Artist, writer, adventurer, bibliophile, researcher, cook, feminist historian, & bikexplorer Tessa Hulls presented her research into the historical role of bicycles as a tool for activism to promote racial, gender, and environmental justice to the Bike Works Community on 10/29.
Thank you to Tessa for sharing this incredible research and analysis with us, to Bike Works Deputy Director Ed Ewing for sharing his moving contributions to bicycle activism, and to everybody who logged on to spend their evening with us.
Phyllis Porter wears many hats. She is “Shero” of the Seattle chapter of Black Girls Do Bike, bringing this national cycling club to Seattle. She is a member of the Rainier Riders Cycling Club, Bike Works People of Color Racial Equity Taskforce member, board member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, co-host of South End Connect, Whose Streets Our Streets member, member of the Transportation Equity Workgroup, and former candidate for Seattle City Council. She also has a small business – Porter Projects, where she consults on transportation projects. Whew! She really does it all!
In this online presentation from Bike Works on 8/19/20, she discusses her cycling journey – from starting as a casual rider, to cycling in the fast group with the Rainier Riders, to becoming a leader in Seattle safe streets activism, all the way to running for office, visiting the Governor’s mansion and starting a cycling club for Black women in Seattle!
Ed Ewing starts at Bike Works as Deputy Director on August 3rd, 2020!
We are pleased to announce that Ed Ewing joins the Bike Works leadership team as Deputy Director on Monday, August 3rd. Ed brings 31 years of marketing, sales, project development, strategic planning, and nonprofit leadership experience to this position. In 2007, he co-founded and directed the Major Taylor Project, a youth development cycling initiative focused on creating access and opportunities for Black and brown youth in diverse and underserved communities. He is an active and inspiring community member in many realms with a wealth of experience developing and implementing racial equity-focused programs with community-minded solutions. Ed has served on Bike Works’ Racial Equity Taskforce for the past few years and has long been a friend and supporter of our organization. He brings strong community ties to his work and leads by building authentic relationships and promoting collective voice.
Ed has cycled competitively since 1983, and still actively races today. He is also a founding member of the Rainier Riders Cycling Club. From youth development, to community building, to cycling education, Ed’s extensive knowledge and skills will be invaluable to Bike Works as we enter our 25th year as an organization and work toward some ambitious goals.
On why he has accepted this position with Bike Works, Ed says, “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.”
Bike Works Board Chair, Dr. Rayburn Lewis, has known Ed for a long time: “I first worked with Ed Ewing as Cascade Bicycle Club was starting the Major Taylor Project. His work there, subsequent positions, and knowledge of the cycling world combined with his commitment to social justice make him perfect for this position. We are fortunate to have him join Bike Works where all of his strengths will be beneficial to our organization and our community.”
Bike Works Staff and Board look forward to the leadership and vision Ed will bring to Bike Works in the years to come. We will soon launch our new Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 — sign up for email updates about this plan and more at bikeworks.org/about. Welcome to Bike Works, Ed!
At Bike Works, we believe that bicycles help build resilient communities. But we also understand that bicycles work best in tandem with culturally relevant services, arts, family support, anti-racism, environmental stewardship, housing advocacy, food security, and gender justice. We also believe that when organizations are led by the folks directly affected by the issues they address, and have internal leadership development to empower their young people, communities can really thrive and begin to breakdown systems of oppression.
Below is a list of non-profit organizations that Bike Works staff are supporting. Some are specifically addressing COVID-19 relief. Many serve and are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. All are providing vital services for connection, expression, and relief during these difficult times.
Real Rent calls on people who live and work in Seattle to make rent payments to the Duwamish Tribe. Though the city named for the Duwamish leader Chief Seattle thrives, the Tribe has yet to be justly compensated for their land, resources, and livelihood.
GotGreen builds community power by waging visionary campaigns at the intersection of racial, economic, gender and climate justice that incite community participation (via robust base-building), provides a pipeline of leadership development for directly impacted communities, and engages in direct action.
El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races) aims to unify all racial and economic sectors; to organize, empower, and defend the basic human rights of our most vulnerable and marginalized populations; and to bring critical consciousness, justice, dignity, and equity to all the peoples of the world.
Jenny Gerow tells us why she decided to fundraise for Bike Works with her summer bikepacking adventures.
Tell us about yourself
I used to be a cross-country runner, but I got bored of that so I started training for tri-atholons. When I moved to Austin I was racing triathlons and had a coach and was on my way to going pro. Then I moved back to Colorado and began mountain bike racing, I found it gave me more of an adventure. It gave me a similar sense of accomplishment and adventure as mountaineering and climbing did when I was in college. Mountain bike racing combined my love for technical skills and the need to endure the pain cave.
The need for cycling opportunities for women
In Fort Collins, I started a women’s racing team because there were so few racing opportunities for women. We called ourselves the Sugar Beets.
I was in a relationship with a road racer and I’d hear about all the sponsorship his team had – free kits, a van – and they weren’t even pros! It felt constantly in my face – my group of women riders were just as fast but we weren’t getting anything like that. Women would have to pay into a team in order to race. I saw the need and made it happen, recruiting the fastest women cyclists I knew to form a team. I’m obsessed with healthy foods so when I learnt that Ft Collins was built on sugar beet farms, I knew I had the name.
Tell us about your summer bikepacking adventure plans
In September 2019, I sold my car, bought a Trek Checkpoint, and moved to Seattle to pursue a career in firefighting. I ended up pivoting to trauma therapy for first responders. I’m interested in somatic therapy – getting people in their bodies through cycling, gardening, hiking, and being outdoors.
When COVID happened all the races were canceled (my last race was in Port Angeles on March 3rd) and then the world shut down. So I decided to pursue bikepacking.
My first trip was a Whidbey Island coastal cruise. Next, I plan to tour the Olympic Discovery Route in July. In August, I would love to ride around the San Juans, or ride to Portland to do some off-road routes. Or try the Mt. Saint Helen’s bikepacking route. I’m actually looking for company on these adventures from people who ideally have experience bike packing on dirt, and people with positive vibes and smooth pedal strokes 🙂 *
I’m partnering with Topo Designs, based in Ft Collins –a cool, hip company that has all sorts of bikepacking gear. They’re sponsoring my summer adventures and helping me spread awareness for my goal to get more kids on bikes.
Bikepacking is new to me and is so empowering to have everything I need on my bike. I want to share that with the next generation.
Cycling as Therapy
This is all theoretical as I’m just starting my Masters program in therapy. But I remember when I used to road bike with a lot of men. Tough guys would share things about their marriages and lives and would open up in ways that they wouldn’t have if we were, say, having coffee or at a party. I found myself in therapeutic dialogue. My team members would open up, share stories, and find commonalities in our struggles. You can be fierce while also being in touch with your emotions in order to be an integrated, whole person.
I think of cycling as a metaphor for life – when I reflect on learning how to ride over big rocks, or stretching my endurance on a long ride, I know I can do other difficult things. Cycling builds confidence and resilience.
How did you hear about Bike Works?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Black Lives Matter, and my heart ached to take action to support youth. So I researched community bike programs that help kids of color in Seattle. I read all about Bike Works’ Earn-a-Bike program and knew I wanted to support Bike Works.
I’m very passionate about providing youth the opportunity to own their first bike because I think about what my life would be like if I didn’t have cycling. The bike has been the most empowering thing in my life. It’s been a tool to get me out of things that were holding me back – mountain biking and cycling in general have been hugely therapeutic and empowering. The time I’ve spent on the bike, the cycling community aspect, riding over big rocks, all have formed the person I am today. I am asking my friends & family to help me raise $1,000 for Bike Works to provide bikes for youth for their Bikes-for-All! Program!
This event has a rich history of strengthening neighborhood support for education, providing services to families in need and generating involvement in neighborhood projects that improve quality of life.
Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC)
Bike Works is supporting the Rainier Beach Back2School Bash through the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) and Rainier Beach Moving Forward (RBMF) in partnership with residents and dozens of organizations from the neighborhood by hosting a backpack & school supplies drive!
The goal of this drive is to provide students and families with backpacks, school supplies and information about neighborhood and educational resources, food, clothing and entertainment. We invite you to join with residents, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, and local businesses to make the Rainier Beach Back2School Bash a success.
At Bike Works, we are saddened and outraged by the recent murders that have ignited the justified outpouring of anger and grief across the country and the world. Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Manuel Ellis, George Floyd, David McAttee, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Breonna Taylor are just the most recent people to be murdered, along with too many others.
Through the grief comes hope as we see so many organizations and people exposing the pandemic of racism that plagues every aspect of our society. Real, systemic, institutional change must happen. The moment has come for everyone to join the longtime organizers who have been doing decades and centuries of hard work to make liberty and justice for all a reality.
“Systemic and cultural racism harms all families and it will take a multi-racial movement to end racism. Black families, our work is not only to dismantle the oppressive system but to use our organizing as a tool to heal from internalized oppression and help our people get a sense of their own power outside of the system. Non-black people of color, we can now see more clearly that the anti-black racism that this country was built on has used and abused your communities as well, especially in the wake of the targeted racial harassment of people of Asian American descent and the scapegoating of an entire people as the cause of COVID 19. Your organizing must address anti-blackness if you are going to ever truly be free of oppression. White folks, your work is in your communities. Learn your history, how you became white and the history of resistance of white folks working to undo racism. Organize and build a humanistic approach that takes responsibility for all white people- even your republican, conservative, liberal or overtly racist family members. When you deeply understand how the concept of whiteness has dehumanized you and harms your communities it can fuel you to work even harder to Undo racism.”
We invite you, our community, to hold Bike Works accountable to our anti-racist aspirations today and in the years to come. You can find our Racial Equity Action Plan for 2017 – 2020 on the “About” page of our website. We will share our new plan for 2021 – 2025 later this year and invite you to engage in dialogue and action with us to fight for the health, safety, prosperity, and happiness of our Black and brown family, neighbors, and friends.
Since we had to cancel our spring classes and riding clubs in response to COVID-19, our Programs Team have been working behind the scenes to get services to our community back online.
Free Bike Repair
Our BikeMobile is now out and about, offering free bike repair services at select sites around the city. We have social distancing & sanitation procedures in place – feel free to track us down for air, chain lube, other minor adjustments, or even to say hi (from a safe distance!)
Check the BikeMobile calendar for the regular Tuesday – Saturday schedule, and follow the #BikeMobile hashtag on instagram to track its movements around the city.
We’re also hustling to get free bikes into the hands of those who need them most – whether you’re an essential worker in need of free, reliable transportation, need a bike for a youth to enjoy some solo fresh air time, or representing an organization that serves families in need of bikes, we’re hooking up as many youth & families with free bikes as possible.
Check out the videos up on our YouTube channel, filmed & edited by Bike Works Senior Program Coordinator, Ricky, and Youth Advisory Committee President, Sam! Learn how to fix-a-flat, and sew your own face masks from home. More videos to come, stay tuned!
Check out the rest of our bike education videos on YouTube!
While Bike Works is operating at a limited capacity, offering by-appointment bike repair and online sales, we are still working hard to intake and process bicycle donations. At least in the world of bicycle donations, spring cleaning is an unexaggerated phenomenon that provides a large chunk of our yearly total (last year our donation number surpassed 8,000 bikes). We don’t expect this year to be any different. Especially with many people quarantined and working from home, Seattleites are packed into houses and apartments that may have just one too many bikes sitting around that they aren’t riding any more.
A few weeks ago, we requested that all donations be brought to King County transfer stations rather than directly to our shop or warehouse so we could more easily control our new (and temporary) intake and disinfecting processes. This is still the best way to donate. But have you ever wondered about the process that occurs between the bikes being dropped off at transfer stations and them reaching their final destination?
These large bins are managed by Recology Cleanscapes, and they are periodically brought to their main sorting facility – the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Twice a week, members of the Bike Works Recycle and Reuse team visit the MRF to sort and process these donations. Donated bikes will either be taken back to Bike Works, re-donated to an outside organization (often to be shipped around the world), or melted into scrap metal. On an average day, forty to sixty bikes will be in the bins to be sorted through, but during the spring it isn’t uncommon to receive one hundred or more donations per trip.
Through our partnership with Recology, and the many donors who drop bikes off at the transfer stations, we have received some amazing bikes and parts. We also occasionally receive very unusual donations.
Here is a brief glimpse:
Not pictured, but very commonly donated unusable items also include: lots of patio furniture, push mowers, charcoal grills, dirt-bikes, and more.
Thanks again to all of the people out there donating to Bike Works year-round with bikes and parts of all shapes and sizes. Without your donations we literally could not exist! These donations also give our Recycle and Reuse team a way to stay productive during this uncertain time, diverting thousands of pounds of waste from the landfill. We look forward to seeing what interesting things are donated to us next.