Bike Works Staff

Bike Works staff is a diverse group of exceptional individuals. They bring years of experience in the nonprofit, social justice, environmental, and youth empowerment arenas and are dedicated to service toward young people, cycling, and building sustainable communities.


Joel Allen Program Coordinator
he/him

A little bit about me

I was born and raised in South Seattle. In my time growing up a lot has changed. The Kingdome was  demolished, the Link Lightrail continues to expand, and the Seahawks became World Champions! A graduate of Franklin High School, and the University of Washington, I connected deeply with my community through mentoring opportunities, youth development and realizing a need for social justice advocacy in Seattle. Seeing how the communities I became familiar with as a child have changed, I wanted to offer a chance for youth who share my background to see themselves reflected positively in society despite these changes. My life’s work is the development, empowerment, and affirmation of youth of color, Black youth in particular, and Black boys especially. Bike Works allows for these goals to be advanced towards with and alongside of a diverse group of people, as well as with curious and diverse communities.

Why I work at Bike Works

As an alumni of the Bike Works youth Earn-a-Bike program, I have a positive association with the Bike Works community. Being able to share the highlights of this experience with others, and youth in particular, is a significant part of why I work at Bike Works. Having a mentor who helped guide me in a constructive manner towards my goals instilled a desire for me to do the same with our young people. Bicycling is not only fun, but it encourages both a healthy personal lifestyle, and an environmentally friendly alternative for transportation. All of these reasons combine to further my “why” for working at Bike Works.


Leigh Barnard Sales & Retail Coordinator
she/her

A little bit about me A person on a bicycle poses in front of a snow-capped mountain
I’m an outdoor enthusiast with a special passion for cycling and hiking. Born and raised in Florida, I enjoy indulging in every aspect of being outside in Washington state.
 

Why I work at Bike Works
I like being an employee at Bike Works because of the inclusivity we strive for and also I get to simply help provide a service to a neighborhood that relies heavily on it. I also enjoy being an approachable employee that people can bring all their problems to!

 


Tina Bechler Program Director
she/her and they/them

A little bit about metina-new-2
I grew up here in Seattle and spent my formative years pedaling the hills of our city on a series of used and recycled bikes. I went to Madrona, Meany, Garfield, and Roosevelt before heading to California to attend UC Santa Cruz where I received a BA in Sociology. After graduation I became a bike messenger in both San Francisco and Seattle, traveled extensively by bicycle throughout Europe/Mexico/Central America, attended the United Bicycle Institute to study bike repair, became trained as a Wilderness First Responder, and returned to school to study Outdoor Recreation Management & Education at Capilano University in Vancouver, B.C.

Why I work at Bike Works
I feel like all my paths have brought me to this work. Cycling has always been a personal passion and part of going back to school was finding a way to integrate my love of being outdoors and seeing the world by bicycle with the youth of Seattle. This is my dream job, and at the end of every day I get to feel that my work here gives back to the community, and that if I’m lucky I may make a difference in the lives of the participants here at Bike Works through a shared love of bicycles.


Mike Buendia Shop Mechanic
he/him

A little bit about me Tan cutie with hi-top sneakers, short shorts, denim jacket, biking with a beach towel and pizza box in the front basket, thermos full of cold brew in the bottle cage, and a skateboard on the rear rack. Long wavy hair coming out from beneath a helmet, blowing in the breeze.

Picture this: Tan cutie with hi-top sneakers, short shorts, denim jacket, biking with a beach towel and pizza box in the front basket, thermos full of cold brew in the bottle cage, and a skateboard on the rear rack. Long wavy hair coming out from beneath a helmet, blowing in the breeze. Singing along to hot jams blasting out of some undisclosed bluetooth speaker. If seen, please say, “hey!” I love meeting new people.

Why I work at Bike Works

I have worked on and off for Bike Works in various roles since 2013. Originally I came here because I am an advocate for bikes as a means for empowerment, and believe Bike Works is doing that better than any other organization in Seattle. I’m still here because the staff and work culture are super rad, and I still love and believe in bikes. 


Ed Ewing Executive Director
he/him

A little bit about me

I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and developed a love for cycling through family bike trips and riding to work with my Dad. I started bike racing in ’83 and actively race today. After graduating from the College of St. Thomas in ’88, I moved to Seattle to start a twenty year career in Sales & Marketing.

I join Bike Works with 31 years of marketing, sales, project development, strategic planning, and non-profit leadership experience. I have a passion for racial equity, diversity, and inclusion, and have developed and implemented successful equity-focused programs initiatives that present community-minded solutions. In 2007, I co-founded and directed the Major Taylor Project, a year-round youth development cycling initiative focused on creating access and opportunities for Black and Brown youth in diverse and underserved communities. I believe in meeting challenges with an innovative and authentic visionary approach to inspire team members and community partners. I believe in strong community partnerships, building and promoting positive, authentic relationships, and leading with a collective voice.

Why I work at Bike Works

I am excited by the possibilities at Bike Works and in its community. It is an honor and extreme pleasure to be working in an organization so deeply committed to Racial Equity. The passion and commitment of the Bike Works Staff, Board, volunteers, and supporters, positively transforms the lives of youth. This aligns with my personal and professional beliefs, I feel blessed to be working with such an amazing organization.


Steven Gadingan Recycle & Reuse Director

he/him

A little bit about meSteve works on a bike

I am deeply grateful for my community and the geology of Washington state. I spent most of my early twenties floating in Bellingham, WA until I decided to work on my own bike. After years of tooling in shed, The Hub Community Bike Shop reeled me in with lucrative bait–my first job as a bike mechanic. I got hooked. That community defined my identity as an adult: playing squash & pickleball, volunteering at a food bank, volunteering at a music nonprofit, and acquiring a B.S. in Public Health at 30 years old. One day, the current shifted and this little fish got swept up into the huge Seattle marine ecosystem. Now I continue to pedal forward, whether or not I am two tired.

Why I work at Bike Works
This one time in Home Ec 101, our instructor gave us a budgeting sheet. She told us to write out all of the expenses of an adult. While everyone in the class wrote in a car payment with insurance and gas, I thought “screw the car bills, I’ll take the bus or ride my bike.” I had this premonition 10 years before I turned into a serious bike mechanic and social justice advocate. A decade later, I view the bike as a tool to help alleviate mental, social, and physical health problems. I feel very fortunate to be a part of Bike Works. I feel happy when I work, one bike at a time.


Jess Green Development Director

she/her

A little bit about me
I first learned to ride my bike as a kid in Woodland Park. The feeling of exhilaration from the wind on my face stuck with me. I always feel more connected to myself and my surroundings on my bike.

Why I work at Bike Works
I left Seattle briefly to study Human Rights and Spanish in Connecticut and Chile, but returned to my hometown as soon as I graduated. A commitment to social justice has always fueled my fundraising, from supporting independent media, to building local economies, to expanding access to education. I am proud to work with a smart and passionate team at Bike Works at the intersection of climate justice, economic opportunity, and community-led organizing.


Elise Hirschi Development & Communications Manager
she/her

A little bit about me
I grew up in Seattle, cutting my cycling teeth at a young age by riding up and down Capitol Hill throughout childhood & adolescence. My love for gaining elevation on 2 wheels was further stoked during my time living and studying in Vancouver BC, conquering a 16km/700ft gain (one-way) commute from home to work & school. I earned a Bachelor’s in Health & Human Services with a minor in Spanish, while exploring the vast outdoor playground of British Columbia. I spent about a year in Mexico during that time learning Spanish, and then moved to Prague, the “City of a Hundred Spires” in 2014 to work as a freelance copywriter, grant writer, and English teacher. I’ve been back in Seattle since 2015, working for several local nonprofits and volunteering for social justice causes, and spending 2 years working to eliminate racism & empower women with YWCA Seattle before landing my dream job in the Development department at Bike Works.

Why I work at Bike Works
During my time as a Sustainability Coordinator for the Continuing Education Department at UBC, I applied for a small grant to begin a bike-share program for international students who may not have the resources, knowledge, or time to acquire their own bikes during their stay in Vancouver. This was when my passion for promoting access to cycling was cinched. Bike commuting, touring, and mountain biking enrich my life and shape my personality, lifestyle, health, and social networks. I want everybody to have that! Bike Works’ work and mission combine my greatest passions – social justice advocacy, youth development, community engagement and of course, cycling and getting outside.


Jim Labayen Adult Education Specialist
he/him

A little bit about me

I grew up in Gig Harbor, Washington and asserted my youthful independence by riding the rolling county roads on my bike. Through many hours of observation, tinkering, and riding, bicycling paved a pathway to leadership, self-discovery, sustainable travel, and a career! I am an aficionado of Type II fun — whether it’s thru-hiking Olympic National Park, conquering my fear of heights while skiing and bouldering, or bumping elbows in local cyclocross races.

Why I work at Bike Works

I have been involved in the cycling industry since I was of working age. I’ve sold bicycles, worked as the head of a cycling program for people with disabilities, wrenched as a mechanic, and led rides for youth of color. Bike Works is the proving ground for my education, work experience, life experience, and philosophy.

Being raised by immigrants in a white space, I never felt American enough or even Filipino enough. As a shy, quiet, and introverted leader in an environment that favors extroverts, I never felt as bold, or as loud, or as eloquent as I felt I should be. Because of this, I am committed to fostering a space where young people similar to me can recreate, belong, and thrive despite any odds that may be stacked against them. I am inspired by my fellow staff members’ dedication to social justice and personal agency, and I feel honored to share space with young people who will shape our world. Mabuhay!


Ashley Moore Job Skill Readiness Coordinator
she/her

A little bit about me A profile of a cyclist with a mask and helmet on in Black & White

I am an avid biker. Northstar Cycling is the only Black & Brown cycling group in Seattle. I am proud to say I am a part of it. Cycling has been a part of my life since I was a child. In my early 20s, I had the chance to work with youth, rebuilding bikes & organizing group rides.

Why I work at Bike Works

My experiences have led me to Bike Works and wanting to give back to my community. Getting more Black & Brown butts on bikes is one of my life goals. Working at Bike Works, I know I can accomplish this goal.


Kellen Rack Shop Director
he/him

Staff: Kellen

A little bit about me
I grew up on Vashon Island where we were lucky to have ample opportunity to run around in the woods, build tree forts, and ride our bicycles. I spent many years living in Bellingham, WA while I attended college and found The Hub, a small non-profit bike shop, and gamely began ripping my bicycle apart and trying to get it back together again. Many months, and volunteer hours, later I had developed a keen obsession with cycling and they had a new mechanic. In my spare time I enjoy traveling, hiking and camping, long bike rides, cooking, playing drums, and the company of family and friends.

Why I work at Bike Works
I am drawn to Bike Works because of the shared commitment to community, social equity, justice, and education. Working as a mechanic means more to me than fixing bicycles- it means creating opportunity: for mobility, for employment, for confidence, for health, for leadership, for social interaction, and for joy. One of the joys of my job here is the chance I have to offer education and encouragement to riders of all stripes.


Ricky Rodriguez Program Manager
he/him

A little bit about me

As a Latino growing up in Southern California, I spent my life constantly subjected to the social inequities of marginalized communities within my own life as well as the broader scope of Santa Barbara. I really started getting into bikes when I built up a Schwinn Varsity at Bici Centro  and rode up the coast to Santa Cruz. I ended up taking a job with Bici Centro as a Spanish speaking community engagement staff. Bikes, and bike touring has become a staple in my life, and has led me to build relationships with some amazing folks, and work with some great organization over the years. I really enjoy playing music, singing karaoke and Sewing.

Why I work at Bike Works

Bicycles are a liberating tool that we have so much to learn from. With the work we do here at Bike Works, although we work with bikes, it’s not really about the bikes. It’s about the human connection, critical thinking, learning/teaching and problem solving.  I believe that bicycles can be used as a community building tool, and by using a social justice lens we can build the communities we’d like to see in the world.


Allie Sarfaty Recycle & Reuse Coordinator
they/them

A little bit about m

I grew up in the foothills of Colorado, where I spent my youth riding bicycles up dirt-covered paths. After graduating with a BA in Sociology, I decided to head west and not look back. I fell into the bike industry nearly on accident, and now it feels like I’ve come full-circle being able to work at Bike Works. When I’m not riding or wrenching on bikes, I enjoy playing D&D, backcountry skiing, and long summer nights.

 
Why I work at Bike Works

What initially attracted me to Bike Works was accessibility–as a trans person who has been involved in the outdoor industry, I have faced many barriers simply just trying to getting out there. I want to be the person I needed when I was younger, to prove to others and myself that people like me can be both educators and leaders in the outdoors. Bicycles are the great equalizer: fusing social justice, empowerment, and access with exploration, agency and most importantly, getting outside and having fun!


Monika Sharma Program Coordinator
she/her

A little bit about meA person in a red shirt leaning against a fence in front of two bicycles with red panniers.
 
I grew up in Western Massachusetts swimming, biking, and running around. Living and working in  westmass through my upbringing as well as undergraduate and graduate school fostered a passion for safe, healthy, and affordable housing in my own community. During my undergraduate years I was able to spend time alongside my housing work with young people and bicycles at an organization called Holyoke Urban Bike School which was modeled after Bike Works. After finishing my Masters in Planning with a focus on Racial Justice and Equity in crisis response planning I returned to hands on work through a move to Seattle to work in home repair for low-income and disabled homeowners. Along with riding bikes and building things, I also spend time printmaking.
 
Why I work at Bike Works
 
I have been lucky to work in hands-on education through bikes, construction, and carpentry in combination with my affordable housing work. I am excited to bring my passion for equity and hands on education into work with youth and bikes, especially girls and young women. I believe bicycles can be a tool for empowerment, self-discovery, and growth. Breaking down barriers to biking is an important part of the Bike Works mission. Making bike spaces open and welcoming to people from all different backgrounds is very important to me and Bike Works is already on that path. 

Seth Short Recycle & Reuse Coordinator
he/him

A little bit about me
I was born in rural Kentucky and attended college at Western Kentucky University to study sustainability and planning. After graduating I lived in Boston, MA briefly and interned with the Boston Cyclists Union and worked at the Hubway bike share. In 2013 I moved back to Kentucky to live in Louisville where I worked at a TV station part time and helped start a bicycle co-op. Through my whole life I’d never been further west than Fargo, ND but jumped at the opportunity to move to the pacific northwest to be at Bike Works. In my free time I like to make music, art, and write. I also like to play soccer and climb at the local bouldering gym. There is a lot for me to learn and explore in this region and I’m looking forward to experiencing it all.

Why I work at Bike Works
When I moved to college I started biking as a fun method of transportation as well as exercise but I quickly fell in love with the many financial, social, and environmental benefits that cycling provided. Learning to fix my bike made me feel empowered and organizing group rides made me feel like part of a fun and diverse community. All of my experiences since I became a bicycle “life-stylist” have led me to this position at Bike Works where I hope to both share my knowledge and continue learning myself.


Nick Strother Lead Mechanic
he/him

A little about me
I grew up in western Pennsylvania riding dirt bikes. I went to college and started commuting by bicycle. I moved to Seattle in 2015. I love all the 80’s cars that are still on the roads out here. I own three! I like off-trail exploration. Outside of work you’ll find me swimming/snorkeling/canoeing the local waters, taking photographs, and bike commuting from West Seattle.

Why I work at Bike Works
Bike Works was a great resource for me as a newer resident to Seattle. I quickly fell in love with the vibe, its characters, and what it offered to the community. I jumped at the opportunity to work here and continue to work here just because I love it. 


Aaron Yoon Stewardship Manager
he/him

A little about me
Born and raised in Seattle (Supersonics), with frequent time in Suwon, South Korea, I cherish the beautiful nature and people here in the Evergreen State. Living mostly in the CD and Cap Hill since my Seattle U days, I miss pinball at John John’s on Olive and late night coconut donuts and coffee at the Bauhaus on Pine. My favorite Korean spot is the Kimchi Bistro on Broadway and the best pizza in town is a Hot Mama’s pesto slice with a dab of sriracha. I truly enjoy astronomy, mountaineering, kayaking the San Juans, the Seattle Humane Society, live music at the Tractor, biking to the north end beach on the Seward Park loop, and I’m pretty romantic about baseball. 


Why I work at Bike Works
I’m passionate in continuing to serve our South Seattle community while building authentic relationships with my neighbors. I think it’s beautiful to build bridges and bring in new people through the bicycle as we work towards equity and connection.