Island City Bicycle Nonprofit Can’t Surmount Bump in Road
Part of shop’s mission is to take donated bikes, restore them
The Changing Gears Bicycle Shop is closing after 12 years in business in Alameda. The Island City staple located at Alameda Point will shut down services officially in April.
Changing Gears opened in June 2006 as a collaboration between two nonprofits, Cycles of Change and Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) and was creatively named Cycles of Change APC. In 2010 the shop transitioned to its current fiscal sponsor, Earth Island Institute, changed names to Changing Gears and began to offer a full range of bicycle services to the general public.
Changing Gears is not a typical bicycle shop. As a nonprofit it received 3,000 bicycle donations since its inception diverting more than 10 tons of material from local landfills. The company also provided the public bicycles and repairs through their work-credit program. It also conducted bicycle field trips for more than 100 APC youth and became a regular destination for Eagle Scout projects, corporate volunteering events and school field trip programs.
Changing Gears gave job training opportunities to Bay Area youth to teach them how to repair bicycles next to real bicycle mechanics. In its 12-year history Changing Gears won multiple awards including Alameda Magazine’s Best Bicycle Recycler in 2009 and the San Francisco Crissy Fields Center Community Heroes award that same year. The SF Bay Guardian awarded them the Best Moving Onward and Upward award in 2008. The East Bay Express bestowed upon them the Best Bicycle Shop – Beyond Retail, Teaching Kids Pride and Ownership award in 2007.
Changing Gears management has been unable find any affordable alternative locations after searching for more than a year. The owners of Changing Gears hoped to move to Oakland after the lease was up at their current location. But after being unable to find a new location, they will permanently close the business.
Changing Gears is conducting an inventory sale before its April closing date. Some items will be given away for free. Changing Gears will no longer perform bicycle repairs nor receive bicycle donations during their final weeks of business.
To check out Changing Gears’ inventory sale, visit its Alameda Point location at 650 West Ranger Ave., Unit C-2. Changing Gears operating hours have been reduced. To check out their operating schedule or for more information, call Changing Gears at 995-1478.