Owner/Operator/CEO of bad puns
I wasn’t supposed to own a bike shop. According to the career test I took in 6th grade I should have become a bus driver. I am motivated by relationships and helping people get from point A to point B. I love hearing people’s stories, I sling witty banter, I enjoy transit that reduces trips in a car, and I like to work with my hands. All of these things would have made me a great bus driver, but until I retire into the next career I’ll be pouring this same spirit into running a welcoming bike shop that does damn fine work on bikes and helps folks to mobilize themselves around the marvelous PNW.
My fascination with bikes was sparked by my brother shortly before college. He bought me my first Peugeot Mixte for $100 and I’ve been riding and tearing apart bikes ever since. After college and a stint at United Bicycle Institute in Portland, I managed to snag my first job as a mechanic at Free Range Cycles under the seasoned eye of Kathleen Emry. My first year as a bike mechanic was a learning curve the size of Rainier, but Kathleen’s incredible patience, hundreds of youtube videos and a complete lack of a backup plan gradually forged me into a passable wrench. After Free Range, these skills were solidified in my role as Program Manager at Bike Works, a non profit in Columbia City that works tirelessly to help youth and adults connect with bikes as riders and mechanics. At Bike Works I spent three formative years teaching the finer points of wrenching, riding, camping, kindness and bad puns.
In the spring of 2018, Kathleen announced that she was retiring and I began to allow myself the secret dream of taking over the shop that had brought me up. The quirky and kind customers, the beautiful steel bikes, the sense of community amongst Fremont business owners, Kathleen’s unwavering support and the opportunity to carry on a woman-owned bike shop pushed me to make a big ol career shift. My hope moving forward is that this shop continues to have the same spirit of wackiness, inclusivity, and kindness that has made it a haven for me and so many others over the years.
Lead Mechanic/Left-Handed Right Hand/DJ in Chief
**Nikki has been too busy wrenching on all the bikes to write a proper bio, so here is her bio as told by Shawna, as if it were Nikki talking, except that she sounds nothing like this, so here goes…
Hey I’m Nikki, and I’m the left-handed right hand at Free Range Cycles. I have a great sniffer for overlooked issues in drivetrains, I give top-notch catastrophic nature documentary recommendations, and I am the lead singer in a band. My superpowers include: never getting grease on my chic outfits, always having supa fly hair, reminding Shawna to eat at critical hunger points and finding the best dog memes. I got my start in the bicycle world as a young UW Environmental Science major looking for a volunteer outlet. This led me to Bike Works, where I volunteered my way into a full time gig and spent the next 5 years refurbishing bikes, sorting thousands of donations and acting as the Assistant Shop Manager.
When Shawna offered me the role of Lead Mechanic at Free Range, I saw an opportunity to grow my skill set and create more visibility for women in the bicycle industry. On any given day you can find me at the work-bench, elbow deep in bottom bracket parts or looking like a mad scientist with hydraulic fluid syringes. I’m proud to work at a woman owned and operated bike shop, and I’m excited to bring excellent playlists to the people of Fremont.