“The first time I understood what freedom and strength meant, I was on my bike.”
On May 25-26th, Bike Works Program Coordinator Jim Labayan rode the (20th annual & last-ever) 24 Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race in Spokane WA during his 24th year. On his blog, Forks, he reflects on what motivated him to take on this challenge, from simply wanting to have autonomy over when to get his next sugar fix, to measuring up to his absurdly fit older brother Gus, to leading high school students on the 210 mile ride from Seattle to Portland with the Major Taylor Project. Read the whole story here about the challenges and lessons he learned from this experience.
Climbing “First Hill”
“I first felt a strong pull to long distance cycling when I rode around the Washington Olympic Peninsula in 2013. Truthfully, it was awful in many ways. I was lonely, hungry, and green. But it also offered me so much escape from the pent up traumas of my cross-cultural and turbulent upbringing. I fell in love with the rhythm of climbing hills, the fatigue in my legs, the aching in my back, soreness in the arches of my feet… I fell in love with getting lost — mentally and geographically.
…This race is for the times that I fell short of expectations. This one is for the people who told me I wasn’t enough. This one is for the times I was doubted because of my age, my ethnicity, or my introversion, or my awkwardness. Whether it is 15 hours or 24 hours or the top step of the podium, I know I will have implemented every lesson; relived every emotion that I’ve experienced through a lifetime of bike riding. And that is enough.
…Altogether, I rode for a total of 19 hours 32 minutes and 51 seconds. I rode over 200 miles and climbed over 11,000 feet. I got two hours of sleep, and the rest of the time was spent taking small breaks. I narrowly earned third place by finishing 9 minutes ahead of fourth place — and extremely narrow margin for a 24 hour race. More data can be found here for all you cyclists, data nerds, or for those curious enough…
That being said, I could have done better. If I had not slept and ridden through the rain, I might be sitting in second place. But that is not the point. I laid everything that I was willing to offer down on the line. And that is enough.”
Jim Labayan is a Program Coordinator for Bike Works, working with youth & adults on bicycle ridership, ownership, and leadership skills. He has been with the organization since September of 2018.
Adrian Down takes overnight bikepacking trips, fixes up adult bikes for Bike Works, and volunteers to make biking safer in Rainier Valley. So it’s a little surprising to hear that he first learned to ride a bike in college.
He heard about Bike Works through Bike Bingo, the annual city-wide cycling scavenger hunt presented in tandem with local businesses. Now, he’s part of a core group of skilled volunteers who fix up bikes for the Bikes for All! Program, or to be sold in the Community Bike Shop. Adrian is also a member of Rainier Valley Greenways, a community advocacy group which focuses on making streets safer for non-motorized traffic. Attending their meetings works nicely with his bike repair work.
“It’s convenient because RVG meets in the same building that the Bike Works volunteering takes place in,” Adrian said. “I typically go to the Rainier Valley Neighborhood Greenways meeting upstairs for half of the volunteer time and then go downstairs and pick up a wrench and start fixing bikes.”
What’s one of your earliest biking memories?
I think I started biking much later than most people. I didn’t really start biking until I was in college.
I was very lucky in that in college I had this amazing mentor. And he was really an academic mentor, a personal mentor, a professional mentor, just an incredible person to have in my life, almost like a surrogate parent. Because I was going to college 3,000 miles away from my own parents. I was really far from home. I was a clueless little 18-year-old kid. And he was very kind to take me under his wing. And he and his wife were very kind and generous towards me.
So he had this old 1980s Nishiki bicycle that had been sitting in his garage, collecting rust for probably 10 years at that point. He said, “I’ve got this bike sitting in my garage. You can probably use it to get around campus.”
As a typical college kid, I lived fairly close to campus. So it’s a great way to get to class. He basically let me borrow that bike for a couple years and said, “Give it back when you’re done. But as long as you keep it in good shape, you’re welcome to use while you’re going to school here.”
It was a wonderful bike. It was this nice burgundy red and it fit me pretty well — as well as a free loaner bike could be expected to fit.
And I remember the first time I rode it, you know, because I had never really ridden a bike. And here I am, I’m 18, and I’m learning to ride a bike.
So I took it to a tennis court and I remember getting on the bike and promptly just fell right on my side, like two, three times. I think maybe after the third time I could get the bike to go without falling over, I said, “Great, we’re done. This’ll work.”
And pretty much from then on used the bike as my main source of transportation for most of the rest of college. And at the end of college I gave it back.
Ted Cox is a technical writer and Bike Works volunteer. He likes burritos and bikes and riding bikes to go eat burritos.
Bike Works Board Member Jess Kim is a Bay Area transplant, a multi-modal engineer for the Seattle Department of Transportation, and plays in local pop-rock band Coach Phillips. Jess and her SDOT team are responsible for designing roadway infrastructure in the city’s Bicycle Master Plan and building connections to existing and future bicycling facilities in Seattle.
A bike ride led to Jess eventually joining the Bike Works Board. This Sunday, July 29, she’s bringing together bikes, bands, and (cold) brews for Bands for Bike Works at Conduit Coffee Company on Westlake Ave N, just south of the Fremont Bridge.
As she told a former coworker, “My bike life trifecta has finally come together: I work in bikes, I ride bikes, and I volunteer for bikes. Everything has somehow come together.”
Ted Cox (left), Jess Kim (center) and friend Lisa Choi (right) hanging out at Bike Works Eleven Winery event on July 22
How did you get involved with Bike Works?
I went on a bike ride — stopping at all the donut shops — for a friend’s birthday the first year I moved to Seattle. One of the people on that birthday ride works at Bike Works — Mike Buendia, he works at the warehouse — and so we got to talking. I was looking for opportunities to volunteer with an organization that worked in bicycle advocacy and education, similar to Bike East Bay in the Bay Area where I helped draft preliminary plan proposals.
I was immediately drawn to Bike Works and their mission to empower youth through bikes and foster strong communities.
My initial thought was to be a volunteer at Bike Works’ Volunteer Repair Parties and learn some grease monkey skills while helping a good cause, and found myself sitting among the Bike Works Board — a role I have no previous experience in, but figured why not give it a go. While I haven’t been able to make it out to a repair party just yet, I have been an active Board Member getting involved with different committees and organizing a cultivation event which is Bands for Bike Works!
Tell me about Bands for Bike Works.
I got the idea, I guess, because I’m in one of the bands that’s playing. We’re called Coach Philips. I love planning events and bringing people together. When I was in Oakland I helped organize a local festival down there and part of my role was to book and manage the entertainment.
And so an event like Bands for Bike Works seemed fitting. I just figured I’d bring in the music community with the bicycling community into this ultimate event.
And coffee on top of that.
And coffee! Exactly! Yeah, a lot of different communities coming together all for Bike Works.
What else should people know about this Sunday?
There’s going to a bike drive where you can bring us your old bikes as well. And a bike valet, too. Conduit Coffee Company is right on Westlake Ave N next to the Westlake Cycle Track, so we’re hoping to pull some Sunday strolling families in to learn all about the amazing programs at Bike Works and listen to some music. It’s a family-friendly event.
The Bike Works Warehouse will be open 2 hours later than usual on Saturday, April 28. The Warehouse retail space, and Open Shop will be open to the public from 2pm-5pm. Regular Saturday hours, 12-5pm, will resume the following week. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for understanding. Love you. Bye.
We are so grateful that Zoe and Marcus have dedicated their time and energy to our community. The passion they each exude is a testament to each of them and to the power of the bicycle as a vehicle for change.
In Marcus’ words, “Bike Works is a place where you can come and meet people, and those people can possibly turn into your friends that you talk to on a daily basis. It’s like a second family.”
Thank you, Marcus, Zoe, Marla, Tim, Shawna, and Tina, for sharing your experiences, and being part of the Bike Works family. We are all better for knowing you.
Here are just some of the fabulous prizes that will be up for auction at Bikecitement! All of the proceeds benefit Bike Works’ youth & adults programs and environmental stewardship efforts. Start planning your next vacation or your next bicycle and raise that paddle high!
Fabulous Fuso Road Bike
This fabulous Fuso was hand-made by renowned bike builder Dave Moulton as one of a limited series of frames. A very high-end build for its era, it features Campagnolo Super Record derailleurs, Simplex retrofriction shift levers (highly regarded by friction shift lovers!), and classic wheels that are all in excellent condition.
Dave Moulton started building frames in England before immigrating to the US in 1979 to serve customers here, including the 1980 US Olympic Team. He has expressed great delight at the restoration of this bike thanks to two outstanding Bike Works volunteers! The winner will get the full restoration story of this bike including how to become part of the Fuso community.
Restrictions: No returns or exchanges. This is a 53cm frame and will fit a rider from 5’6″-5’7”.
Thank you: Friends of Bike Works
Shred the Gnar with Friends
Enjoy a full day of snowboarding lessons on the mountains for you and three friends! Head to the resort of your choice (Snoqualmie Pass or Stevens Pass) for four hours of lessons with an instructor from the Service Board. This amazing package includes lift tickets, gear rental, and fittings for four people.
Restrictions: Must be 15 years or older. Excludes major holidays; does not include transportation to the mountain. Fitting sessions for gear rental must be scheduled prior to the snowboarding day with the Service Board instructor. Lesson must be booked on mutual agreeable dates; valid through March 25th, 2019.
Thank you: The Service Board
Six Nights in Suncadia
The hit of Bikecitement! last year is back! This comfortable, family-friendly home has easy access to all that Suncadia has to offer. Just 75 miles from Seattle, this luxury home sleeps 10-12 in four large bedrooms and boasts three baths, an expansive patio with gas fire pit, and a hot tub that will make your stay memorable. Nestled in a private setting of mature pines and firs and just five minutes from historic Roslyn. Perfect for a multi-family getaway, spa weekend, golf outing, or bike adventure with friends.
Restrictions: Good for a six-night stay overlapping one weekend on non-holiday weeks. Subject to availability and mutually agreed upon dates; non-transferable; expires March 25th, 2019.
Thank you: Shana & Brett Kruse and Mike & Kelly Stevens
Sounders Suite for 16
Scarves up! Watch the Seattle Sounders in style on September 29th as they take on the Colorado Rapids. Invite up to 16 friends to the ultimate matchday experience! Enjoy a private entrance, private seating, an in-suite restroom, luxury furnishing, flat screen televisions, exclusive access to Club Level and Lofts during the match, outstanding matchday service with a great view of the pitch and dedicated staff for special requests. Also includes four parking passes.
Restrictions: 16 tickets included, 12 seats in the suite plus standing room. Valid for Saturday, September 29th at 1pm for the Sounders FC vs. Colorado Rapids match. The tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. Suite tickets cannot be resold.
Thank you: Sounders FC
Diamondback Fat Tire Bike
This fat bike is as much fun to ride as it looks! You’ll be able to perform feats of superhuman riding on this strong and lightweight aluminum frame with a 100mm travel Rockshox fork and a smooth-shifting Shimano 2×10 drivetrain. This bike excels in sand or snow, two Pacific Northwest adventures waiting to happen. But you don’t have to wait for sand or snow to experience the amazing traction of these tires – take a spin on your favorite local trail. This is a small, 16” frame for a rider 5’4”-5’7” tall.
Restrictions: No returns or exchanges.
Thank you: Friends of Bike Works
Luxurious Seven-Day Cruise for Two
When you step aboard one of the five-star ships of Holland America Line, you will experience a voyage unlike any other. You can choose a cruise for two for a trip up to seven days to Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada/New England. Your journey will include extraordinary dining, a spacious stateroom, elegant surroundings, days filled with new discoveries, and gracious pampering by an award-winning crew.
Restrictions: May not be used for Alaska CruiseTours, World Cruises, Holiday Cruises (Christmas and New Year’s) or Grand Voyages. Certificate may be applied to other cruise trades at an additional cost. Good for one minimum unobstructed ocean view stateroom. Guest is responsible for taxes and onboard charges (example fees from 2016 were between $107 and $151 per person). Certificate is non-commissionable, non-refundable, has no cash redemption value, is non-transferable, and cannot be resold. Stateroom upgrades are commissionable. Certificate has no expiration date.
Thank you: Friends of Bike Works
It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s Round-Trip Airfare for Two!
Grab your best friend and head off on a birthday adventure, give your favorite graduates a fun trip for two, or plan a couple of solo adventures to treat yourself! The possibilities are endless with these two coach vouchers from Alaska Airlines. There are no blackout dates, so plan your trip tonight!
Restrictions: Two round-trip coach tickets valid (almost!) anywhere Alaska Airlines and Virgin America fly (excludes flights to Cuba). No blackout dates applied. Vouchers must be ticketed prior to 3/25/2019.
Thank you: Alaska Airlines
Dahon x Kukuxumusu Sheep Folding Bike
There’s no need to feel sheepish about the unique paint job on this Dahon folding bicycle. The art on the frame was designed by the internationally recognizable Kukuxumusu drawing and ideas factory. There are only 1,000 of these baaaaad boys on the road. Equipped with a 3-speed internal hub and fenders this is a casual commuter cruise waiting for someone 5’3″-5’6” to take it home.
Restrictions: No returns or exchanges.
Thank you: Friends of Bike Works
Party in a Heart Shaped Box
Throw it way back with Seattle’s very own Heart Shaped Boxes—a premier all-female Nirvana cover band. They’ll play an hour set at your party, wedding, or other special gathering of your choosing.
Jess joined the team in January as the Development Director. It only took one mishap of an adventure to show her how we Patch it Forward at Bike Works.
It was Jess’ third day of work and she was ready to roll off to the annual staff retreat. At such a fast moving organization as ours, with a bike shop, classes, the BikeMobile, offsite programming, and so much more, the retreat is a rare moment when the entire staff gets to be in the same room together. It’s also means that we get to ride our bikes together!
As Jess was eager to connect with her new colleagues, she volunteered to meet them in the International District to bike to the retreat in West Seattle together. It was one of those soaking wet rides that makes for good story but only well after everyone is dry and warm. Not only did it dump buckets the whole way over, the bike train also took a wrong turn which took them up a particularly steep hill. Jess arrived at Camp Long soaked but cheery.
After a day of planning, bonding, and drying off, Jess and the Bike Works crew hit the road, branching off from one another to take their various routes home. It was on the dark return trip that Jess felt her bike wobbling. She looked down and saw the flattest, saddest tire. Luckily, she was within walking distance from home so she trudged inside, warmed up, and forgot about the whole endeavor.
Two weeks later at a staff meeting, Jess mentioned her flat tire at the group check in. A chorus of “me too”s went around the table. Almost every single person who biked to and from the staff retreat got a flat that night, we were baffled. What are the odds?
Jess realized how fortunate she is to work at an organization that understands running late to patch a flat tire. Not everyone has that and not everyone can afford a full tune up or even a patch kit to get back on the road quickly. That’s why Bike Works exists—to promote the bicycle as a vehicle for everyone.
Patch it Forward is about helping each other out. It’s the Bike Works way of paying it forward. You too can celebrate the power of our community by Patching it Forward. Make a gift of $4.40 in support of Bike Works. It covers the cost of a patch kit for the next time someone needs one.
[Image Description: A close up selfie of a half a person’s face highlights a red sign in the background saying, “Firebird Sweets”. This image is covered in small dots, the person is wearing a red mask, and a orange burst that says, “Whoosh!” showing that this person is a superhero!]
Firebird Sweets is a new business near Ikea and they are donating a superhero dessert to the Dessert Dash! They believe very strongly in giving back to their communities and they love to do what they can when they can. Bonus: The baker will be at Bikecitement! so get there early to scope out all the tasty treats.
[Image Description: Jess is outfitted in riding gear and a helmet leaning in front of her bike flexing her right arm while smiling into the camera. There are mountains and trees in the background showing that she’s done a heroic ride! The text in the image is a summary of what’s below.]
Jess supports Bike Works as a Board Member to work toward equitable intersectionality of cultural backgrounds, gender, age, and riding styles withing the cycling community. When she’s not riding, working, at a Board meeting, or hosting a table at Bikecitement!, catch her rocking out with her band Coach Phillips at venues throughout Seattle.
[Image Description: A comic book style graphic depicts a photo of a smiling person with short hair and earrings. Overlaid on the photo is a pink cartoon superhero mask to show her transformed into a superhero. The other two panels, one blue and one yellow summarize the below text.]
Kristin is a grandmother and table captain. She supports Bike Works because it offers her granddaughter the opportunity to break gender barriers and include girls in engineering!
[Image Description: A panel depicts a person turning into a superhero through 2 pictures. The top shows a person wearing a button up, glasses, and a mustache. The bottom shows the same person transformed into a superhero by adding a purple cartoon style mask. The middle of the picture is a blue & red burst with the word “whoosh!”. Text is summarized below.]
This superhero is a long time Bike Works team member, artist, and rock star mechanic. You might know him as Mike. We know him as THE WAREHOUSE WIZARD for all that he does to keep the Bike Works Warehouse rolling.
This is a guest post from Marie-Antoinette Cruz, one of the outstanding team members at evo that volunteered their time at Bike Works. Thanks to Marie & the entire evo team!
I am not a cyclist. My bicycle and I have a lukewarm relationship at best. However, I work on the technology team at evo.com and am surrounded by coworkers who talk about biking allthetime. So when the team was given the opportunity to volunteer at Bike Works for a day, helping prepare for their upcoming Warehouse Sale, it was too good for us to pass up.
Our day started with a tour of Bike Works’ full-service community bike shop, classrooms, warehouse space, and the BikeMobile (Bike Works’ repair shop on wheels). Julie, the Donor Relationships Manager, gave us a great introduction to what Bike Works has done over the years and shared information about their various programs. It was hearing about the Earn-A-Bike program that left the biggest impression on me. I remember thinking, if I had access to the same kind of program growing up, I might have a healthier relationship with my bike today. It was so cool to see a program that taught youth practical bike skills and, more importantly, fostered confidence, community, and accountability in a context that young people could be passionate about.
[Image Description: Over one hundred bicycles are neatly stacked against each other awaiting their new owners at Bike Works’ Annual Warehouse Sale – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
We spent the rest of the day working with the Recycle & Reuse team (Steve, Mike, and Seth) helping prepare bikes for the Annual Warehouse Sale. Before that day, the only thing I’d ever modified on a bike was lowering the seat (I am not a tall person), but I spent that whole afternoon removing pedals and loosening and turning handlebars so more bikes could be stored in the days leading up to the sale. Taking off pedals and turning handlebars might not sound like much, but for me it was another opportunity to grow and learn about something I knew nothing about.
I had so much fun working with the Bike Works team that I decided to volunteer the following Saturday at the sale as well. While there, I met an older gentleman who was an active mentor/teacher in Bike Works classes. We both were helping out in the clothing section, so we spent most of the afternoon together. He told me about the work he did at Bike Works, how being a cyclist had impacted his personal life, and shared some of the adventures he’d encountered along the way. Listening to him, I sensed a great deal of knowledge, experience, and an extension of the Bike Works community. When I told him about my lack of experience with bicycles, he encouraged me to attend a Volunteer Repair Party. It was this simple, welcoming gesture that really made my experience that Saturday afternoon feel so uplifting, as if there was no limit to how much I could learn spending time with this community.
I am grateful for my experience volunteering at Bike Works. It was a lovely introduction to an amazing organization rooted in community; one that is excited to share its awareness, know-how, passion, and love for all things bicycle!
– Marie-Antoinette Cruz
[Image Description: Group shot of the evo technology team. People are gathered around holding tools, smiling, and/or giving a thumbs up. Behind them to the right, you can see stacks and stacks of bicycles. – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: Steve Gadingan of the Recycle & Reuse Team takes a moment to thank the evo crew for all their hard work – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: evo team members, Derek, Spencer, Kiger, and Ben demonstrate that they can do other things than sit around staring at screens all day – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: Goofin’ off with the evo crew – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: Volunteering is hard work! Members of the evo technology team, Marie, Helene, Travis, and Conrad, take a short break for a group shot – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: I don’t know whether to keep working or start shopping! evo team member, Travis, takes a moment to admire the merchandise – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: evo team members, Derek and Spencer, stand surveying the result of their labor – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
[Image Description: evo team members, Marie and Helene, working hard and setting a break-neck pace – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]
The Warehouse Sale was a huge success! Thank you for supporting your local bicycle nonprofit while getting some great deals. Lots of folks left Bike Works with new DIY projects, refurbished & ready-to-ride bicycles, and big smiles. However, the Warehouse is full again! We are trying to come up with solutions to our relentless storage and processing conundrums, which brings us to our exciting announcement:
[Image Description: Two people hold a blue bicycle without wheels above their heads. They look triumphant, like they scored a great deal at a sale.]
Warehouse Now Open Wednesdays
In addition to being open on Saturdays, the Warehouse will be open to the public on Wednesdays from 12pm-5pm. Come check out a DIY-ers dream.
3715 S Hudson St Seattle, WA 98118 (Lower level, entrance in the rear, parking on the street) (206) 257-5895
What’s coming down the road
Keep your eyes peeled for a new monthly flash sale. The “Bike Works Bargain Bins” will offer multiple bins worth of unwanted items at a fraction of the cost.
Did you know that Bike Works is one of the largest bicycle recycle operations in the country? Our Recycle & Reuse department processes over 7,000 every year. That’s a lot of bicycles being diverted from the waste stream! Some of those bikes are in good enough repair to go into our classrooms or refurbished for the bike shop. A lot of the bicycles & parts that we collect are redistributed to international bike organizations, local artists, or upcycle partners.