The Good Karma Bikes Story

Good Karma Bikes is a non-profit bike shop open to the public. We have locations in Midtown, San Jose (Lincoln/Auzerais) and at Renascent Place (Tully/Senter) in San Jose. 

Our mobile bike clinics service people in-need with both free and fee-for-service.

Each year, thousands of bicycles come to us through donation and impound. Some are sold in our bike thrift shop, even more are refurbished by our volunteers and granted to those in- need. Our clients are primarily homeless in recovery, veterans, low-wage workers, and low- income families. However, we have never turned anyone away for financial reasons.

Free Programs:

Women’s Night, led for women by women and LGBTQ+ Night, led by mechanics who also fit that description, are two of our free community programs. A safe space to improve confidence in bike mechanics, we strongly emphasize inclusion, education, and community. Held twice a month, these programs allow individuals to fix their own bikes through tutorials and demonstrations.

Our History

Good Karma Bikes CEO James T. Gardner, PhD, began fixing bikes for homeless people living in a downtown San Jose park. I took less than ten minutes for him to  clearly see what was going on– and it was not about bikes. It was about self-esteem.

Attempting to service the enormous need, Jim began to teach them bike repair. They soon began to teach others. That’s how Good Karma Bikes was born on a rainy Saturday in 2008.  No market research, no study, no plan–just an effort to help with bicycle transportation for those who genuinely felt they had nothing. 

Shortly after, Jim began reaching out to people in any form of recovery and providing a bicycle to those who couldn’t even afford the bus. After about 1,000 people had benefited, a used appliance repair van was donated in 2010. Good Karma Bikes was now truly a mobile.  The same donor then helped Good Karma locate a warehouse on Sunol Street. In 2016, Good Karma Bikes it’s current location on Lincoln Avenue.

Currently,  we give away, on average, 1.5 bikes each day. Since our humble beginnings, we have provided over $2.6M in community aid to people in need. No one has ever been turned away for financial reasons.

In the Fall of 2023, Good Karma Bikes will move into a permanent home on the ground floor of Charities Housing’s new development, currently under construction at 399 Blossom Hill.

“We’re thrilled to see Good Karma Bikes’ inspiring vision grow in San Jose to serve thousands more of our community members in need” stated Mayor Sam Liccardo.

The new, 11,000 sq. foot headquarters is almost double the size of the current location on Lincoln Ave. The generous layout enables more volunteer workspace and education, community-run programs, a higher volume of refurbish- able bicycles, and community aid. We look forward to expanding our support and our community! 

Good Karma Bikes

Our Mission

The mission of Good Karma Bikes (GKB) is to Empower people and build community through bikes.  We invest 40% of the proceeds we make in our full-service bike shop into programs that support our community. Free repairs, parts, and bicycles are also funded by your donations. Help us pay it forward to those in need!

We are proud to have over 111,120 volunteer hours. Interested in volunteering? Contact us!

Contact Us

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Testimonials

 

Pedram Hajjarian

“…This is a great non profit with an awesome friendly staff and volunteers. I’m glad they’re still going strong and donating bicycles they fix….”

 

Edward Yu

“… This place does good work. The people are nice. And they have some very good deal on both new and used bikes. And it’s a good cause!…”

 

Chelsea Taber

“…We had such a great experience at GKB! Their mission is fantastic, their employees are knowledgeable and friendly, and they have a great selection of new and used bikes. We left with two bikes, and are very happy customers!…”