We’re so excited about our new Executive Director, Ed Ewing!

We are very pleased to announce that last week, the Bike Works Board of Directors unanimously voted to formalize Ed Ewing’s transition from Deputy Director to Executive Director.

Since joining Bike Works in August, Ed has cemented our confidence in his vision, authenticity, and collaborative leadership style. We know that he is the right person to lead Bike Works because of his commitment to racial equity, community, partnerships, and bicycling.

Members of our community share our excitement:

A man in a bike helmet smiles for the camera

Ed Ewing at a Peace Peloton ride in 2020. Photo by Bike Hugger.

“There is no one better than Ed Ewing to leverage the resilience in our Bike Works community to further our mission. Ed’s indefatigable ability to connect with people and empower them to step up to demanding challenges is exactly what we need to support our youth and see that our community continues to thrive.” -Jeanne Fellin, Bike Works Board of Directors

“Ed and Bike Works are a match made in heaven…he brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective from two wheels. Ed can bridge the gap between competitive bike racers, utilitarian cyclists, and other diverse communities to unite for a common goal.” -Matt Clark, StraighEIGHT Films, Bike Works Volunteer and Supporter

“As Executive Director, Ed will do what he does as a ride leader. First make sure everybody is safe and ready, then guide through the tough spots to reach great heights, all the while making sure a sweep is in place so everybody stays together.” -Dr. John Vassall, Physician, Bike Works Supporter

A man in a red jersey on a bicycle in a crowd of cyclists getting ready for a race.

Ed, age 17, at his second bike race

“We have known Ed Ewing for years and have seen his passion and determination for community organization grow. He has the rare ability to connect with everyone in a group, which brings everyone into the conversation.” -Nancy Ritzenthaler & Al Odmark, Bike Works supporters

I’ve known Ed as a leader, raconteur and a constant force when it comes to meaningful connections and rallying good people for great causes. Ed is relentlessly positive, and positively relentless.” -Thomas Goldstein, Bike Works supporter since 1996

“Ed Ewing is more of an experience than a proper name. His Super Powers reside at the intersection where strategic collaborations, community development, dry humor, and social enrichment come together. Through his stealthy leadership style, you’ll be midway through a project before you realize it was Ed’s Jedi influence that ordered your steps. A serial cyclist, loyal friend, harbinger of positive change, consummate leader, and all around quality human, Ed has left an indelible impression on and in my left that contributes to me being a better human.” -Doc Wilson, InGaj Coaching and Peace Peloton

read about ed’s background here

Ed takes the helm at the onset of our next Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2025, which centers racial equity and deeply engages community.

We will be rolling out this new plan on Thursday, February 25th at 6 PM so that our community may ask questions and learn about how to get involved. We would love to have your voice in that conversation – sign up to register for a link to join.

Join our strategic plan event on 2/25

Breaking the Cycle: Kittie Knox

Kittie Knox was a nineteenth century bicycle racer from Cambridgeport, MA, and the first African American to be accepted into the League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W.)

Kittie showed interest in cycling at an early age, saving up to buy her first bicycle and quickly gaining local attention for winning many of the competitions she entered.

Black female cyclist Kittie Knox poses with her bicycle in the 1890s

Kittie Knox at Asbury Park. Referee and Cycle Trade Journal, v 15, no.12.

In 1893, she joined L.A.W., only to have her membership questioned after the organization changed its rules to exclude People of Color. Two years later, L.A.W. clarified that despite its racist rule, it would not be retroactively applied, and Kittie retained her membership.

Kittie became popular for her fashionable riding outfits (she worked as a professional seamstress), unique cycling technique, and speed, but she was still the target of both racist and sexist critique. Her physical appearance was frequently scrutinized by journalists, who described her as a “comely colored maiden”, “murky goddess of Beanville”, and “beautiful and buxom black bloomerite.” Throughout her cycling career, she was denied access to meets, and refused service at hotels and restaurants while traveling for races.

Kittie helped pave the way for other women, People of Color, and Black women to become involved in competitive cycling. Despite enduring both racism and sexism, her resiliency and courage played a role in the desegregation of the cycling world.

This post is based on this article about Kittie Knox by Grace Miller in the Smithsonian Archives.

#BlackHistoryMonth

Partnering with Free Range Cycles

Free Range Cycles is a Woman of Color-owned bike shop in Fremont, owned by former Bike Works Program Manager Shawna Williams, and staffed by former Bike Works Assistant Shop Manager Nikki McThewson. You can support Free Range AND Bike Works by purchasing a new bike from Free Range and donating your old bike to us! Show us your Free Range receipt and we’ll hook you up with a free Bike Works water bottle.

CHECK OUT FREE RANGE CYCLES Donate a bike to bike works

A note from our friends at Free Range:
We were really fortunate to get bikes this year during a global shortage, and we’d love to connect all of these bikes with folks who are ready to upgrade their ride before the end of the year so that we can make space for more inventory in 2021. Below are some examples of the awesome bikes we have for sale – contact us if anything speaks to you and we can set you up on a test ride!

All-City Gorilla Monsoon: Root Beer Gravel Machine available in sizes: 43cm/52cm/55cm Complete MSRP $2199

The Gorilla Monsoon is ready to chew up some trails with wide tires, hill-ready gearing and disc brakes. Plus, it comes with a dropper post to allow you to change your seating position mid-ride. These wheels will get you around the city or get you the heck out–whichever you need.

Salsa Journeyman: Teal Dream – 2 available in size 50cm
Complete MSRP $1199

This lovely bike enjoys long rides through the city or prancing on gravel trails, and is perfect for riders between 4’10-5’0. The bike you want for Spring bikepacking adventures and to roll you to your favorite coffee shop.

Salsa Journeyman Flat-Bar: Orange/Teal – Available in M/L/XL
Complete MSRP $949-$1199 depending on build kit

The Flat Bar version of the Journeyman has all the functionality of the drop-bar version while allowing you to remain a little more upright. This is a perfect ride for someone who is looking to upgrade their current hybrid bike and enjoy some Summer adventures on our local trails.

All-City Super Professional: “Blue Panther” – Available in sizes 55cm/58cm
Complete MSRP $1650

The Super Professional is the bike you want to zoom around the city, but not feel like you have to put on your road bike clothes. It is “road casual”, comfortable with racks and fenders or kept clean and pristine for Summertime fun with clearance for wide tires and mighty hydraulic disc brakes.

Seth Short Presents: Old, odd, obscure, weird, wild, & wonderful innovations of the cycling industry

As seen on Instagram @bike_crap and other outstanding zines of the same name

Bike Works Recycle & Reuse Coordinator Seth Short presented some of the old, odd, obscure, weird, wild, & wonderful innovations of the cycling industry that he encounters processing thousands of bike donations for Bike Works every year.

Presentation starts at 8:15

Huge thanks to Seth for sharing this celebration and send-up of the cycling industry with the Bike Works community, and to everybody who donates bikes, time, and money to Bike Works every year.

Keep up with the Bike Works calendar for more upcoming events, and get in touch with us if you’ve got a bicycle story to share!

Leadership Transition and New Beginnings for 2021

FROM DEB SALLS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

I am writing to tell you about a new adventure I am going to embark on and upcoming transitions at Bike Works. I have accepted the Executive Director position at Social Venture Partners MN. After nearly 10 years at Bike Works, I will return to Minneapolis where my family is, to work with community-minded philanthropists providing grants and support to youth-serving organizations to build capacity and impact.

I feel so blessed to have been here at Bike Works for all these years working with amazing staff, board, supporters, volunteers, and community partners. We have accomplished so much together. This was simultaneously a difficult and easy decision for me. It is difficult because it is hard to leave such a great organization, with social justice-driven staff, engaged board members, and supporters that are dedicated to doing great work in the community. It is easy because I know Bike Works is poised to do even more wonderful things in the future. We have passed our racial equity-focused strategic plan for 2021 – 2025, which we will share with our community soon. And despite the challenges of this year, Bike Works has thrived in 2020, which is an accomplishment we can all be proud of. I have learned a lot in my time in this role. I have immense gratitude for being given a chance to grow as a leader, and to help expand the capacity of our organization.

FROM MARCOS FRANCO, BOARD CHAIR

I want to wholeheartedly congratulate Deb for 10 years of dedication, service, and leadership to Bike Works as well as the South Seattle community. There is no doubt that the work she has done has had an impact on countless lives and furthered the Bike Works vision. Certainly, SVP Minnesota has acquired an asset—her knowledge, leadership, and warmth will be missed.

Deb, we wish you the best of luck! It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the entire Executive Committee, to appoint Ed Ewing as the Interim Executive Director of Bike Works as Deb departs. Ed’s commitment to social justice, strategic thinking, and passion for the organization have shined through his work as Deputy Director. He has shown he holds himself to the highest standards through his work on the Bike Works Racial Equity Commitment Statement and the 2021-2015 Strategic Plan over the last three months.

I am confident with Ed at the helm, a brilliant staff behind him, a dedicated board, and a passionate network of supporters, we are heading in the right direction. Deb’s last day will be January 5th, and we will finalize Ed’s transition from Interim Executive Director to Executive Director by the end of that month. I am looking forward to all the great work we’ll do together in the coming year.

FROM ED EWING, DEPUTY DIRECTOR

I am very excited and honored to be appointed Interim Executive Director of Bike Works! I want to thank Deb Salls, the Bike Works staff, the Board of Directors, and our committed supporters and community members for your confidence in my leadership and abilities. My career, my work in diverse communities, and my tenure in the cycling community, has prepared me for this role. It is an extreme pleasure to be working for an organization so deeply committed to racial equity, and with a talented staff who share a passion for building resilient communities. I will meet challenges with an innovative, authentic, visionary, and collaborative approach to inspire team members and community partners. I believe in strong community partnerships, building positive, authentic relationships, and leading with a collective voice. I feel blessed to be working for such an amazing organization.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond,

Deb Salls
Marcos Franco
Ed Ewing

Tessa Hulls Presents: The Bicycle as a Tool for Activism

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.

The first all-Black bike brigade, the 25th Infantry Regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers, completed an 800 mile ride from Montana to Missouri in 1896 to demonstrate that long distances could be achieved by bike.

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.

Visit Tessa’s website to learn more about her work, and follow her on Instagram for comics, history, art, and more!

Women, Trans, Femme, & Non-Binary Riders in Early Cycling History by Tessa Hulls. Feel free to print or use however you’d like, but make sure to credit Tessa, and consider making a donation to the WTF Bikexplorers, who commissioned her to make it.
Tessa Hulls on a bike loaded up for touring.

Keep up with upcoming Bike Works events on our web calendar, and get in touch if you’ve got a bicycle story to tell!

PHYLLIS PORTER TALKS BLACK GIRLS DO BIKE, SAFE STREETS ACTIVISM, AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING

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!

Check for upcoming in this “Bicycle Stories” series on our web calendar. And check our YouTube channel for previous bicycle stories including Jim Labayen’s 24 hour mountain bike race and Denise LaFountaine’s solo bike tour to the Arctic and back!

If you enjoy these events and would like to support Bike Works in producing more, consider making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit.

Welcome Ed Ewing as new Deputy Director

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!

Who we’re supporting

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.

Check them out!

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.

Pride Foundation is the only LGBTQ+ community foundation serving the Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Project Feast transforms the lives of refugees and immigrants by providing pathways to sustainable employment in the food industry, and to enriches communities through intercultural exchange.

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: Pedaling with a Purpose

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!


*Get in touch if you’re interested in joining Jenny on her bikepacking adventures!