This past summer, the Mosaic Community Bike Shop opened at 611 W. Second Avenue in downtown Spokane. According to manager Doug Porter, the shop picks up where Pedals2People left off after it closed, but with new and different goals. The nonprofit shop is supported by Mosaic Fellowship Church, and while it is a faith-based organization, the shop is about modeling and setting an example rather than proselytizing. Formerly, Porter volunteered for Pedals2People and the opportunity for the church-sponsored shop presented itself when Pedals2People closed its doors. Porter saw the shop as a place where people could share in something positive without regard for how much money they have or what their current life situation is.
Workstations and bike stands are available for $10 an hour. And if you need some assistance there’s likely a volunteer who can help you. The shop purchased a ton of bike parts from Pedals2People that are all cataloged and organized. Porter says he spent most of last winter on that task alone. The shop also caries new parts, including lights, tires and tubes. People are welcome to bring in their bike and their own parts if they just need a warm and well-equipped place to work on their bike – and maybe someone to chat with while they work.
Although the Mosaic Fellowship ministry supports the shop, it needs donations of bikes, bike parts, money and volunteer time. Volunteers with mechanical experience can share their skills in the shop, and anyone can help with mentoring, media relations and other duties. Cash donations will go toward scholarships and micro loans.
“The shop is here to reach out and serve as a model to the poor, the less fortunate, and those who have made poor choices,” says Porter. He claims the shop location is within a four-block area that has one of the highest crime rates in Spokane. But that situation is improving, and Porter might know why: “Since the shop opened, the drug traffic that used to take place in the deserted parking lot has disappeared.” Porter was encouraged to see that even though Mosaic Community Bike Shop opened without fanfare, word about the shop quickly spread. Customers needing bike repairs and volunteers helping with repairs have kept the place busy. During one visit, volunteer Jess Towner built up a BMX bike from the frame up and had it ready to roll in about an hour.
Mosaic Community Bike Shop was recently approved to work with the Community Court, which offers alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders who commit quality-of-life offenses such as trespassing or consuming alcohol in a public place. Approved offenders can now perform community service at the shop.
Porter and his volunteer crew have bigger plans. Sandblasting and powder coat paint facilities should be ready next month. He also hopes to offer welding. The shop services are not only for people to work on their own bikes but also to create entrepreneurial opportunities for people who have the skills to use the facilities. For example, someone with artistic abilities could offer custom frame painting.
Mosaic Community Bike Shop also has office space available. If someone is motivated and has a workable idea for a business, Porter and several volunteers will teach them much of what they need to know about running a small business. Topics include writing a business plan, customer service, advertising, and budgeting. Micro loans to get started will also be a possibility. Porter described one potential participant who used to work at a bike shop in Portland and now wants to build and sell sturdy, inexpensive bike trailers from old bike parts.
To help generate revenue, Porter wants to offer a 160-hour Bike Tools accreditation class for anyone interested in becoming a bike mechanic. Payment options can vary depending on the individual’s situation. Porter also plans to provide the jigs, sell the kits, and guide people who are interested in building a bamboo bicycle.
The overarching goal of the Mosaic Community Bike Shop is to create a space where people can feel a part of something. A place where people can come and go as they please and always feel that they belong, regardless of their situation in life. A place for positive changes.