Good Karma Bikes Spins Forward With Grand Opening

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Good-Karma-Bikes-grand-opening-san-jose-councilman-sam-liccardo-jim-gardner-ribbon-cutting-photo-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesGood Karma Bikes and its founder and CEO Jim Gardner got a little of that good karma back for all his efforts to help the community, during the grand opening party at the group’s headquarters in downtown San Jose on Thursday, March 28.

With about 100 supporters looking on, San Jose District 3 City Councilmember Sam Liccardo hailed Gardner for being an innovator in his quest to lift people up from homelessness and joblessness through offering bike repairs and job training.

“In this valley we honor  innovation, and we honor innovation in the world of things, things that help us tweet and post and connect in various ways until we’re completely distracted out of our minds, and those innovators certainly deserve their rightful due and undoubtedly they’re well compensated for their innovations,” Liccardo said. “But so much more rare are those innovators who remind us that when we’re done tweeting and posting and connecting, ultimately we’re human beings…I want to thank you for creating something that inspires, lifts up and that empowers, and I think we are all indebted to you and your innovation.”

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Jim Gardner listens to a supporter at the Good Karma Bikes grand opening party.

Gardner cut the ceremonial red ribbon at the main entrance bay door of the warehouse at 345 Sunol St. to a hearty round of applause.

Besides Liccardo, District 6 Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio was on hand, and Mayor Chuck Reed dropped by during the event. Los Gatos Councilmember Diane McNutt was also there.

The once ragged warehouse that housed a recycling company was completely transformed by an army of volunteers into a clean, well-organized workshop. Well-lit and fully stocked work stations donated by local companies and other donors now populate one half of the warehouse, with the other half filled with lines of used bikes.

Even the outside of the warehouse now shines, with new paint, and landscaping thanks to Our City Forest.

It’s a long way from what Gardner said he affectionately calls the “Toyota Camry Phase”.

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San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo speaks to the crowd.

“I stuffed my Camry with bike stands, work tables, bike parts, components,” he told the crowd. “I had bikes on the roof, sticking out the trunk, out the sides, I had kids bikes, every kind of bike, and we went to St. James Park, and the volunteer corps was anybody I could recruit from the park that day.”

Later the group was able to secure a van, and Gardner and his volunteers started doing mobile clinics around the city. Last year they were able to move into the warehouse.

Gardner thanked Liccardo, a member of the group’s advisory board, for his support over the past three years, since Gardner first met with him to explain the idea for Good Karma Bikes. Gardner shared with Liccardo in that meeting how he intended to not only fix bikes for local homeless people, but lift up those without homes or jobs by teaching them bike repair skills. “Transportation for transformation,” as he calls it.

“He got every word of it,” Gardner said of Liccardo.

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Good Karma Bikes has some items on its wish list, if you’re interested in helping.

  • Bicycle racks
  • Trash service, $120 a month
  • Generator for mobile bike clinics
  • Pop-up tents
  • Bench top polisher
  • Machinist’s vice
  • Parts cleaning bath

And of course, donations and volunteers are always welcomed. To find out more, visit the Good Karma Bikes website, and check out its Facebook Page.