Mission & History

Mission

The Portland Gear Hub recycles and repairs used outdoor equipment to get more youth, and adults active and outside!

The Gear Hub’s main shop in the garage at 155 Washington Ave takes in donations of used outdoor gear: bicycles, camping equipment, cross-country skis and snowshoes, and fully inspects and repairs the equipment for resale at affordable prices. We aim to lower the barrier of entry for those trying a sport for the first time or finding an affordable mode of transportation.

The Bike School at 85 Anderson St. opened in May 2017 to provide a dedicated education space for bicycle maintenance and repair in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood. Through our free or affordable youth and adult programming, the Bike School increases access to bike-specific tools, repair stands and benches as well as information on traffic safety and inspiration for adventure in the Portland community.

Who We Are

The Portland Gear Hub is a non-profit outdoor gear and bike shop powered by Camp Ketcha, a 501c3 youth outdoor organization based in Scarborough, Maine.

The Gear Hub is made up of a small group of year-round staff who are supported by hundreds of dedicated volunteers. In 2016 over 500 volunteers helped us sort skis, repair a kids’ bike, or translate a Traffic Safety class into French, Swahili and Lingala. We recycled 5.3 tons of metal, refurbished over 400 youth and adult bikes, and each winter holiday season we have donated over 75 bikes to youth organizations in southern Maine. Our staff and volunteers commute by bike, travel by bike, and love what we do! We hope to share the joy and knowledge of bike repair with our community at the new Bike School.

History

The Portland Gear Hub began in January of 2014 in the basement of the Portland YMCA. The idea was formed through conversations between two youth nonprofits in southern Maine, Camp Ketcha and the Community Bicycle Center, and the goal of getting more youth and families outside and funding existing youth development programs. The Gear Hub grew in the Y basement in just over a year, filling up with donated outdoor equipment from bicycles to tents to snowshoes and XC skis. With one part-time staff person and many committed volunteers, the Gear Hub outgrew the basement and opened its own retail storefront in April 2015 on St. John St. in Union Station Plaza. At Union Station, the Gear Hub gained new exposure, hired new staff (previous volunteers) and began drawing in more donations and more foot traffic!

In Spring of 2017 the Gear Hub raised nearly $6,000 from our community to be able to relocate to the East End and East Bayside neighborhood. The former auto garage at 155 Washington Ave offered a better layout and work environment, with a lot of vertical space to hang used wheels, tires, bikes, kayaks, and more. The Bike School is situated in a residential neighborhood across the street from Kennedy Park and Fox Field, which allows us to expand our opportunities for youth and offer more programming for all. We opened in our new locations in May 2017 and are enjoying our new space and neighborhoods. Come visit!