Building Bikes and Stronger Teams with GoogleServe

GoogleServe team visits Recycle-A-Bicycle in Long Island City, June 2018.


One of the best parts of volunteering: everyone walks away with something meaningful.


Each Friday in June, Recycle-A-Bicycle’s Long Island City location opens its doors to corporate volunteer groups, inviting them to lend a hand in the bike shop. While these teams help Recycle-A-Bicycle and Bike New York assemble a full stock of swap-ready bicycles for monthly Bike Bonanza events, they’re also gaining the fundamentals of bike repair – and with that little bit of knowledge, they’re empowered to give kids the joy and freedom of their very own bike.


Volunteer groups from companies including Morgan Stanley, ConEdison, and Motivate have devoted time from their summer Fridays to giving back. Among those most frequently found getting their hands dirty at the bike shop are participants in Google’s volunteer program, GoogleServe.


Recycle-A-Bicycle, Long Island City.

Six years ago, Recycle-A-Bicycle board member Sheethal Shobowale tapped the tech giant’s active bike commuting community and proposed a new public service project with the shop. The sign-up sheet was filled immediately, and the program has since become popular enough with Google’s cycling contingent to warrant its own wait list. 


What keeps bringing Google back to the shop? For starters, there’s something deeply gratifying in transforming a dusty, broken bike into a shiny, functioning bike – especially when that bike will give a child reason to smile for years to come. Beyond the impact of inspiring a new generation of cyclists, these sessions demonstrate sustainability in action, from recycling and repurposing to green transportation. Interdepartmental friendships are forged through collaborative work, challenges are faced, mechanics are explained, and problems are solved. 


GoogleServe's volunteer squad showing that teamwork makes the bike work.Through the generosity of Google’s funding, Recycle-A-Bicycle can provide volunteers with the parts and supplies necessary for a total bike makeover: new tires, saddles, grips, and streamers go a long way in making second-hand rides look and feel like new. And, of course, no day in the shop would be complete without a hard-earned pizza party.


Over the past 5 years, more than 260 members of the GoogleServe crew have refurbished 340 bikes for children in New York City. In just a few hours on a Friday afternoon, volunteers like the GoogleServe team learn skills that give them the power to make the world a little brighter.




GoogleServe team visits Recycle-A-Bicycle in Long Island City, June 2018.


If your company wants to join the sustainable bike movement and is interested in starting a Corporate Social Responsibility project with Recycle-A-Bicycle, contact Karen Overton at koverton@bike.nyc.