SBK New Volunteer Guide – updated 11/27/2016
Thanks for your interest in volunteering at the Sacramento Bike Kitchen! We welcome volunteers of any skill level. The Bike Kitchen is a 100% volunteer-run organization — we depend on the generous efforts of volunteers. Your role as a volunteer will be defined by your specific skills and interest, and we regularly have volunteer tasks that require no mechanical experience.
After you have completed volunteer orientation, signed the SBK Waiver and the Code of Conduct – Safe Space Agreement Acknowledgement Form, you may begin your first shift. Simply show up during regular shift hours, check in with the clerk, and ask the manager or shift Volunteer Mentor to provide you a task or train you for your desired position. RSVPs or signing up for shifts is not required, but you may let the Volunteer Coordinator know ahead of time which shift you plan to attend.
Every shift has four very important positions – Managers, Volunteer Mentors, Clerks, and Mechanics. You may also act as a General Volunteer.
Managers are responsible for implementing shop policy, ensuring the safety of the shop, assigning tasks to volunteers and patrons, assigning prices to parts and bikes, and so on. Managers will often be called on to perform clerk or mechanic duties, and so should be comfortable using the computer, the shop log, and all tools. During a shift, the shift manager’s word is law. Because they must be aware of shop policy and aware of how it affects shop operations, shift managers are generally Core members. Generally, each shift has one manager.
The manager position is currently filled for every shift. If a manager position becomes vacant for a particular shift, the SBK Core group will identify and elect an interim or permanent manager to fill that role.
Volunteer mentors are responsible for providing guidance and direction to any new volunteers that show up during a shift. This position is filled variably. Shift managers will make an effort to assign one experienced volunteer as the Volunteer Mentor for the night, or as a regular role for that shift. Volunteer mentors may help new volunteers become more oriented by showing them where to locate things, assigning tasks, and providing any additional training.
Clerks handle administrative tasks for the shop. The clerk will greet patrons, have them sign our waiver if it is their first visit, and check them in using our Freehub computer system. Clerks keep track of sales and membership fees, collect money, check out tools, and generally provide an extra set of eyes and ears for the manager, helping identify possible problems with patrons or other volunteers. No mechanical skill is required, but clerks might help out with minor tasks like flat repair guidance and assisting patrons in putting their bikes up on the rack. Clerks also direct new volunteers to the manager or Volunteer Mentor, or provide training themselves. Optimal staffing is to have two clerks, sharing administrative/monitoring duties, or to allow one clerk to shadow a mechanic to learn bicycle repair while the other handles the clerk duties.
If you are interested in clerking, ask the current clerk to provide training. You will be able to clerk independently without supervision once the manager has determined that you have received sufficient training. This will likely require you working alongside a regular clerk for at least 2 shifts.
Mechanics are mainly responsible for assisting patrons that have come into the shop to work on their bike or buy parts. Mechanics may also work on building up or breaking down shop bicycles, if it is slow or the manager has determined this would be an appropriate activity for their skill level. If building or breaking, the mechanic is largely left to his or own judgment about part suitability. If helping a patron, however, the mechanic is expected to assist the patron in locating an appropriate part and ensure they pay for the part prior to installation.
While assisting a patron, the mechanic’s role is that of a teacher and “service adviser”, taking a hands-off approach to the patron’s bike and teaching the patron how the parts work, what the problem is, and how to fix it. The patron should be doing the majority of, if not all, the work to fix their bike. The mechanic should monitor repair progress on the patron’s bike during the course of the shift, while coordinating with the shift manager for part pricing and project completion.
If you are interested in becoming a mechanic and would like to receive training to improve your knowledge and skill at bicycle repair, please refer to the mechanic checklist to determine your current Mechanic Level. If you have little or no mechanic experience, that is no problem; you may begin training at Level One.
Volunteers, especially new volunteers, may desire to not perform formal clerk or mechanic duties, but to instead help with general shop organization and administration. Duties will vary depending on current shop needs, but tasks will often include greeting and directing patrons, staffing outreach or Second Saturday events, providing administrative assistance (e.g. collecting donations, purchasing supplies), IT support, or helping to organize and clean the shop.
Ongoing daily tasks that require little or no mechanical experience:
Put tools away and reorganize tool cabinets
Organize outside storage area
Remove bottle cages and racks off shop bikes
Refill water dispenser
Other helpful information:
We host a 2nd Saturday fundraiser March through November of each year. Local bands donate their time to come out and play music while we sell beer (usually donated by local breweries) to raise money. Come out to volunteer or to enjoy the music and support SBK. Be sure to invite your friends!
Each shift rotates in planning and hosting a monthly staff ride for volunteers. It’s always an easy ride around 6 or 7 miles, at the end of which we grab food & drinks at a local restaurant. SBK usually buys one round and some basic appetizers as a sign of volunteer appreciation. It’s a great time to come out and meet volunteers from other shifts that you might not normally meet.
Staff meetings are held the first Monday of every month at SBK. They are open to the public and, while not required, all volunteers are encouraged to attend and participate. It
is a great opportunity to see what the current issues are at the bike kitchen and share your thoughts about how things are run.
During regular volunteer orientation nights (every 2nd and 4th Monday of each month), the shop is made open for volunteer nights. There are additional open shop times for volunteers at an ad hoc basis.
Only as a regular volunteer does one have the privilege to use the shop for personal projects. A regular volunteer is defined as one that volunteers for at least 2 full shifts per month. As discussed above and in the Code of Conduct – Safe Space Agreement, volunteers are expected to be supporting the mission of the Bicycle Kitchen during normal shift hours. Working on one’s own bike is only allowed during staff open shop days, and, occasionally, at the discretion of the shift manager. Volunteers guided by selfish motives (i.e. those spending the majority of their time at SBK working on personal projects) will be asked to leave, and/or their volunteer privileges may be removed.
Build-n-Break parties occur every Sunday, unless cancelled. Build-n-Break parties allow volunteers to build and repair project bikes and clean up the shop without interruption from patrons.
Parts and Supplies
We sell new cables for $2 each, housing for $1 per foot and rim tape at $3 per wheel. HOWEVER, we do not sell cables, housing, or rim tape for use outside the shop.” They are only to be sold as a convenience to patrons working on their bike in the shop with us that night.
Used cables and housing hanging on the tool wall are FREE.
We generally do not sell new tubes, all the tubes we have are donated and very likely have holes. Patching tubes is a free service, the patch-em-yourself tubes are free, and the first couple patches are provided for free. . However, patrons must still sign in before working on fixing a flat. Patches are to be given to patrons once the rubber cement has dried and is tacky.
Running the Shop
If it is a patron’s first time in the shop, they must fill out the liability waiver on the iPad. The only exception is if someone is only looking to buy parts. Once it is complete it will transfer over to the software we use on the computer, however sometimes this takes a couple minutes. Minors must have a parent or guardian co-sign their waiver before they can work in the shop. Once the waiver is signed, the minor and other family members that have signed waivers can come in and work on the minor’s bike free of charge. Some patrons may have trouble understanding or using the iPad software, this is normal and you might have to help them with it.
SBK is a do-it-yourself shop, if work can be done by the patron, please try to have them do it instead of doing it for them. However, there may be occasions in which your special expertise is needed or a patron requires more assistance than usual due to a physical or mental disability. Use your best judgment and teach what you can.
The upstairs storage room is off limits to all patrons; volunteers may go upstairs with manager approval.
Non-volunteers cannot go into the back area of the shop without a volunteer.
Clerking and Purchases
We do not give out receipts for parts purchases. If the patron purchases a bike and would like a receipt, we may give them one from the receipt book underneath the keyboard; however this is not a requirement and we usually don’t offer if they don’t ask
We do, however, give receipts for donations upon request. The donation receipts are kept in the upper left-hand drawer by the computer. Fill out the date and a description of the items donated, sign at the bottom, and give the receipt to the patron. We are not legally allowed to decide the donation value amount.
If you need to unlock bikes to show a patron, ask the shop manager where the keys are. Patrons must leave a photo ID if they would like to take a bike on a test ride.
The Shop Log- If you are clerking and a patron buys something, enter the amount paid in the appropriate column. If selling parts, bikes, or T-shirts, no patron name is needed
WE DO NOT TRADE OR BUY BIKES OR PARTS.
If a patron does not have the shop fee, it is the shift manager’s discretion to allow them to work in exchange for the shop fee. If approved by the shop manager, this should be noted in the computer as part of their visit notes. We generally try to limit work trade to two patrons per shift. Work trade participants may clean or organize the shop but are not allowed to assist patrons or work on shop bikes.
We only accept cash; the closest ATM is across the street in the Bonfare gas station.
The manager is different for every shift in a given week and, as such, prices might change from shift to shift. When providing price quotes, please advise patrons that the price is valid for that shift only. WE DO NOT DO HOLDS. We do not have the storage space or any way to track holds on potential purchases or patron’s personal property.
The daily shops fee is $5, and it covers the duration of the shift. Memberships are $50 for an entire year and include unlimited shop visits and an SBK T-shirt of the patron’s choosing. If a patron decides to purchase a membership, you must account to reflect their membership start date and create a laminated membership card for them. This is relatively rare, so if it comes up just ask the clerk or manager on duty what to do.
All parts and bikes are sold AS IS. We are not responsible for additional work that needs to be done to a bike after it is sold, although we may sometimes make minor adjustments for a customer prior to them buying a bike.
SBK New Volunteer Guide – updated 11/27/2016