are tons of great and deserving bicycle-related organizations doing many types of important work around the Bay Area! We chose in this post to highlight four groups that help get bicycles into the hands of people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience the joy and independence that comes with owning a bike.000000
Street Level Cycles doesn’t just offer a full service bike shop, it also serves as the organization’s bicycle education, repair, and reuse program. Since 2007, the Berkeley-based nonprofit has been working with partner organizations and local schools to maintain disappearing woodshop, metalshop, and other vocational educational programs. The Street Level Cycles program pairs youth with bicycle repair instructors in an effort to teach bike refurbishing skills. The bikes are then redistributed back to people in the community.
“Each year, with the support of our interns, we refurbish, reuse, or recycle over 1,000 unwanted bicycles and serve around 1,300 community members in Open Shop. In 2022, through our bike giveaway programs, Street Level Cycles donated 254 bikes to families and community members who need them. In 2023, Street Level Cycles was named Bike East Bay‘s Bike Group of the Year,” the organization reports.
To donate bikes, bike parts, and accessories to the program, visit the shop at 84 Bolivar Drive in Berkeley. Waterside Workshops accepts bike donations during regular shop hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm – 6pm.
There’s a bicycle program for nearly everybody at Richmond-based Rich City Rides. Need a bike? They can help. Want to get the family involved? Check out the Community Care Wellness Rides. Looking for a community? Try the Kennedy High Bike Club. The bike repair workshops and commuter cyclist program are two more options great for beginners.
The inclusive community aspect of Rich City Rides makes it a great place to spread some holiday cheer. Because of supporters, the organization is able to gift more than 3,000 bikes and helmets each year, host approximately 800 bike repair workshops, and put on more than 1,400 events ranging from rides to clean-ups. To keep these programs going, you can make a personal contribution. Just $20 can help fix a flat tire for somebody in need, they say, and $50 can provide a child with a bike. Rich City Rides also accepts bike donations, which mechanics and volunteers refurbish to send to their bike safety programs for low-income youth or bike shop.
To make a donation, make checks payable to Urban Tilth. In the subject line write “RICH CITY RIDES.” Mail to:
RICH CITY Rides
c/o Urban Tilth
323 Brookside Drive
Richmond, CA 94801
Drop donations at 1500 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond Monday through Saturday between noon and 5pm.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition does a lot for the cycling community around the Bay Area, from advocacy to hosting events and providing important resources, but its Bike It Forward program may be the best example of giving. The Bike It Forward program refurbishes donated and reclaimed bikes, then distributes them for free to people who need a new way of getting around San Francisco.
There are three ways to help the program:
- Volunteer: Giving your time can improve your ride and your city, and there are a bevy of ways to do so with SF Bike. Whether it’s being a bicycle ambassador, committing to a monthly volunteer night, or getting involved with a Bike It Forward event, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year.
- Donate a bike or parts: Have a bike that’s out of commission or just doesn’t hit the streets as often as it used to? There’s a good chance SF Bike can give it a good home. The organization is especially interested in children’s bicycles. You can fill out this questionnaire to see if your donation is a fit.
- Make a financial contribution: Cash goes a long way in our bike community. Making a financial donation to SF Bike is tax-deductible and makes a real difference. $100, for example, pays for eight sets of bike lights.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
People are the first priority at San Jose-based Good Karma Bikes, which boasts an impressive impact. Since the organization was founded in 2008, they’ve served more than 47,000 clients, provided more than 10,000 bikes to people in need, and offered more than $3.6 million in financial assistance through free labor, parts, and bicycles.
This year, Good Karma expects that reach to grow.
“Moving to a larger space will increase our ability to help more people. Our reach will be maybe double or triple what it is today,” Jenny Circle, Good Karma’s Development Director, told us earlier this year, before moving to their new space.
That growth is made possible by supporters in the community. Good Karma offers a retail space, mechanical shop, and several workshops that focus on inclusivity and growing the cycling community, including a Women’s Night, led by women, a LGBTQ+ Mechanic Skills Night, led by mechanics in the LGBTQ+ community, and a free repair clinic that gives everybody an equal chance for service.
To support the organization’s mission, you can donate parts, apparel, and, of course, bicycles. Guidelines for bike donations can be found here.