Staff Orientation Outline

Greeting and introductory go-around

  • Hi everyone – thanks so much for coming!
  • Have a go-around sharing names and interests in volunteering for Free Ride. (This is the time to engage people personally. Address whether their interests can be achieved through volunteering)
  • Tour of shop, geared to the degree of familiarity your crew has. If they have all been there a bunch maybe just tell them about the specialty tool box.

Summarize staffing roles


Main responsibilities of the greeters are to orient people to how things work at FR, help with purchases or paper work, and regulate the door to make sure everyone there understands open shop.

Mechanic Advisor

The main responsibilities are to provide guidance in a hands-off manner, encourage collaboration and help answer general bicycle questions.

Explain training structure

This orientation is an overview; you will learn most of the details through shadowing.

Greeter Training

  • The first step is to show up and shadow a shift
  • Next, attend a staffing skills workshop
  • Staffing volunteer night and open shop nights are different, you should shadow each to learn
  • You can shadow as many times as you like to get familiar with things. Then you can sign up to staff independently.

Mechanic Advisor Training

  • Also start by shadowing (mechanic assistant) and then attend the teaching skills workshop
  • Practice with repairs and with teaching as much as you can. The exiting mechanics are here to help you to become a better mechanic.
  • Continue to shadow as a mechanic in training. You will get lots of questions and experience fast!
  • Sign up as the main mechanic when you feel you are ready. Talk to one of the main mechanics for guidance.

Free Ride’s structure & the role of Staffer

Hand out the Membership Brochure as a visual reference for people to see the break-down of membership levels.

Free Ride is a collective structured with minimal hierarchy and the governing body is the collective council, which operates on consensus.

The council operates by consensus. Who has worked with consensus before? Discuss. Consensus is not only a voting method; it is a process for crafting ideas collaboratively. It is different, and sometimes difficult, but rewarding. Benefits are that it is respectful of all participants, often creates stronger decisions because there are no disgruntled minorities, and the process of crafting ideas together sometimes creates solutions no individual would have thought of alone.

Free Ride has monthly general meetings where members and council members attend. These meetings typically focus on Free Ride policy, report-backs of the sub-committees and are a good place to draw attention to issues that have come up.

Other Free Ride programs (Optional)

Summarize Free Ride programs so people have a better picture of the organization, if time permits.

  • Adult mechanics classes
  • Youth summer programs
  • Women and Trans night open shop and classes

Core volunteers at Free Ride are the staff!

  • Staff keep Fee Ride running, but don’t need to be concerned with organizing
  • Volunteering as staff is a direct way to get lots of hours for work-trade
  • Staffing gets you accustomed with Free Ride and you can decide how else to be involved
    • Run youth programs or teach adult classes
    • Help on committees or train new staff
    • Take on a project where you see Free Ride is lacking

Staffing responsibilities

The staffer is there to uphold a respectful culture in the shop for all users.

  • Free Ride’s approach to teaching (this is important! It’s pretty much the only time to share this information!) : Give a person a fish, feed them for a day; teach a person to fish, feed them for life. People do their own work, tools should always be in their hands, you stand back & instruct.
  • Be encouraging. Take care to be accessible but not patronizing, and don’t pre-judge how much someone knows about bike mechanics based on gender or anything else.
  • Never criticize anyone’s bike. Be honest about its capabilities if they ask, but never judge or demean.
    If you see other people in the shop who are violating the mission, you are empowered to ask them to work in accord with how we do things here.
    What do you do when you are asked for help on something and (1) you don’t know how, (2) are unsure of, (3) you are uncomfortable with, or (4) is something that Free Ride does not offer? Say, “Sorry I can’t help you any further.” Remember, you are a volunteer and you can’t do everything.

What’s next to become a staffer?

  • Reiterate the training process of shadowing at least three times, or until they feel comfortable
    • In brief: sign up on the calendar, show up 10 minutes early, open and close
    • Explain how to sign up with an asterisk next to name while shadowing

Pass around paper for people to put their email address

  • They should indicate Yes/No if they want to be added to the volunteering email list
  • Tell them to expect an email with links to the following:
    • Staffing calendar to sign up to shadow
    • Staffing manual to read through for details on staff procedures
    • Page on the website that organizes this material and more all in one place
      Emphasize that we really need staffers right now but we also really value any contribution people are able to make. If you want to staff every week we’re super excited and you should do it. But if you only have time once a month, or as a back-up, that is still really useful. If we had twenty more people like that we’d be in much better shape.

Any questions…?

Free Ride is great, it’s really rewarding, see you around the shop!

Follow-up Email

Use the example to send a follow-up email. Be as prompt as possible.

Volunteer Email List

If the email addresses work and do not bounce back, you can also add them to the volunteer email distribution list.


See the council meeting discussion on helping make sure people are prepared to staff: