Using the Shop
What’s Bike Farm’s mission?
Bike Farm aims to provide a space where people can learn about the bicycle and build community around promoting sustainable transportation. We strive to demystify the bike in order to impact the city in a healthy and positive way.
One volunteer once simplified this to say that we put tools in people’s hands.
What are your hours like?
Currently, we are only open on a very limited schedule, and only for curbside service. See the sidebar to the left for more info, and check our social media for more details.
What should I expect when I come into the shop?
You will be greeted by a greasy-armed volunteer and access to our tool board. We will ask you to sign in with your name and what you’re working on. One of our helpful mechanics will guide you through the process of examining and working on your bike. Before you leave you have the option of buying a membership, paying at an hourly rate, or volunteering your time. We don’t give parts away for free, but we generally won’t turn people away for stand time if they don’t have the funds.
Will you fix my bike?
No, Bike Farm won’t fix your bike, but we will help you fix it yourself! Our shop is a bicycle education collective. Bike Farm’s volunteer mechanic-teachers are here to guide your learning.
Are you a bike shop?
That depends on what you mean by "bike shop." Some folks think of a bike shop as a full-service garage that sells tune-ups and repair services from staff mechanics. First and foremost, we do not sell/offer repair as a service. Instead, we guide you through your own repairs! This can take longer, and you might not be able to accomplish everything in a single visit, but learning is fun! And it's definitely cheaper.
But in terms of "can you buy a bike/bike stuff there," we do sell (refurbished) bikes, and (mostly used) parts. Our inventory is limited (as it's all donated,) and it's always changing!
We've got some new parts too, like locks, cables, lube, handlebar tape, and more! But since we're a nonprofit community institution, you won't find the same retail inventory as you would at a commercial "bike shop"
Do you offer classes?
The shop sometimes offers workshops, but we don't have regular classes. If something is wrong with your bike, bring it in when we are open. No appointment necessary. We will help you learn to fix it.
Do you sell used parts?
Yes! We sell most of the parts that usually come on a bicycle. We're here to help you learn how to work on bikes, and as a by-product, we end up with quite an assortment of used parts in varying condition. We're not a thrift store, but that might help you to understand what to expect in terms of quality and predictability of our used parts inventory.
Does your shop buy used bikes or bike parts?
No, we do not. However, we do offer some parts credit incentives for committed volunteers!
Does Bike Farm sell basic bike repair tool kits?
In terms of a "complete kit," no. And what is "complete," really? If you give a mouse a cookie, it's going to want a glass of milk to go with it. And if you give a mouse a wrench set, it's going to want a headset press... and a crank puller...
The unfortunate reality of commercially available toolkits is that they tend to be incomplete, overpriced, low-quality, or some combination of these. Ideally Bike Farm provides access to tools which would otherwise be prohibitively expensive to own.
We do sell some tools, most of them used, for significantly less than you'd find elsewhere. (This inventory is always changing, because it's been donated!) We've even got some pretty specialized ones, like wheel truing stands! And we stock and sell (new) tire levers and patch kits.
But you're probably better off going to a commercial bike shop if you want a "full" set; we don't always have multitools or hand pumps, etc. There is a comprehensive list of bike shops down the right-hand side of Bike Portland. Don't forget to pack some emergency chocolate!
Do you have any used inexpensive bikes for sale?
The shop has a rotating inventory of refurbished bikes that have been put together by volunteers. There tend to be a dozen options in the winter and a handful of options in spring and summer. Craigslist is another good place to find used bicycles (don’t forget to look up the serial number on Bike Index to make sure it's not stolen!).
Keep in mind that if you're looking for a reliable bicycle, you may also want to have lights, a helmet, a U-lock, a bell, fenders and a rain jacket in winter, a bike rack, and some bike buckets or bike bags.
How much does a used bike cost at Bike Farm?
Bike prices usually range from $150 - $350, though they can range higher or lower depending on the condition and quality of the frame and components.
I bought a complete bike from the shop and it needs work.
Bikes sold as "complete" have been safety-checked by 2 volunteers, but we are only human, and you may notice something that we did not. Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to sort it out!
I came by during business hours and Bike Farm was closed. Why?
Because the organization is run by volunteers, we sometimes run into scheduling difficulties. We all do the best we can, and Bike Farm greatly appreciates all of our amazing volunteers. However, if there are not at least two people available to volunteer for a shift, we close the shop. We appreciate your understanding! And remember, everyone is more than welcome to volunteer to make sure the shop is open as much as possible. If there’s a time you’re free to volunteer that the shop isn’t usually open, let us know.
Does Bike Farm have a program whereby an individual with no income can volunteer at the shop in exchange for a bike?
Not currently, though we are currently partnering with some (external) referring agencies to grant bikes to people with income limitations.
If you are a Central City Concern client, you may have an opportunity to build a bike at no cost through Bikes for Humanity's new refurbished bike program.