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This handbook is the official source of information on how the Bike Kitchen works. Proposed revisions of this handbook must be voted on at a staff meeting.

Mission Statement

The Bike Kitchen teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to repair bicycles. Through bike repair and bicycle related projects, the Bike Kitchen promotes personal development and provides leadership opportunities. Operating as a cooperative shop, we provide affordable ways to acquire and maintain a bike, offer youth programs, encourage re­use and recycling, and work with community groups to get more people on bikes.

Board of Directors

The Bike Kitchen Board of Directors is responsible for the long-term health of the organization. Key responsibilities include:

  • ensure fulfillment of 501(c)(3) requirements, including filing tax documents and maintaining 501(c)(3) status
  • long-term planning / sustainability
  • financial health of the organization
  • fundraising
  • public relations

See the Bike Kitchen Bylaws for the formal description of the board. See the list of current board members.

Types of People You'll See at the BK



A Bike Kitchen staff member is a volunteer (mechanic or otherwise) that makes at least one of the following commitments:

  • Commits to volunteer during a specific three ­hour open hours shift every week.
  • Consistently "floats" at least 9 hours per month at open hours
  • Consistently takes responsibility for a specific task related to the Bike Kitchen such as cluster coordinator, website management, membership management, etc.

Becoming Staff

To become Staff, you must:

  1. Fulfill a staff requirement for three months.
  2. All Bike Kitchen communication is through the Bike Kitchen Google email listserv. To learn how to join, click here. Anybody is welcome to join and those who are fulfilling staff requirements are encouraged to join as early in the process as possible so they can learn how the Bike Kitchen operates.
  3. At the end of your three month commitment, make a formal introduction and request to become staff. Over the next two weeks, two current staff who have worked with you regularly must vouch for you.
  4. If after two weeks you have two vouchers and no negative feedback, you become staff and can get a key to the BK. If there is negative feedback, we will discuss it at the next staff meeting.

Maintaining Staff Status

To remain staff, the volunteer's commitment must not be interrupted for more than two consecutive months. If a volunteer resumes her commitment after an interruption that exceeds two months, staff benefits will resume six weeks after her staff commitment resumes.


Bike Kitchen Staff enjoy the following benefits:

  • Free used parts for personal (your own, non-income-generating) projects
  • Order parts at cost + 15% from wholesale catalogs for personal use
  • Vote at Staff Meetings
  • Access to Staff Development Hours
  • A key to the shop to use it during times when the bike kitchen is closed
  • Attend Bike Kitchen classes for free


Bike Kitchen Mechanics are Bike Kitchen Staff members that assist patrons with bike projects during open hours and/or teach classes. The more mechanics we have, the more hours we can open, and the more people we can serve.

As a mechanic, you should strive to keep the tools in the hands of patrons, so they can learn by doing. You should be open to learning yourself and prepared to ask another mechanic for help. You should also use your discretion to make reasonable decisions in gray situations.

Becoming a Mechanic

To become a Bike Kitchen Mechanic, you should start by volunteering during open hours to get a feel for things. Next, attend Staff Development Hours. When you're ready, you can enter the Mechanic Apprentice Program.

Mechanic Policies

Mechanics should follow these policies:

  1. Make the shop a welcoming space
  2. Be respectful of fellow mechanics and patrons
  3. Act professionally when assisting patrons
  4. Do not engage in sexist, racist, homophobic or any sort of prejudiced behavior
  5. Do not work on personal projects while staffing a shift
  6. Do not consume alcohol or drugs before or during a shift you are staffing

Other Responsibilities

See the Opening / Closing Checklist page for the particular responsibilities that mechanics and staff have during open hours.


During open hours, it is immensely helpful to have a greeter who welcomes people, describes how the shop operates, collects money, operates the register, and signs patrons in. Being a greeter is an excellent way to regularly contribute to the Bike Kitchen that does not require mechanical expertise. The greeter may be a volunteer working towards a membership or digging rights, or may be fulfilling the staff requirement of volunteering consistently.

See the Greeter Guide page for more information.


We often have a steady stream of people coming in asking to volunteer, whether to put hours towards a membership or digging rights or just to help out. Determine what their skills and interests are, and consider assigning them a task from the Task List so they can become more engaged with the shop and community.

Volunteers with specific skills (i.e., web design, graphics, event organizing, fund raising, woodworking, etc.) are encouraged to contribute using those specific skills. Volunteers with quality bike mechanic experience are encouraged to become volunteer mechanics. Regular volunteers are often needed to greet, wrench, and perform the many mundane tasks that keep the shop going. When a volunteer commits to working consistently at the Bike Kitchen, she can become staff.


As an entirely volunteer­-run organization, the staff are rarely all together at the same time. We fill this need with the following resources:

This Wiki

The goal of this wiki is to be a central repository of information about running the Bike Kitchen. It will be most useful if staff keep it up-to-date and add things that are missing. See the help page for how to use the wiki.

Staff Meetings

Staff Meetings are usually held on the last Sunday of every other month at 7pm. These meetings are vital to the development and success of the shop. At the meetings, we discuss and vote on various issues related to the shop and establish the shift schedule for the next two months. Minutes are usually kept.

Staff Email List

Many important discussions and policy decisions are made over the staff email list. It is crucial that staff read email on the list and stay up-to-date.

Work Nights

Work nights are held on the last Sunday of every other month--that is, staff meetings and work nights alternate in the calendar. These meetings are where we do major cleaning and organization, work on larger projects within the shop, and share ideas. Along with the mailing list and the staff meetings, the work nights are a time when mechanics from all the shifts can see one another. Also, they're a lot of fun.

People Who Use the BK


Patrons visit the shop during open hours, and must either be members or pay a $6 "day use" fee. No one is turned away for lack of funds.


Memberships are annual and cost $40-$80 (sliding scale: pay more if you can), though they may be earned by volunteering for six hours. Youth age 18 and under get free membership. Membership provides:

  • access to shop and tools during open hours
  • 30% discount on used parts
  • access to classes

Digging Rights / Earn-a-Bike

For any parts you can find to build one bike, you can purchase "digging rights" for $30 or volunteer for six hours (often called "earn-a-bike"). Guidelines:

  • you must be a member
  • includes any parts you can find to build one bike, kept track of with a 'punch sheet'
  • no guarantee that the BK has all the necessary or desired parts
  • a person may acquire digging rights only once per year (not once per membership)

It is likely that a patron will not find all of the parts that she needs to complete her bike in the Bike Kitchen parts room. Other parts may be bought from the Bike Kitchen or from other shops / sources.

Some Shop Rules

Bike Storage

Bike Kitchen members may store up to one "project bike" at the Bike Kitchen as long as she makes regular progress on the project. A "project bike" is one that a member is building from parts mostly acquired from the Bike Kitchen. It must be clearly labeled with the member's name, the phone number, and the date of the last day it was worked on. Project bikes will be reclaimed if they are not properly labeled or the latest date is more than two weeks past (in which case the Bike Kitchen will try to reach the patron by phone).

Cutting Tools

There is an extra $5 charge for using one of our cutting tools (eg. bottom bracket tap, facing tool, fork thread cutter). These tools are expensive and need to be sharpened / repaired / replaced over time.


Stocking New Parts

The Bike Kitchen stocks new parts when:

  • members frequently have to leave the shop to buy parts to complete projects they are working on at the bike kitchen (such as seat binder bolts)
  • the new part will let us reuse parts that are incomplete and the used part cannot be easily found at the shop (such as a barrel adjuster)

New parts are of basic but durable quality. The goal of stocking new parts is to encourage people to reuse the parts that we already have at the bike kitchen, and to ensure a positive experience for members. Like used parts, new parts are sold only to people who use them at the Bike Kitchen.

See the Minimal Inventory page for basic parts we should keep on hand.

Special Ordering Parts

See the QBP Special Order Protocol page.

Used Parts

Prices are always subject to the discretion of the mechanics on duty. The price list near the cash register offers a guide of prices which reflects the range in quality of used parts. Mechanics should offer a ~30% reduction on prices for members.

No part leaves the shop unless it is on a bike. We are not trying to supply the universe with used parts; we're helping people build and repair bikes.

No BK frame leaves the shop. All BK frames are for EAB/digging rights projects and should be built up as complete bikes before leaving the shop. A frame or partial bike that is walking out the door should throw up a red warning flag -- please confirm that the patron brought in the frame that they are leaving with.


It is the Bike Kitchen's policy not to trade parts because:

  • it can drain our stock of useful parts for our patrons
  • we could be accepting stolen parts in exchange for legitimate parts
  • it can eat into our used part sales, a portion of our income

Handling Money

Please see the Specific Financial Protocols section


The Bike Kitchen usually holds a monthly class on how to fix your bike. They are an important part of the Bike Kitchen's mission and income. See the Education Cluster page for more information.

Open Hours

See the staff schedule for the current open hours, which are reevaluated at each staff meeting. Each open hour shift must have a shift leader, at least two supporting mechanics, and a committed greeter. New open hour shifts can be launched if the shop is available and these roles are filled.

WTF Night

WTF night is a safe and supportive night that strives to primarily serve people who identify as female or transgender. See the WTF Night page for more information.

Past Handbook Versions

Here are past versions of this Handbook:

Title Date Download
BK Handbook Draft 02 21 March 2007 pdf doc odt
BK Handbook Draft 01 28 January 2007 pdf doc odt
BK Handbook Draft 00 pdf doc odt