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Cycle shop is Changing Gears

Submitted by on 1, October 13, 2010 – 4:50 amOne Comment

From the Changing Gears website

Alameda Point’s cycle shop is celebrating a new name, nonprofit partner and mission this Friday: They’ll now be known as the Changing Gears Community Bike Shop. Their grand reopening party is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the shop, which is at 650 West Ranger Avenue #C-2.

“We have tons and tons of plans,” project director Barry Luck said.

Luck said the shop’s upgraded mission will include bicycle sales, a community repair shop, training, field trips and more. (Naomi Chan, a volunteer, helped pick the shop’s new name.)

The shop opened in 2006 on the Point as a collaboration between Cycles of Change, an Oakland-based nonprofit that seeks to put East Bay residents on bikes, and the Alameda Point Collaborative. Over the last four years, it has provided job training and cycling field trips and has refurbished about 1,000 bikes. And Luck, who worked with Cycles of Change for a decade and started the shop in Alameda in order to build relationships with youths the organization served, said he’s looking to keep those things going.

He said the shop’s new nonprofit sponsor, the David Brower-founded Earth Island Institute, will provide strong administrative support and autonomy that Luck believes will help the shop continue to grow from its origins as a grant-funded, service-oriented operation to a social enterprise with some focus on sales.

Earth Island’s project support director, Susan Kamprath, said that Changing Gears is different from many of the 50-plus organizations the institute provides administrative and technical assistance to. But she said its efforts to get bikes into the hands of people who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to them – and to get people out of their cars – are a good fit.

“It’s the whole recycling of resources,” Kamprath said.

Luck also envisions providing “train-the-trainer” sessions that could lead to a robust community repair operation, workshops on everything from bike art to bookkeeping, volunteer opportunities and more.

Even the shop’s reopening party (they’ve been closed for nearly a month) is bigger than originally planned: Luck said the original plan was a potluck for people on the shop’s mailing list. Now they’re hosting a party that’s open to the public.

Attendees can partake of the potluck and a host of other activities, including community bike races, bike repair and maintenance clinics, kids’ activities, video recordings and a raffle. And they get a first look at the shop’s selection of for-sale bikes.

“I hope it’s a good kickoff for a new stage of the bike shop’s life,” Luck said.

For more information or to contribute food, drinks, race or raffle prizes, contact Luck at barry@changinggearsbikes.org or 919-7679.

One Comment »

  • Jon Spangler says:

    Congratulations to Barry Luck and everyone at Changing Gears for taking their great operation in this new direction with their new sponsor.

    The shop has been very successful and has been exceeding its income forecasts while helping lots of people – especially underserved youth – learn skills and earn bikes.

    Make sure you get there early for the bike races (for adults and kids, but all on kiddie bikes). I hear there will be slow-bike races, too…

    I hope a lot of our local political candidates will show up to support Changing Gears – and get into a REAL race, too!

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