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Mission and history

What is the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen?

SBK is a community-centered bicycle shop serving the residents of Sacramento, California. The organization has been formed in order to promote cycling as a low-cost, alternative form of transportation; enable self-sufficiency through knowledge of bicycle maintenance; and promote bicycle safety through education and classes.

What does that mean?

We want to improve bicycling in Sacramento by making bicycle maintenance, repair, and training more widely available to everyone, regardless of skill level.  To this end, we provide the space, tools, and staff necessary to help our patrons learn how to perform any bicycle repair need they may have, all in exchange for a minimal cash donation.  Besides running the bike shop, we also try to offer maintenance and safety courses and community outreach projects.

Who is welcome?

Our doors are freely open during our shop hours to anyone who loves and respects bicycling and their fellow cyclists as much as we do.

Sacramento is one of the most diverse communities in the nation. SBK is an organization that is committed to creating an environment that is free from bigotry and hate. Discrimination will not be tolerated and we try hard to maintain an open and safe environment for all. If you encounter someone that goes against this policy please bring it to one of the core volunteer’s attention.

Who runs this joint?

In a way, we all do — that’s part and parcel of the idea of a “community” shop.  Like any nonprofit, there is a governing body that handles compliance issues, tool and parts orders, and other behind-the-scenes stuff, but anyone who knows what they’re doing is welcome to lend a hand, whether it’s as simple as greeting patrons or as involved as knocking a stuck steerer out of a head tube.  If you’d like to volunteer, check out this page.

We do try to ensure that our staff volunteers are professional, courteous, and helpful.  We expect them to do their part to make sure the shop is a safe, fair, and enjoyable environment for everyone

This is amazing; how do you pay for all of it?

The cynical answer is that since we are staffed entirely by volunteers, our overhead stays low.

The honest answer is that a bunch of like-minded and generous people donate their time to staff the shop, run classes, and fix up donated bikes.  We then sell those bikes and other donated spare parts — often for a fraction of their true value — and ask our patrons to pony up $5 a day or $50 a year in membership fees to compensate us for wear and tear on the tools, the shop, and our volunteers’ brains and hands.

In addition to fees and parts sales, we sell t-shirts and throw a rockin’ party every Second Saturday.

Greasy hands, delicious suds, live bands, and cotton duds all help keep us in business.

How did this all start?

SBK started in early 2006 with a post to the internet forum CraigsList.  It quickly morphed into an an actual shop on Broadway in Oak Park in the middle of 2006. After two years of solvency and building a thriving community in Oak Park, the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen moved out of the cramped shop to seek more (and more centralized) space.  We signed a lease for our current midtown location on Nov. 20, 2008 and officially opened in the new space at 1915 I Street with a big Second Saturday party in January, 2009.  We’ve been growing strong since then!

Why “Kitchen?”, and is it different from “Bike Churches” and “Co-Ops?”

A tool and maintenance co-operative is an idea that long predates us, so we can’t take credit for the concept.  We opened SBK around the time when “kitchen” was a common term for a bicycle co-operative, after the establishment of the notable LA Bici Cocina and SF Bike Kitchen.  “Church” was another common theme; our neighbors at the Davis Bike Church (now Davis Bike Forth) and the Santa Cruz Bike Church adopted the more spiritual theme. We are not directly affiliated with these groups, but we share their goals and aspirations, regardless of the terminology we’ve individually chosen.