Sign 7: Volunteering @ Free Ride

At Free Ride, your volunteer hours count! Since we are run entirely by volunteers, we use a work-trade system to allow people to bank their volunteer hours at a rate equivalent to $8 per hour. Volunteers can then spend their earned hours on:

  • taking mechanics classes
  • acquiring used parts, frames or bicycles
  • membership in Free Ride
  • membership in Bike Pittsburgh

ATTENTION: Can someone look into whether Bike Pittsburgh still wants to offer this arrangement, and if so, could they come up with a formal procedure for how one would redeem a BP membership using FR hours?

If you want to be a volunteer mechanic…
we ask all our volunteer mechanics to subscribe to the “hands off” method of teaching. explain what to do to the other person’s skill level, then let them try to do it on their own. “if you give a person a fish they eat for a day… but if teach a person to fish, they eat for a lifetime!”
How to get involved:
come to Open Shop and help others with their mechanical questions
come to our special youth instruction or bike build/deconstruction days (announced periodically)

If you don’t have mechanical knowledge but you want to volunteer…
We need all kinds of help at Free Ride! We need people to help clean, sort parts, process donations, do administrative tasks… anything you can think of that would help a shop like ours run, we need help doing! We encourage you to come during Volunteer Night to learn more.

We need Open Shop STAFFERS! Staffers are volunteers who run Open Shop days. Their jobs include: open up the shop, work the register, answer visitors’ questions, and close open shop. Staffing requires more training, but you receive more benefits!

Attend our Collective meetings! Another way to give back to Free Ride is by getting involved in organizing Free Ride itself! Just drop in to one of our monthly collective meetings – usually the 2nd Sunday of every month. All members are welcome. Collective council members get to vote on policies that improve and affect Free Ride. There are lots of ways to plug in and get started doing the essential “behind-the-scenes” stuff, all while earning volunteer hours!


As of November BikePGH did still want to offer membership through barter and was glad to have it publicized, since they believe volunteering at FR is helping cycling in Pittsburgh. There is a place on their website to sign up. There is no formal way to make sure the hours are redeemed though (crossed off from FR’s books).