Since 2000, Free Ride has been an all-volunteer shop founded on the principle of mutual aid. Sharing a common volunteer philosophy has always been important. At Free Ride, we emphasize:
- Openness and accessibility. Anyone is welcome to join us if they share our mission and our core values! Free Ride is opposed to any forms of discrimination based on race, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, etc.
- Mutual respect. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and abilities–we strive to respect one another for who we are and who we can become.
- Self initiative and empowerment. We encourage volunteers to decide what kind of volunteer tasks they want to do on their own. We have a wide variety of tasks suitable for all different levels of skill and interest. Check out this page for more info.
Free Ride, quite literally, IS its volunteer base! If you share our philosophy and our love for bicycles, please join us!
Special Note to our Volunteer Mechanics:
Thank you for offering to share your mechanical know-how! Hundreds of people over the years have served as volunteer mechanics during our Open Shop hours, informally providing their assistance to people seeking to learn. The Free Ride collective has agreed on a specific approach to teaching that we ask all of our volunteer mechanics to follow.
At Free Ride, we are big believers in the saying “teach a person to fish, s/he eats for a lifetime.” It is very important that people who come to the shop are respected and encouraged to learn, regardless of their experience level or background.
• Put the tools in THEIR hands. Stand back and tell them how, even when you know you could do it better or faster. If you need to, demonstrate on a different bike or a scrap part. The work on their bike should be done by them.
• Respectfully inquire about people’s’ experience and teach to their level. Explain vocabulary they may not know. But also, be cautious about sounding condescending or patronizing.
• Never criticize someone’s bike! Be diplomatic when talking about less-nice bikes. We want to cultivate enthusiasm for bicycling, not discourage it.
What you need:
- Love of bicycles
- Want to learn
- Can show up on time
What you do not need:
- any particular mechanical expertise – while we welcome experienced mechanics, it is not necessary; you can learn as you go!
- a high level of time commitment – you can staff for half a shift or a whole shift, as frequently or infrequently as you like. If we had 20 more people to staff once a month things would be wonderful.
What you get:
- A great learning opportunity
- Volunteer hours can be credited towards membership, used parts, bikes or other benefits
- Volunteer hours can also be traded for mechanics classes – an ideal opportunity to combine learning and practice of your new skills! 10 hours, or just 2.5 shifts, will pay for the entire cost of the 6 week sunday mechanics course, and 4 hours, or just one shift, will pay for two drop-in classes.
- It really is fun and rewarding to tinker around with bikes, solve interesting mechanical problems, and help others.
- Meet great people!