East Bay Express: Taking the High Road [Bicycle Shops], May 11, 2011


Over in Alameda, Changing Gears Community Bike Shop (650 W. Ranger Ave., 995-1478, ChangingGearsBikes.org) takes a straight tack toward community building. Known as Cycles of Change until last October, when it entered into a new partnership with Berkeley's Earth Island Institute, Changing Gears is another nonprofit that serves a higher ideal. Proceeds from sales and repairs aren't an end to themselves, but part of the funding mechanism for the shop's more civic-minded endeavors, such as providing on-site job training to the homeless, offering volunteer and earn-a-bike opportunities to both youth and adults, and leading bicycle field trips. Changing Gears also operates a community repair shop; use of the tools and stands runs $5 an hour.

Housed in a cavernous warehouse near the former naval air station at Alameda Point, the shop has a huge supply of used bikes on hand — often, donated bikes that have been fixed up for resale — and provides repair services to the general public. Among the East Bay's do-gooder bike shops, it's one of the largest and most securely funded.