For Current Volunteers

For Current Volunteers

SBK New Volunteer Guide – last updated 10/26/17

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 interests, and we regularly have volunteer tasks that require no mechanical experience.

After you have completed volunteer orientation and 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.

Volunteer Positions

Every shift has four very important positions – Manager, Volunteer Mentor, Clerk, and Mechanic. 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, pricing parts and bikes, and so on. Managers will often be called on to perform clerk or mechanic duties, and so should be well-versed in all roles and able to maintain flexibility. During a shift, the shift manager’s word is law. Because they must be aware of evolving shop policies and how they affect shop operations, shift managers are generally Core members.

When manager positions become available for a particular shift, the SBK Core group will identify and elect an interim or permanent manager to fill that role.

Volunteer Mentor

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 additional training.


Clerks handle administrative tasks for the shop. The clerk will greet patrons, have them sign the waiver if it is their first visit, and check them in to the Freehub database. 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.

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 appropriate parts and ensure they pay for the parts 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.

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. Those with little to no experience may begin training at Level One.

General Volunteer

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), or helping to organize and clean the shop.

Ongoing daily tasks that require little or no mechanical experience:

  • Sort tubes, tires, wheels, parts, and new donations
  • Put tools away and reorganize tool cabinets
  • Organize outside storage area
  • Remove bottle cages and racks off shop bikes
  • Refill water dispenser
  • Sweep or perform other cleaning tasks

Other Helpful Information:

Volunteer Activities and Communication

  • 2nd Saturday Parties- We host a 2nd Saturday fundraiser April through October 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! 
  • Staff Rides- Each shift rotates in planning and hosting a monthly volunteer appreciation staff ride. The ride is generally a slow to moderately paced 6-7 mile journey, at the end of which we grab food & drinks at a local restaurant. SBK usually buys one round of drinks and some basic appetizers for the group. It’s a great time to come out and meet volunteers from other shifts!
  • Staff meetings are held the first Monday of every month at SBK at 6pm. 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.
  • Build-n-Break Parties occur regularly on Sundays. Build-n-Breaks allow volunteers to build and repair project bikes and clean up the shop without interruption from patrons.
  • Communication- Notices of staff activities such as staff rides, volunteer nights, and Build-n-Breaks are communicated via the staff email list. Let your regular shift manager know if you would like to be added to the group!
  • Volunteer Shop Time*- The shop is often open on Monday nights for volunteer personal projects. There are additional open shop times for volunteers at an ad hoc basis.

*PLEASE NOTE: 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. 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.


General Shop & Mechanic Info

  • SBK is a do-it-yourself shop; if work can be done by the patron, have them do it! 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.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a patron’s repair question, that’s okay! Check with other volunteers on shift and if no one knows, the patron may need to visit another shift or do some research to find the answers they need.
  • Before allowing a patron on to a rack or assisting with repairs, be sure to confirm that they have signed in, paid any necessary fees, and paid for any parts they want to use.
  • Purchases- All sales are Final and AS-IS. Bikes are priced accordingly and SBK is not responsible for additional work needed on a bike. Purchase receipts are not required, however, you can create one on a piece of paper stamped with the SBK stamp if you like. We only accept cash; the closest ATM is across 20th street in the gas station.
  • Pricing- Manager of the day can evaluate and price anything not already marked with a price; there is a reference price list on the desk to help with this. 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 space or any way to track held items. 
  • Shop Bikes- Bikes may be unlocked in order to get a bike out to work on or to allow a test ride but should be locked back up before leaving the immediate area. Patrons must leave a photo ID to test ride a bike.
  • Donations- Manager of the day has discretion to accept or deny any donations. Each shift should try to sort and put away donations that come in during their shift.
  • Restricted Areas- Patrons are not allowed behind the counter and cannot take tools from the tool cabinet. The upstairs storage room is off limits to patrons; volunteers may go upstairs with manager approval. Patrons cannot go into the back yard area of the shop without a volunteer escort.  Doors to the yard area should remain closed if it is too busy to keep an eye on folks. Bikes in the yard are not to be scavenged for parts.
  • Last 30 Minutes of Shift- Start cleaning up tools, parts, etc. NO new patron sign-ins. 


  • Waivers- All patrons must have a completed liability waiver on file AND be signed in to Freehub PRIOR to being allowed to work in the shop. Some patrons may have trouble using the iPad and will require assistance. Once the patron submits the waiver, patron info magically transfers over to the computer for entry into Freehub. When creating the patron’s Freehub profile, use the “Edit Tags” link on the right hand side to add the “Signed E-Waiver” or other appropriate tag to their profile. Minors must have a parent or guardian co-sign their waiver.
  • Shop Fee- The daily shop fee is $5 and covers the duration of the shift. Annual memberships are $50 and include unlimited shop visits and an SBK T-shirt. If a patron buys a membership, create the membership in their Freehub profile and make them a laminated membership card. The shift manager can provide further guidance, as needed.  Minors and families working on minors’ bikes are not charged a shop fee.
  • Work Trade- The shift manager may allow patrons in need to do work trade in lieu of the shop fee, usually up to a max of two work traders per shift. Approved work trade should be noted in the patron’s Freehub visit notes. Work traders may clean or organize the shop but are not allowed to assist patrons or work on shop bikes.
  • Tool checkout- Clerks are responsible for checking out tools to patrons and making sure they are returned. It is advised to keep a list on a notepad of the tools checked out to each patron to help with tracking. Some tools are labeled “mechanic only”; make sure these tools are not checked out to patrons directly.
  • The Shop Log- Track shop fees and sales by entering the amount paid in the appropriate column. If selling parts, bikes, or T-shirts, no patron name is needed. At the end of the shift, work with the manager to balance the cash drawer against the shop log and return $50 in small bills to the bank bag for the next shift’s change fund.
  • Donation Receipts are kept in the upper left-hand drawer of the desk. Fill out the date and description and sign at the bottom. Per IRS guidelines we cannot decide the value.
  • Other Duties- Put out SBK flyers and stickers, help patrons put their bikes on the rack, check on patrons patching, organize the desk area, etc.

Patron Conduct

  • Patrons are expected to be polite, do their own work, return all tools, clean up after themselves, and follow staff instructions as well as shop rules and conduct guidelines.
  • ALL patrons using the shop must sign a waiver and get signed in to Freehub. Patrons shopping for parts may also be required to sign in at the manager’s discretion.
  • SBK reserves the right to refuse service to any patron at any time.
  • SBK Safe Space Guidelines apply to patron behavior as well; if you witness a patron acting inappropriately or erratically, please bring the issue to the manager’s attention. Chronically problematic patrons may be banned and required to attend a monthly meeting to remediate the issue prior to being allowed back in the shop.
  • Patron bikes should be on racks and NOT on the floor. Patron bikes not being worked on should be out of the way and not leaning against the doorway, against the building outside, or clogging the aisles. A bike rack is available in the parking lot.
  • Working in the parking lot is prohibited and NO tools may be taken outside!