That Doesn’t Go There

by Seth Short
Recycle & Reuse Coordinator
he/him

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?

A Cleanscapes Recology bin

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.

– The Bike Works R & R Team

Bike Works – Essential Services!

On March 23rd, Governor Inslee declared a Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order in the state of Washington, ordering that businesses close except for those deemed “essential services“. We are fortunate to live in a state that acknowledges bike repair services as essential – many workers commute by bike in order to provide us with things like medicine, food, and electricity. Opting to commute by bike allows for better social-distancing practices than riding public transit, with the added benefit of some exercise & fresh air while we’re ordered to otherwise stay at home.

The exterior of the Bike Works shop with the words Essential in blue overlaying the image.

Bike Works has been closed to the public for the last 3 weeks, but we’ve been working remotely and behind the scenes.

We are pleased to announce that our bike shop is now open for repairs by appointment – call the shop (206-725-8867) or email Josh to secure your time slot and leave a voice message for a callback if nobody answers!

Email Josh to make a bike repair appointment

DO NOT come by the shop without an appointment. In order to maintain social-distancing best practices, we ask that you come by only with an appointment for bike repair or to pick up a bike you’ve purchased online. Bike repair appointments are available 7 days a week, 10 – 6 PM.

Call the shop to make a bike repair appointment

We have also launched an online store for you to buy bikes, accessories, and gift cards.

Shop bike works online now

We welcome you to purchase bikes online. Feel free to call the shop (206-725-8867) with questions about a bike to see if it might be a good fit for you. We’re not able to allow test rides at this time, but we will honor our 30-day return policy if the bike doesn’t work out. You’ll choose your preferred pickup day at checkout, and will receive a phone call to confirm your appointment. Then, come pick up your new bike at our shop in Columbia City! We will disinfect all bikes before handing them over to you – we’ll share more details about our social-distancing and disinfecting practices when we confirm your appointment.

All other purchases you make on our online store will be shipped to you directly.

Looking for a specific part for your ride? We’ve also got some components and accessories up for sale on our ebay page – check it out!

SHOP BIKE WORKS ON EBAY

Finally, we are offering a 50% discount off bike repair (parts & labor) for medical personnel and grocery store employees – we recognize that you are on the front lines keeping us all safe, healthy, and fed! We love & appreciate you and want you to be able to get around safely!

Reflections on Bicycle/Race

by Allie Sarfaty
Recycle & Reuse Coordinator
They/them

For Bike Works’ antiracist reading project, I picked Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance by Andonia E. Lugo. The book chronicles Lugo’s journey as a transportation advocate in Los Angeles, interwoven with a coming-of-age tale in Orange County with insights into infrastructure policy and urban planning as a whole. Her story tells a cautionary tale of how white bicycle organizers and advocates reinforce racism and oppression in a world where people of color are not seen as the cycling majority, despite the fact that they are disproportionately affected by transportation policies.

While reading this book, I was pleasantly surprised to see Bike Works mentioned. In 2011, Lugo moved to Seattle and was re-energized by the grassroots programming embedded in our organization’s youth Earn-a-Bike and Volunteer Repair Parties. While reflecting on this reading, I thought a lot about how I engage with my community as a white person working in rapidly gentrifying south Seattle, and what it means to be a part of an organization grounded in providing services and resources to people of color. Going forward, I want to continue engaging with my community in meaningful ways in and outside of my job, actively work on improving my own anti-racist practices, and holding myself accountable to undoing white supremacy in the ways that I can.

Interested in what other antiracist books Bike Works staff are reading? Check out the full blog post here.

Equity Reading List

Our shop, warehouse, and programs are currently on hold in order to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible during this time of social distancing. Despite being temporarily closed to the public, the Bike Works staff are still working – building bikes, writing curriculum, investigating new ways to provide products and services, and planning for the future.

Since last fall, our staff, Board of Directors, Youth Advisory Committee, and Racial Equity Task Force have been working with facilitators from Beloved Community to draft our next strategic plan to take us from 2021 – 2025 (check out our 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan on our website here). Beloved Community is a non-profit consulting firm focused on implementing regional, sustainable solutions for diversity, equity, and inclusion. In order to keep up the momentum around this work, and to increase our collective learning, we are all reading a book about race, racism, and/or equity.

Here are the books we are reading – let us know if you’ve got additional recommendations or favorites from this list!

Bike Works Closure in Response to COVID-19

Community is the most important thing to us here at Bike Works. We feel that we have a responsibility to take care of each other, and we try to embody that in our work.

In light of recent public health concerns surrounding COVID-19, and with developing recommendations from Seattle King County Public Health about minimizing your contact with groups of people and working from home if you can for the time being, we have decided to cancel our programming, volunteering, warehouse, and bike shop hours here at Bike Works through the end of March.

Currently, our bike shop plans to reopen on Sunday, March 29th pending public health recommendations. We do ask that you refrain from bringing bike donations by the shop during this closure. Check out this page on our website for a complete list of bike donation sites around the county – or feel free to bring your donation by on the 29th!

We’re currently selling parts on ebay! Check out our page to shop remotely, and stay tuned for more online sales coming soon.

Our offices and warehouse currently plan to reopen on Monday, March 30th, with bi-weekly Volunteer Repair Parties scheduled to resume on Thursday, April 2nd at 6:30 PM.

All youth programming has been canceled for the month of March. Our April Earn-A-Bike class is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 21st as planned, RIDES Training Club starts April 25th, and April Street Burner activities (open to any youth who have completed a Bike Works class) including bike repair community service drop-in sessions are a go!

Our adult Bike Repair 201 class begins on Thursday, April 23rd, and our new Bring Your Own Bike class begins on Tuesday, May 12th.

Bikecitement!, our annual fundraising dinner & auction, has been postponed to Sunday, October 11th. Get in touch with our Development team for questions about tickets, sponsorship opportunities, in-kind donations, and volunteering.

We are working remotely and are available by email to answer questions – please get in touch with one of our staff members with any questions or concerns! Not sure who to talk to? Email our general account to get redirected to the right person or department.

Thank you for being a part of the Bike Works community. Want to support us during this uncertain time? We always accept online donations through our website.

We hope you’re enjoying the fresh air, independence, and freedom that riding your bike still provides during this uncertain time.

Love,

The Bike Works Team

 

Bikecitement! Bike Works’ Annual Fundraising Dinner & Auction Lead Décor Volunteer

Bikecitement! is Bike Works’ annual fundraising dinner & auction, an event with a goal of raising over $300,000 for our youth and community programs.

This year’s event will be on Sunday, March 22, at Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center (305 Harrison St). The theme is The Magic of the Bicycle. The Lead Décor Volunteer should be a witch, warlock, fairy, goblin, or any other being with artistic or crafty skills & sensibilities. The Lead Décor Volunteer will design and implement key components of the event décor to make this event as enchanting & otherworldly as possible!

Please note: a modest budget will be set aside for all decoration efforts – the Lead Décor Volunteer is not expected to spend any of their own money or provide any supplies for this project unless they explicitly choose to do so.

The Lead Décor Volunteer must be available on March 22 from 10 AM – 4:30 PM to help set up for the event. Breakfast & lunch will be provided, plus one ticket to the auction & dinner.

Responsibilities
  • Work with Bike Works & event staff to create a plan for decorating the venue. This could include signage, centerpieces, and other magical elements, but does not include linens, dishes, or other event essentials.
  • Participate in two auction planning meetings on Monday, February 3 from 2:30 to 4 pm & Monday, February 24 from 4 to 5:15 pm, schedule permitting.
  • Get crafty by creating the design elements and sourcing any necessary materials (to be reimbursed by Bike Works.)
  • Coordinate volunteer work party for decoration creation (if necessary).
  • Determine volunteer needs/schedule for day-of and communicate these needs to Volunteer Coordinator.
  • Attend the volunteer training on Thursday, March 17 from 6 to 7 pm.
  • Lead décor setup of venue day of the auction (this is an all-day commitment for the day of the event on March 22, 2020 from 10 AM – 4:30 PM)

Décor Focus Areas
  1. General signage inside & outside
  2. Silent Auction table display
  3. Dessert Dash table display
  4. Stage backdrop display
  5. Table Centerpieces (48 total)

Interested in leading the decoration efforts at Bikecitement! 2020: The Magic of the Bicycle on March 22, 2020? Email give@bikeworks.org with a short paragraph outlining your interest, arts & crafts background, and/or experience with large events by Monday January 27th. Please include one or two example ideas of a magical table centerpiece.

Apply to be the Bikecitement! Decor Volunteer

Learn more about Bikecitement!, buy tickets, and view the Magical Menu here!

Learn more about Bikecitement!

Meet Brooklyn Bell: Artist, Activist, Mountain Bike Racer, & Bike Works Supporter

Brooklyn Bell has dedicated her career to celebrating diversity in the outdoors through her artistic practice. She has supported Bike Works in various ways, most recently by designing a beautiful t-shirt that you can get as a thank-you for making a year-end contribution to Bike Works of at least $250, or a recurring monthly gift of any amount. Check out this recent interview we conducted with Brooklyn on her background, the motivations behind her art, and where to go to learn more or purchase her work!

A mock-up of the t-shirt Brooklyn designed for Bike Works. The final version will be on a cream-colored shirt with the print in royal blue and rusty orange.

Who are you?

My name is Brooklyn Bell and I am a Patagonia Mountain Bike Ambassador and a freelance artist from Bellingham, Washington.

Brooklyn Bell, Patagonia MTB, Chuckanut Mountains

How did you get into art?

I got into fine art as I was coming of age. After graduating high school I started to find my heart in the outdoors. It started with hiking and resulted getting deep into skiing, climbing and biking. As I was coming into all these sports, art became a way for me to have a voice and it was a way for me to create a visual to-do list.

 

What does art mean to you?

Art has been a way to create a space for myself in outdoors, to show representation in the outdoors and most importantly have a voice within the community.

 

How did you get involved with Bike Works?

It all started a couple years ago with a micro-brand I created called “Lady of Loam”. Lady of Loam was a brand that was focused on creating space for women in mountain biking. I never felt like any companies made jerseys that represented me or the other women that I rode with. I ran the artwork on jerseys for a couple of years and while I felt like I was empowering women in my community, I felt like the conversation of inclusion didn’t quite include POC folks. So I ran an edition of the jersey one summer to raise money for Bike Works, hoping to serve two communities that I feel part of. 

The logo for the Lady of Loam brand Brooklyn created. She donated proceeds from this campaign to Bike Works.

What are some projects you’ve worked on?

In trying to create more space for folks in the outdoor industry, I have worked on projects with All Mountain Brothers, Get Out Stay Out, Brown Girls Climb and The American Alpine Club. Everything from branding to fine art, even top-sheets for skis.

Lately, I have been stepping in front of the camera too. I just did a project with Outside Magazine with Chip Thomas and also a documentary with Patagonia all about art and biking. Be sure to follow what I’m up to on Instagram @badgal_brooky.

Brooklyn shows off the ski top-sheets she designed.

Where can we find your artwork for purchase?

You can find prints online for purchase at brooklynbelldesign.com. Another place you can find my art is on mugs for purchase through Bike Works – coming soon!

 

What are some tools you use to create art?

All of my work is a combination of analog and digital, so my computer serves as a useful tool. The biggest tool I’ve used is I have a bunch of different notebooks. I have a notebook for skiing and biking and I keep track of all the days I ride my bike or all the days that I ski. Then I have a normal notebook that I jot down ideas in little moments. Then I have my drawing notebook. Between the three of those, cross-referencing them and checking in with myself – really taking the time to notice the small moments – I’m able to find so much inspiration for art or deep meaningful messages being inward, even if it’s just every other day. Just keeping track of things is a really good tool.

Brooklyn shredding mountain-biking trails outside of Bellingham, WA.

Top Eleven Reasons to Trade Your Car for a Bicycle

by Charlotte Thistle

Charlotte Thistle (better known to some as “Miss Charlotte”) is a regular customer at the Bike Works bike shop, a full-time bicycle commuter and the founder of Miss Charlotte’s “Music for Tots”. She teaches music classes for kids from birth through age 8 in Rainier Beach, Columbia City and Laurelhurst! (Check out her website, misscharlottemusic.com). Charlotte wrote this blog post outlining 11 compelling reasons to trade in your car for a bicycle!  


1. You’ll save money.

Monthly car payments? Gone. Insurance? No more. Parking? Forget it. Maintenance, repairs, tickets? All ancient history. A solid commuter bicycle costs $200 or less. To combine cycling with public transit, get yourself a monthly transit pass for $100. For those times when you need to transport a heavy load, run errands or do something special, join a car share program such as Car2go, Reach Now or Zip Car.

 

2. You’ll be happier.

Spending hours a day trapped in a stuffy metal box on the freeway doesn’t make anyone happy. In fact, researchers have shown that car commuters are more likely to be depressed than people who walk, cycle or take public transit to work, even when their commutes take longer.1

 

3. Your health will improve.

According to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (as well just as plain old common sense) cycling is the urban transport mode associated with the greatest health benefits. Lowered blood pressure, improved circulation,  stronger bones and better cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and joint mobility are just a few of the health benefits you may experience with a switch to bicycle commuting.2

 

4. You’ll be sexier.

You’ll develop a healthy, radiant glow, lose weight, and build muscle – without spending a dime at the gym! In fact, if you think of the extra time added to your commute as replacing a daily gym workout, you’ll realize you’re saving time and  money.

 

5. Everything you eat will be delicious.

 You might be amazed how much better everything you eat will taste. Now that you’re working up an appetite with regular exercise, that stuff in the cafeteria that tasted like cardboard last week will suddenly become juicy and amazing! (For real.)

 

6. You’ll get to know your neighbors.

Being out and about, walking or biking or waiting for the train or bus, you’ll notice people and things in your neighborhood you never knew were there. You’ll discover a world of wonders right on your very own block!

 

7. You’ll use your time more wisely.

 When it’s no longer easy to just ‘dash to the store’ for one or two items, you’ll plan ahead so those extra trips become unnecessary. You’ll do all the errands you need to do in one part of town on the same day, and you’ll feel confident about saying no to time-wasting activities you never wanted to do in the first place. You’ll spend less time running around, and more time doing the things that really matter.

 

8. You’ll gain confidence in yourself.

When you know that you, yourself, can provide the energy to get up those hills and cover those miles, you’ll have a new sense of your own personal power. You’ll realize that you are much stronger and more capable than you previously imagined.

 

9. You’ll re-arrange your life the way you always wanted it.

You’ll find a way to make your life work – and it will be better. Maybe you’ll move closer to work, work closer to home or even work from home. Or perhaps you’ll join a carpool a couple of days a week, and make some new friends – or utilise public transit, and find you have extra time to read. There are many ways to commute successfully without owning a car.

 

10. You’ll feel good about your impact on the world.

The single most destructive thing you do every day is drive a car. Exhaust from your tailpipe poisons oceans, rivers, trees and the air we breathe, and contributes to global climate change. In the United States alone, over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year and 2 million more are injured or disabled.3 An estimated 1 million animals are run over by cars every day.4 If you care at all about water, air, trees, people or animals, the first, most important step you can take towards positive change is to give up your car – for good.

 

11. You’ll be setting a good example for others.

Do you have children? Employees? Students? Co-workers? Show them it’s possible to live well without a car. When they see you succeed, they may follow your lead.


  1. https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/walking-or-cycling-to-work-improves-wellbeing-university-of-east-anglia-researchers-fi-1
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180813100249.htm
  3. https://www.asirt.org/safe-travel/road-safety-facts/
  4. https://www.hcn.org/issues/291/15268

Bike Works Program Coordinator Jim Labayen Rode a Mountain Bike for 19 Hours, 32 Minutes, and 51 Seconds

“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.

Bike Works Volunteer Adrian Down is an Expert Mechanic who Learned to Ride a Bike in College

By Ted Cox

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.