Mission-Driven in the Mission: Pedal Revolution

Editors: This story was originally published in Issue 157 of our quarterly Tube Times magazine, one of many perks of membership in the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

To a casual observer, Pedal Revolution may come across as an ordinary bike shop. There are rows and rows of shiny new bikes for sale, display cases full of accessories and even a friendly shop dog looking for tummy rubs – in other words, normal San Francisco bike shop fare. But Pedal Revolution does much more than cater to San Franciscans who like to travel on two wheels.

As this year’s Bike Shop Challenge winners, Pedal Revolution won the opportunity to be the official and exclusive wrenchers at Tour de Fat, New Belgium Brewing Company’s annual celebration of all things beer, bikes and bemusement in Golden Gate Park. For Pedal Revolution, this was their chance to meet even more people who bike and showcase their unique business model: Part bike shop, part nonprofit and all-around committed to supporting youth in our community.

As a nonprofit, Pedal Revolution is not just trying to be a point of service for bicycle riders; it is also trying to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth looking for their first opportunity to gain job experience.

“A majority of people don’t know that we’re a nonprofit,” Nancy Gallegos, Pedal Revolution’s marketing manager, said. “They come in for the service, but eventually they hear about [our mission] through word of mouth.”

Thanks to their partnership with New Door Ventures, a nonprofit program that gives youth the job experience they need to become self-sufficient, Pedal Revolution is able to employ 20 New Door interns each year. (Fun fact: Your SF Bicycle Coalition also partners with New Door Ventures to provide professional experience to at-risk youth.)

As a result, Pedal Revolution has morphed from an ordinary bike shop to a place of community and support.

“We’re not just a nonprofit. We’re not just a bike shop,” Nancy said. “It’s been a long time to create this really unique culture.”

For Cesar, a current intern, Pedal Revolution is not just a place where he’s learning practical job skills. It’s also a work environment in which he feels that he can thrive. Six months into his internship with Pedal Revolution, Cesar earned a promotion to senior intern and took on more responsibility.

Much in the way that Pedal Revolution values being a source of support for their interns, they also seek to support and build their community – a goal that brought them to the SF Bicycle Coalition and Tour de Fat this September.

“We’re transportation folk,” Joel, a mechanic at the shop, said. “[Supporting the SF Bicycle Coalition] benefits the business and it benefits the city.”

When Pedal Revolution first heard about Tour de Fat, they instantly wanted to participate. After realizing that winning the Bike Shop Challenge was their way in, they kicked their efforts into high gear.

Their efforts paid off. They had a blast at Tour de Fat and earned considerable exposure with the thousands of attendees.

If you want to support Pedal Revolution, ask them about donating your old bikes or just stop by their shop at 3085 21st St. for service.

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