Free Ride Staffing Manual

Mission, Code of Conduct and Values

Re-working our mission statement is underway as of May 2012… check back soon!

Maintaining a Safe, Inclusive Environment

At Free Ride we are committed to confronting discriminatory words and actions. As part of this commitment, we urge all volunteers to learn about anti-oppression. A commitment to creating an anti-discriminatory space requires that we recognize that oppressions (for example, those based on race gender, class, sexual orientation, age, or ability) are embedded in social interactions and come into play in the bike collective space. If you hear offensive language or see discriminatory behaviour, either from a volunteer or a shop user, it would be great if you confronted it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, talk to another volunteer about doing so.

Click here to read up on what we mean by “anti-oppression” and “anti-discriminatory,” or ask for more info from a council member.

^ Section added by Caroline 5/7/12, language stolen directly from The Flat Expectation from Volunteers. Has not been formally approved by council.

Teaching Approach

We are big believers in helping people to learn how to do something rather than doing it for them. It is very important that people who come to the shop are respected and encouraged to learn, regardless of their experience level or background. This applies to Open Shop, as well as Drop-In-Classes:

Put the tools in the users hands. Stand back and tell them how, even when you know you could do it better or faster. If you need to, demonstrate on a different bike or a scrap part. Let them work on their own bike.

General Staffing Information

We try to maintain two staffing volunteers per shift at a minimum. Their primary role is “Greeter.” Although the staffers may have time and skill, (and are encouraged) to perform other functions (described later), at least one staffer remain at the front of the shop as a greeter.

The two staffers should decide together how they will work in the shop. You could both be greeters at the same time, or divide greeter responsibilities between the two of you, or have one of you be greeter and another do something else, switch off doing greeter role halfway through, etc. There must be someone at the door the whole shift, to monitor entry.



Skills workshops

Signing up to staff

Summary of Weekly Free Ride Events

Open Shop Nights

Open Shop is a time when members can do self-directed work in a collaborative environment. For example, they can work on their own bikes, help others to work on their bikes, or do volunteer tasks without staff direction.

We do not promise visitors that the staffers will give them mechanical help during Open Shop. Instead, we encourage visitors to ask and help each other. Staffers may encourage this by trying to match up people in need of assistance with people who have relevant knowledge or skills. People who help others may claim volunteer credit for the time the spend doing so.

Volunteering Nights

These nights are designed to give volunteers tasks such as cleaning the shop, sorting and filing parts, stripping and repairing bikes for folks coming to put in volunteer hours. Refer to the white board for with volunteer tasks.

Check that the volunteers have a good idea of where tools are. Remind volunteers to log their hours either in their member log sheet or on their EAB sheet.

Drop-in Clasess

Teaching classes is open to collective council members who are trained. We encourage all council members to get trained. Training is designed to impart mechanical skills and teaching skills. There are six mechanical topics covered by the classes, and you can become certified to teach separately for each topic.
For any training topic:

  1. “Shadow” the class – This means you observe the instructor. Shadow at least once and until you feel ready to co-teach the topic.
  2. Co-teach the class – To co-teach, put your name on the calendar with a request to co-teach. You get paid $15 / hour for 3 hours when you co-teach.
  3. Teach, with an experienced instructor watching. They will offer feedback and evaluate your readiness to teach independently. If this goes well, you can sign up to teach. When you become a lead teacher and teach at least one class independently, you can retroactively be paid half-wage for shadowing and co-teaching (one session only for each).

Note: Teaching the classes is fun and a good way to build your expertise!

Common Tasks for all staff

Opening The Shop

(Open shop and Volunteer night)

  1. Arrive 10 minutes early to set up and coordinate with your fellow staffers.
  2. Unlock accordion door. Put the lock back on the eye bolt so that it doesn’t get lost.
  3. Switch on the lights.
    1. The switches for the Free Ride overhead lights are on a little panel underneath the breaker box near the bathrooms. Ours have a bike picture tag on them. Do not touch the other switches! Our neighbors may get upset if we touch there switches.
    2. The bench lights are turned on using the light switch behind the locker, near the outlet.
    3. If it is dark inside, turn on the lights above the entrance hallway and the bathroom lights.
  4. Unlock the red tool cabinet (top & bottom).
  5. Count money for the register (up to $125).
  6. Tidy up the shop and put away bikes that are in the way.
  7. Pull the large scrap carts out of the shop area to make more space.
  8. (Optional) Put 4 stands out to the left of the entry way to the shop. This cuts down on congestion.
  9. Get tool boxes out in preparation for loaning them when requested.
  10. Decide who will hold register key for the shift. Its fine to take turns/share.
  11. Plug in compressor by light switch

Closing the Shop

(Open shop and volunteer night)

  1. 45 minutes before closing time, announce that there are 15 minutes until cleanup.
    1. Remind folks that they should not start any new projects and that they need start wrapping up the project that they are working on
  2. 30 minutes before closing time, announce that it is time to clean up. .
    1. Ask them to pick up any random parts laying around their work area.
    2. Remind them to put away any tools that they have out that do not belong in their toolbox.
    3. Remind them that if they do have a toolbox out that they need to check that all of the tools listed on the sheet inside the toolbox are present.
    4. Also, if they have a toolbox out that means the greeter has some sort of collateral from them. They need to get this collateral before they leave.
  3. Check all toolboxes are complete before putting them in the cabinet.
  4. Lock the bikes hanging on the wall that are FFS, library bikes, and special projects. These bikes are near the front of the bottom row of bikes.
  5. Lock the Fancy Parts cabinet.
  6. Lock the red tool cabinet (top and bottom).
    1. If the lower half with drawers is difficult to lock, it helps to lock the drawers one at a time, going from top to bottom.
    2. Pull out all drawers except the top most one and lock it then unlock it.
    3. Leave the top-most drawer in and put the next drawer in and lock then unlock them.
    4. Continue leaving higher up drawers in and then closing the next drawer, locking and then unlocking until all drawers can be locked.
  7. Lock the locker. Make sure the shop keys and register key are locked up as well.
  8. Clean up any food in the shop. It’s fine to leave snacks for the next shift, but they must be non-perishable and sealed in a plastic bin. Otherwise we’ll have vermin visits. Make sure no dirty dishes get left as this will draw pests like rats, etc.
  9. Kick everyone out nicely at closing time. Turn off lights. This includes the fluorescent lights above counter and light switches near the breaker box.
  10. Lock accordion door.
  11. Lock front door when you leave.

Note: If you are leaving after 5pm, close and lock the parking lot gate (make sure no one is locked in). Usually no cars in the parking lot means no one else is left inside CJ.

Bike Pricing

(Open shop)

Safety Check

Need to expand this

Greeter Responsibilities and Tasks


Selling Bikes

(Open shop)

If there are blue-tag bikes, check the Fix-for-Sale binder to find out if the bike is available and how much it costs.

Payment Options

Greeting and Orienting People

(Open shop and volunteer night)

  1. Ask each visitor what he/she wants to do today at Free Ride:
    1. If they want to volunteer, they can do so without direction during Open Shop night, or else come on Volunteer Night.
    2. They may consult the white board near the locker or the Shop Maintenance Task List (on a clipboard hanging on a nail by the phone, also near the white board) for jobs to work on.
  2. If the visitor is new to the shop, explain the basic premise of Free Ride and what it stands for:
    1. Free Ride is a collective dedicated to recycling bicycles and teaching people about bicycles.
    2. Free Ride is collectively run; no one is in charge, but people are encouraged to help each other.
    3. Free Ride’s space is intended to be a community resource where people can fix their own bikes, buy a bike outright, obtain a bike through Earn-a-Bike, volunteer, learn, and look for used parts.
    4. Everyone who benefits from Free Ride should give back in some way, either by doing work that needs to be done, or by making a monetary donation.
    5. Invite visitors to become members and become involved. Show them the member brochure.
  3. If the visitor wants a bike:
    1. Explain that there are a few options:
      1. Buying a fixed bike,
      2. Entering the Earn-A-Bike program.
      3. Buying a as-is (not repaired).

Note: Sometimes it helps to ask “When was the last time you volunteered?” This is a more friendly way to ask if somebody is an active member without sounding like we only give access to members.

Greeting and Orienting Youth (under 18)

(Open shop and volunteer night)

 Where do we keep completed youth permission slips?  Do they have their own binder yet?  And how are we identifying youth when they come in?  They don't usually have an ID so do we just ask their name and look them up in the binder?

Consistency with our rules is extremely important when working with youth. When somebody under 18 comes to the shop, check if they have their permission slip done and membership completed. If they are new or have any misunderstandings, please review the youth membership policy with them.

Registering New Members

(Open shop and Volunteer Nights)

Members can use the shop for free. Visitors can enter Open Shop to buy parts without paying a fee, but to work on their bike in the shop, they must pay $2 per bike for the session.

  1. Members must contribute at least 4 hours of work per 3 months, or the equivalent in money ($8/hour).
    1. New members have 1 month free before they have to make their contribution. This time is to help them get oriented in the shop and learn how to contribute.
  2. If the visitor is interested, help her/him to fill out a member log sheet and explain how it works. Help her/him put it in the binder alphabetically.
  3. Check if a log sheet with that name already exists, to avoid confusion and scams.
    1. It is possible that two members have the same name.
    2. On the other hand, people may try to sign up repeatedly to get the member benefits for a free month.
    3. If the two log sheets have the same handwriting, it’s probably a scam, so do not accept the new member. Use your judgment.
  4. If all is good, file the log sheet and give the new member a membership card.

Registering Youth Members

(Open shop and Volunteer Nights)

Youth members have a separate set of rules and a separate binder....

Accepting Donations

(Open shop and Volunteer Nights)

  1. Ask donor if they need help bringing in bikes or parts.
  2. Ask people in the shop if they are willing to lend a hand. Most people are happy to put down their work for a couple of minutes to help bring donations into the shop.
  3. Ask the donor if they want a receipt. If so, write down a brief description of the donated items and agree upon a value with donor.
  4. If the donor has no idea of the approximate value, make your best guess (be generous). Thank them for their donation.
  5. The default location for a donated bike is the “Bike Coral” near the front. A donated bike can go into the coral, or be placed in a more appropriate location:
    1. If the bike is to be re-used, find a hook & hang it up according to direction of arrow on the wall.
    2. If the bike is to be stripped for parts, put it in a row with other such bikes, in the receiving area in front of the accordion partition.
    3. If the bike is to be scrapped, put it into one of the wheeled bins for later transport to the scrap dumpster.

Administering Earn-A-Bike

(Open shop)

Sign up the participant using the Earn-A-Bike Form. Participants are allowed to work on their projects during Open Shop, even if they are not Free Ride members. (The fee for working is $2/bike brought into the shop and an EAB project is technically already in the shop.)

Loaning out a Library Bike

*Need to add instructions once developed.*

Staff mechanics responsibilities and tasks

Regulating the specialty tools box.

Tracking bikes in the shop

Bike Tags

Every frame in the shop that is an EAB, FFS, or Library Bike will have a tag with a number on it. This number will match a numbered form in the EAB or FFS binder. We try to keep numbers unique as much as possible.

Attach the tags to the handlebars or other prominent area with a little ball chain. The tags and chains are kept in a clear plastic container on the front counter. Make sure tags are visible and can’t slide off.

Green No significance, look for a note for information.
Red Someone’s EAB Project
Red+Green No-significance, look for a note for information.
Blue Fix-For-Sale bicycle for sale
Red+Blue Fix-For-Sale work in progress
Blue (w/ “C” ) + Red Fix-For-Sale commission, work in progress



Earn-A-Bike Form

When a person enters the EAB program, start the Earn-A-Bike form. The form has several sections:

  1. Prerequisites
    Completion of two mechanics classes or equivalent. (Ask when classes were attended and then check the logs for the classes to verify.)
    1. People who have already completed EAB. These people are permitted to do another EAB without attending additional classes. However, anybody doing EAB more than once is still required to either pay $30 (cost of two Drop-In classes) or volunteer 4 hours (time required to earn two Drop-In classes) to be eligible to start another EAB project.
    2. People who are familiar with bicycle mechanics are still required to attend two classes, but they can do so as teachers aids. In order to be teachers aids, they must make arrangements ahead of time.
  2. Contact info and Liability Waiver
    Fill out their contact information at the top of the first page. We may need to reach them about their bike at some point, especially if they have not come in for a few weeks and we are about to remove the tag from their bike. The liability waiver is on the reverse side of the form. They must sign the waiver in order to participate and you sign the form in the “witness” blank.
  3. Bicycle Information
    Once they pick a bike, attach a red tag and a white tag with a number to the bike. Fill in the following:
    1. Write the number in the blank at the top of the page.
    2. Style – Indicate the style of the bicycle.
    3. Brand – Enter the brand of the bike. It is often located on the head tube or the down tube. Examples: Schwinn, Trek, Raleigh.
    4. Model – Enter the specific model name. It is often on the top tube or on the seat tube. Examples: World Sport, 800 Sport, Lil Honey.
    5. Color – Describe the overall color of the bike.
    6. Price – The price of the bike once it is repaired. Ask someone and/or consult the pricing guide in the Bike Pricing Guide if you aren’t sure.
  4. Time Log
    It is very important to explain this part to the EAB participants.
    1. The person earning the bike is responsible for writing the date in this log every time they come! This is how coordinators know whether the project is still current.
    2. Their claim is good for two weeks after the last date written on the form. They can call us once to extend the claim for 1 week (they must tell us their tag number so we know which bike is theirs).
    3. If their claim expires, the tag will be removed from the bike. The bike will reenter the pool of bikes available to people.
      If they do volunteer hours, write the number of hours done each day in the log as well. If they record their hours in the member log, then they can deduct hours from the log and write that onto the EAB form.
  5. Safety Check
    1. Bike is earned – The safety check is the last thing before the EAB project is done, so it is important to verify that the bicycle has been earned before allowing them to leave with it.
    2. Safety Check Person – Before a bike can leave the shop it must be safety checked. Write the name of the person who performed this check. If possible, get two people to do it.
    3. Departure Date – The date that the bike leaves the shop.

Fix-For-Sale Form

A Fix-For-Sale form must be filled out for each bike that is to be repaired and sold. This form goes in the Fix-For-Sale binder, organized by bike number. Tag Number / Brand / Model / Color – see Earn-A-Bike Form.

  1. Commission
    These lines will be filled out if the bike has been chosen by a commission mechanic. If there is a name in the box, only that person should work on the bike. If you are the commission mechanic, please remember to put your name and phone number here in case there are any questions that arise regarding your project bike.
  2. Cost of Bike
    1. Asses value – See the “bike pricing guide” for guidance about how to assess this value. If you Offer an assessment, write your initials next to this line.
    2. Labor – Sum up the hours spent working on the bike when it is finished. If the bike is a commission bike, the commission mechanic will do this.
    3. New parts – For each new part, write the type of part and its cost in the blanks on the left. Sum up the total when you are done and put it in the blank on the right.
    4. Total price – Once the bike is done, add up the numbers above this blank to get the total sale price.
    5. When the bike is sold – The staffer who sells it should write the date sold, and their initials, in the blanks at the bottom of the form.
    6. If the bike is a commission bike, place the form in the pocket in front of the binder. If it is not a commission bike, place the form in the “departed bikes” binder.
    7. Build history – These lines are for tracking work on the bike. If it is not a commission bike, each time someone works on the bike they should write their name, the date, and what they did. If it is a commission bike, the commission mechanic should use this space to track their hours and note what work they do to the bike.
    8. Notes – Write any notes about what the bike needs, problems with it, etc. When the bike is ready for inspection – write (prominently!) “Ready for Inspection” plus the date and your initials.
    9. Inspection Checklist – This should always be completed, with every box receiving a check, before the bike is sold! Inspectors may be anyone trained to do an inspection by an already qualified inspector (so, ask another staffer to teach you if you want to learn). The inspector should sign their name and the date at the bottom of the page when every box is OK.

Member log book

Permission slips and youth member logs binder

Library Bike Form

Add instructions once the Library system and forms are set up.

Bicycle Safety Check Guide

Primary Checks

  1. Look for obvious problems like critical components missing, damaged or improperly installed.
  2. Handlebars are tight. Hold the front wheel between your legs and try to twist the handlebars. Make sure they are clamped tightly in the stem by pushing down on them.
  3. Seat is tight. Hold the rear wheel between your legs and try to twist the seat.
  4. Brakes are strong. Squeeze the brake levers and make sure they do not touch the handlebar when full force is applied. Check that the brakes are able to lock the wheels.
  5. Wheels are correctly installed. Visually inspect the wheel spacing in the fork or rear dropouts to see if it is centered. Spin it to see if is reasonably true and doesn’t hit the brake pads. Test that the wheel is securely fastened to the frame (either bolted or with quick release) by pushing with force to try to rock it side-to-side in the frame. Also check that axle bolts or quick release are making good contact with the frame, gripping the dropouts with most of their surface area.
  6. Nuts and Bolts are tight. Check the axle nuts to be sure the wheels are secure. Check the brake calipers and pads to make sure they are firmly attached.

Secondary Checks

  1. Wheel spokes have safe tension. Squeeze pairs of overlapping spokes to make sure no spokes are broken or extremely loose. Check around the wheels, both sides.
  2. Bearings are free of play. Check that the headset, by clamping the front breaks and rocking the bike back and forth. Try to rock each wheel side to side to feel for play in the hubs. Try to rock the crank arms side to side to feel for play in the bottom bracket.
  3. Derailleur limits are set correctly. Verify that the derailleur’s limits are set so that the chain can not fall off the front or rear sprockets in either direction.
  4. Once an EAB project is completed, place the finished paperwork in the departed EAB binder.

Bicycle Pricing Guide

The prices for frames and bicycles are set by Free Ride staff and are not subject to a buyer’s preferred “donation” amount.

Fix-For-Sale Pricing

Bikes we are selling (not Earn-A-bike) are assessed using the following formula:

Sale Price = (As-is price) + (labor) + (new parts)

EAB Appraisal

For Earn-A-Bike we use the following formula:

Sale Price= Base – (Damage) – (Labor) – (Missing Parts Cost)

  1. Base: “what we would sell it for in mint condition” (see guide below)
  2. Damage: Subtract $5 to $20 for rust or wear, if there is any
  3. Labor: Subtract needed labor = (number of hours of work needed) x ($8 per hour)
  4. Missing Parts: Subtract some discount for any stuff it is obvious they will have to buy new (example, 27" tires or a rear cassette). This does not apply to people who want to do single-speed or fixed gear conversions or other customizations since those customizations are not necessary for getting the bike up and running.

Determining the base price

The base price for a bicycle is driven primarily by the bicycle frame. Follow the guidelines below based on the frame type of the bicycle.

Frame Type Bike Specifics Price Range Median Price Notes
Mountain From bike shops (Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale..) $56-$156 $100 Fancy things to look for: Threadless headsets, good suspension forks, disc brakes, etc. If a bike has some of these things, confer with a coordinator about the price.
From department stores (Roadmaster, Magna, Huffy, Next..) $10-$20 N/A We do not fix these for sale! They are not worth our time unless they are in tiptop shape when they come in.
Road Lightweight (newer Schwinn: Le Tour, World Sport, Fuji, Peugeot, Raleigh, Panasonic..) $56-$228 $72 These bikes have a three-piece crank set (smaller bottom bracket). Add $16-$40 for higher end components and doublewall and/or aluminum wheels.
Heavy Frames (older Schwinn Varsity, Continental, etc.) $48-$96 $64 You can identify a heavy framed bike simply by picking it up and feeling its weight. They generally have one-piece crank sets (large bottom brackets).
Department store road bikes (Huffy, Columbia, Free Spirit, etc.) $10-$40 N/A We do not fix these for sale! They are way more hassle than they are worth. Generally they cost us more to fix than to scrap. We’ll only sell one of these if they are in really good shape when they come in.
Cruisers Three speeds (Schwinn, Raleigh, etc.) $40-$72 $56 Price depends on the condition, how ‘vintage’ it is, and if it has nice fenders, working dynamo lights or other accessories.
Single speeds $40-$72 $48
Kid’s Bikes $8-$40 $16 Price depends on if it is a good brand, if it has gears, front and rear breaks, training wheels, etc.
BMX $48-$96 $56 Price depends on whether it is a department store brand (Huffy, Magna, Roadmaster, new Mongoose, etc.) or a bike shop brand (Dyno, older Mongoose, Schwinn, etc.)

Additional Bicycle Pricing Notes

Don’t let people take parts off bikes, especially ones we are going to sell.

Add $8-$24 if the bike has racks, fenders, lights, or a cyclocomputer (in working order) on it. All bikes can be sold “as is”. This is great for us because we don’t have to spend the time fixing it and the bike leaves the shop immediately. Depending on what condition the bike is in, subtract $5-$25 for the “as is” price.

Beware: Almost any bike with rear suspension is a department store bike made to look good. Many mountain bikes in general are manufactured to look high quality but are in face not.