South End Traffic Incidents Spur Efforts to Prioritize Pedestrian Safety

2021 was the deadliest year on Seattle’s streets since 2006 with 31 lives lost. Vision Zero is the city’s adopted goal that no one should be seriously injured or killed while traveling on our streets. In response, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has just released their highly anticipated “top to bottom” Vision Zero review.

While it contains much needed recommendations to reform SDOT’s internal culture and practices, it fails to propose an action plan to create safe streets for all. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways released their plan containing equitable and proven solutions to get Vision Zero back on track last November.

On Tuesday, March 7th, SDOT’s report was review by the City Council’s Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Committee. Head to South Seattle Emerald’s page to read more about the issues facing South Seattle.

Ed Ewing, executive director of Bike Works in Columbia City, a “social justice minded organization that centers on racial equity,” said bicycle safety and pedestrian safety are deeply intertwined, and traffic fatalities and injuries for pedestrians and cyclists are greatest in areas that have the least biking infrastructure.

“(In) South Seattle you have the most fatalities, you have the most injuries, you have the most car accidents and then you have the least amount of bicycle infrastructure,” Ewing said. “There’s a direct correlation, and again that lines up with our intention of focusing on the South End because we know that there is a huge need for safety improvements.”

Local groups like Bike Works, Smash the Box, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways have been reaching out to and meeting with SDOT officials to advocate for safe streets in South Seattle in light of historic racism and discrimination in governmental decision-making, Ewing said.

“There’s history. There is a tremendous history of divestment, of underinvestment in the South End and pretty much any city that has a Community of Color,” Ewing said. “Our goal is to really amplify and increase the awareness of those folks who are making those decisions. Here’s the cumulative effect of divestment in this area, here are the opportunities, and now that we know, let’s do something about it … But if there is reluctance and a desire to stay in the same place, then we have a problem. We have a problem.”

Please watch this video on how we can get Vision Zero back on track at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

Volunteer Opportunity: Tour de Fleurs Community Ride

Bike Works needs volunteers to help us run our alleycat race in celebration of spring, the second annual Tour de Fleurs coming up on Sunday, March 26th.

Sign up to volunteer here

Volunteer roles

Opening & setup (1-2 ppl)

  • Shift time: 12-2pm
  • Meet at the Bike Works Shop at the start of your shift (3709 S Ferdinand St)

Checkpoint hosts (10 ppl)

  • Shift time: 1-4 pm
    • Meet at the Bike Works Shop (3709 S Ferdinand St) at 1pm to get supplies and head to checkpoints
    • Remain at checkpoints from 2-4pm. Checkpoint locations will be shared on the day of the ride. 
  • Facilitate checkpoint activities and sign rider manifests + assist riders as needed. Most checkpoints will involve arts and crafts, but the details will remain a surprise until the day of!

Closing (2 ppl)

  • Shift time: 3:30-6pm
  • Meet at the Bike Works Shop at the start of your shift (3709 S Ferdinand St)
  • Role: help tally scores at the end of the ride and support as needed with clean up 

What to expect

Volunteers can expect to carry some light supplies and to bike up to 3 miles to reach their checkpoints (locations will be shared on the day of the ride). Please bring a backpack or a way to carry things on you/your bike. 

Volunteers will be at outdoor checkpoints for 2hrs+, and should dress appropriately for the weather.

  • Restrooms: at Bike Works at the beginning and end of the ride. You are welcome to stop into nearby businesses or use public restrooms as needed
  • Food: provided at Bike Works at the end of the ride ~4pm. Please bring your own snacks if you need them
  • Breaks: you are welcome to sit or rest while waiting for riders at your checkpoint station. Feel free to bring blankets, chairs, water, snacks, etc. anything you need to feel comfortable for your volunteer shift
  • Optional Dress Code: Floral Spring Awakening

For additional access needs, or questions about volunteering, contact Lena Kabeshita at

Learn more about the event at the registration page

What is an alleycat?

An alleycat is a bike race modeled after a day in the life of a bike messenger; the checkpoints will be kept secret until the day of, and the ride will take place on city streets amongst traffic. There is no set route, and it is up to the rider to navigate their own path from checkpoint to checkpoint.

We recognize that all sorts of people of varying abilities ride bicycles. The one thing we all have in common is that we find cycling fun. So we’ve planned the ride to celebrate and encourage fun with a wide array of jovial checkpoints and challenges based on non-bike related talent and luck. Prizes given for mini-game challenges, best dressed, fastest, slowest, etc. Food and drink will be provided.

Strategic Plan 2-Year Community Report-Out

On February 21, 2023, we hosted an online community report-out about the progress we have made towards our Strategic Plan goals over the last two years and a discussion about next steps.  

Our Strategic Plan focuses on four areas for development through a racial equity lens: internal culture, community engagement, job access, and the use of our physical space. In the first year of implementation, we focused mainly on our internal culture work to promote retention, expand organizational capacity, and ensure that our values are reflected within the structure of Bike Works. This work was conducted concurrently with our programs, in service of greater community impact.

During the last two years, we also progressed our goals to deepen community engagement, promote job access, and enhance our physical space as a community resource. Those focus areas were also covered in the report-out.

During the last two years, we also progressed our goals to deepen community engagement, promote job access, and enhance our physical space as a community resource. Those focus areas were also covered in the report-out.

You can watch a recording of that event below.

View the event slides


We explored two discussion questions during this event: what else would you like to see from Bike Works, and what can we learn from you? We wanted to hear about the racial equity and social justice initiatives that our community members have experienced or spearheaded in their own workplaces or community organizations.

Check out the notes from that discussion here

A recurring theme throughout the night was how do we navigate decision-making while also striving to be more equitable and non-hierarchical? This is an ongoing discussion at Bike Works. One of the ways we have begun to address this is by creating a “Criteria-Based Approach to Equitable Decision-Making” tool as a reference guide. This is a “living” document that is subject to change, but we wanted to share it with our community.

Check out Bike works’ equitable decision-making tool

Finally, we discussed the need for bicycle education materials in languages other than English to increase accessibility. We do have this Spanish-language resource and terminology guide. If you have additional resources, especially in any other languages, please send them our way!

Click to access our spanish resource & terminology guide 

You can view the complete Strategic Plan document here, and watch a recording of the initial roll-out of the Plan in March 2021 below.

Youth Cyclocross Recap

In late November, our courageous Bike Works youth showed up and participated in two Cyclocross races. This was a first for most of them and definitely a first for Bike Works. 

Our crew received quite the warm welcome from the Cross community. They all did an AMAZING job on the course and we even have a few students in the top ten of their category! Most of the youth that participated expressed the desire to do it again which is a win for us. For those that decided it wasn’t for them, we commended them for trying something new for the first time.

Big shout out to Monika, Tom, Tommy, for all their leadership and planning. Also props to R&R, Cascade Bicycle Club and volunteers for their help with getting the bikes ready for each race.

Our team is looking forward to next year’s Cross season and bringing more POC to the Cyclocross races in the future!

-Rich Brown, Program Manager

What’s New in Youth Programs

October, 2022

The Youth Programs Department has welcomed five new staff members this year, including one youth intern, providing an opportunity for an expansion of partnered programming and new and diverse perspectives on youth engagement and program offerings.

We offered several programs this summer, including Earn-A-Bike camps, BIPOC mountain biking camps and long-distance ride training. Additionally, a soft relaunch of community drop-ins (bike-building and maintenance volunteer hours) provided youth with opportunities to build on the skills they learned during camp. 

Two masked instructors standing before a group of students in a circle

Bike Works Program Coordinator Tommy Teav (standing left) and Program Manager Monika Sharma (standing left) introduce themselves to participants of our Earn-A-Bike mechanics & leadership program

This spring and summer we welcomed new partnerships and collaborations with Friends of Youth, Young Women Empowered (Y-WE), STEM Paths Innovation Network (SPIN), Sweetlines, and Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity. Examples include Black Girls/Non-Binary Bike Camp, a multimodal day camp centering Black joy, wellness, and bike mechanics and riding skills, and a week-long riding and mechanics camps with SPIN.

A group of Black women/non-binary cyclists pose for the camera at the light rail

Youth & adult mentors from our summer partnership program with Y-WE took a multi-modal trip by bike, light rail, and water taxi to Alki Beach!

As we enter fall, our department will refocus our attention on outreach, continuing to build capacity for youth engagement at multiple levels of decision making within Bike Works and beyond. During the school year our primary program offerings are off-site, currently at Rainier Beach High School, Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School, and, newly launched: cyclocross at various locations! We continue to prioritize health and safety as the pandemic continues by providing rapid testing for all on-site programming and masking indoors.

Two people inspect a bike wheel on a work table

Rainier Beach Principal & Bike Works board member Ivory Brooks (left) co-facilitates our school-based programming for 9th graders in the “Black Men’s Excellence” advisory period

We are also working collaboratively across our staff to ideate and improve our existing processes. You can find our drop-in schedule, online Bikes-For-All! application, and more on our website. For questions, you can reach our team via email at Please stay tuned for periodic updates!

Khatsini Simani (she/her), Program Director

Someone inspecting their bike with a bouquet of white flowers tied to the top tube

Khatsini Simani at our spring-themed alleycat, “Tour de Fleurs,” in April 2022

End of Summer South Seattle Community Ride!

We had a blast hosting an all-ages South Seattle community ride on Sunday, August 28th! We had families with tandems, trailers, and cargo bikes. Dozens of Bike Works volunteers, current and former staff, and supporters rolled through. We even had the good fortune to cross-over with Northstar Cycling at Chuck’s Hop Shop Seward Park for an end of ride celebration.

Chuck’s generously donated $1 per pint ($50 total) and matched all additional donations to support our program partners, Young Women Empowered (Y-We) and STEM Paths Innovation Networks (SPIN Girls). REI also sponsored the event by covering delicious food from Muriel’s. This was a true community event and we’re so grateful for the good vibes.

Check out some of the photos below – full album on Facebook. Photos by May Cheng, Elise Hirschi, and Nick Strother.

Check out the full album on facebook

A group of cyclists getting ready for a ride A group of cyclists getting ready for a ride A group of cyclists getting ready for a ride A group of cyclists getting ready for a ride

An adult and a youth riding bikes on a trail 3 people at a table

Three women in sunglasses smiling at a table with drinks Two people at a table with beers


Cycling with Love: Bike as Cultural Icon in China

Chengxin Xu, Seattle University

20 years ago, when cars were still considered luxury goods, almost everyone in Shanghai owned a bike, and most of them cycled everyday. That included working-age people cycling for work, elders cycling for grocery shopping, and kids cycling with their parents to school. Most kids did not have their own bikes until middle school, because for most families, bikes were still relatively expensive, and letting kids cycle on streets with other vehicles was not considered safe. Thus, kids cycling with their parents basically means kids sitting at the back or front of their parents’ bikes. I did this until I got my first bike at 14 years old. Every time when I was “cycling” with my father, I felt strongly bonded with him, physically and emotionally.

This is not only for me—cycling with parents is a shared memory of many people at my age (born in 80s). What we have in common is not only cycling but also the melancholia and yearning for our parents, who are growing old, and our childhood, which is fading away.

A Cantonese song by Eason Chan opened the gate to such feeling beautifully:

It’s hard to say goodbye. I want to hold you tight.
	We have such a long life, which seems like a wild land.
	If a kid could hold dad’s back, who wants to get off the bike?
	It’s hard to say goodbye. We always have such kind of feeling.
This is our life, and there is no way to deny.
	But no matter how cruel the world is,
	when I thought about the bike,
	I can still borrow the happiness from the good old days.

While I am crying over my childhood, parents were considered as the most significant barrier against every Asian kid’s freedom. Like other kids, I was so eager to have my own bike, so that I could go anywhere I wanted. Indeed, even with fantastic public transportation, a bike still greatly enhances people’s mobility in a city like Shanghai. Therefore, when I got a bike, I started to go wild. I felt I had finally been released. My own bike allowed me to go everywhere that I wanted but couldn’t previously—street foods and arcades. Interestingly, although I was released from my parents’ care on the bike, I unintentionally inherited the meaning of a bike—the bond between the rider and the passenger—and I transferred the bond with my parents to my girlfriends. And that is also an iconic image of love in China: while we can not afford a car, with a bike, we can still go everywhere. This was the greatest freedom in my mind.

(From the film by Chan Ho Sun: Comrades: Almost a Love Story. In the picture: Maggie Cheung Man-yuk and Leon Lai Ming)

To many Chinese at my age or older, bike is our only affordable substitute for a vehicle. Still, it drastically enhances our mobility in a city, especially in large cities such as Shanghai and Hong-Kong. With a bike, the city becomes smaller, and we can go anywhere we want with our families and loved ones, on which we build beautiful memories and unforgettable feelings. Nowadays, bike is no longer the first choice for transportation—in Shanghai, more than half of the total households own at least one car now. Recently, biking is becoming a mid-class lifestyle, which is quite similar to the fact in the U.S. However, the low-income population still relies on bikes heavily because of its convenience, efficiency, and affordability. I wish we can keep affordable bikes in the market, because that is not only an option of commuting, but also two cycles carrying family, freedom, and love for everyone to everywhere.

May’s Bicycle Story

in Honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

This reflection is from a community member, May. May originally rode her bike in Southeast China (Canton Province), and now rides with her family in Seattle. The month of May also happens to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! We hope you enjoy this story and the photos in honor of May’s family and heritage, and for all of our Asian & Pacific Islander friends, family, and neighbors. All photos courtesy of May.

Biking is so much fun to me. I always feel as free as the wind when I am riding a bike. I can also enjoy viewing the different sceneries along my ride. Biking is an effective way for me to relieve stress from work after sitting for hours in front of a computer. It is also such a good exercise that could keep me healthy and fit.

I hadn’t been biking for many years after I moved to Seattle back in 2003 since I did not know much about biking here. The roads and safety seemed to be a big challenge to me, and I felt a little bit scared. Most importantly, I did not find a group of people who could share the same interest in biking. With the addition of three young kids, my life has become so busy that I could hardly find the time or energy for my own hobbies or interests. In recent years, I have come to know more about Bike Works through their programs and activities they have been offering or hosting.

A young girl on a pink bike with a mask on

All my three kids, two teens and a 10-year-old girl, have received a free bike each from Bike Works when they were in preschool at the REWA childcare center. They were so excited after they got their own bikes and would like to keep biking and biking without a stop in our neighborhood park. My two teenage boys used to love biking so much and they would bike every day when they were younger, but they do not bike much in recent years since they have been engaged with other fun activities. I feel that they are a little more reluctant to bike with mom nowadays since they are two teenagers trying their best to be themselves now. Bike Works had the mobile repair van located in our New Holly neighborhood last year and the helpful mechanic had kindly helped my boys fix the problems of their bikes. We are so grateful to Bike Works for its being available in our neighborhood!

A silhouette of a young person on a bike by the water with the sun shining behind her A young person on a bike at the Seattle waterfront on a partly sunny day

Compared to my kids, I was not so lucky as they are in regard to having the kid’s bike available for me to use when I was in elementary school. I learned how to bike together with my big brother on my own (basically self-taught) when I was about in 5th grade. Back then we did not have any kid’s bike to use, and we had to borrow my dad’s adult bike which was my family’s only bike. My legs were way too short, and I had to make full use of the triangle that the bike had. When I was in middle school, our family finally had a second bike that was available for me and brother to use. As I grew older, I rode the bike to help carry clean water home for cooking, to commute to the fields (plot assigned to each family in the rural area to grow rice and vegetables) to help my parents grow and harvest vegetables, and to buy groceries from the market. It was not until I graduated from university and started working that I finally had my own bike. Just like my kids, I biked almost every day after work since I had my own bike. It helped a lot in relieving the stress from work. The most memorable bike ride is the one I had together with my colleague when we traveled to Yunnan Province in Southwest China. We each rented a bike and rode the bike to see the amazing field of rapeseed flowers and a historical town.

As my kids are growing bigger, it is time to pick up my biking journey again after pressing the pause button for so many years and create new biking chapters. Currently, I do not have my own bike and have been using one of my son’s bikes even though it is a little bit too small for me.  I biked in Seward Park together with my daughter and younger son often when the weather was fine last year. My daughter and I once took the link light rail to UW Station and then biked all the way back to Seward Park. Unfortunately, the small bike I have been using got stolen recently when I was standing on top of a small hill waiting for my daughter’s school bus to arrive while the bike was parked at the foot of the hill. I definitely need to get another bike as soon as possible in order to get myself back to the track of cycling again. I would like to get more involved with Bike Works in the future because the organization has such an amazing group of people ready and willing to help people who has interest or needs in biking.

Two people high-fiving from their bike saddles

May’s daughter (left) and Bike Works Recycle & Reuse Operations Manager Allie (right) high-fiving after a community ride in November 2021 in honor of Marshall “Major” Taylor.

Tour de Fleurs: Our First Alleycat!

On Sunday, April 3rd, Bike Works hosted our first-ever alleycat-style bike ride, the “Tour de Fleurs” in celebration of spring!
All photos by Kae-Lin Wang


A woman kneels by her bike which has a bouquet of white flowers tied to the top tube Three cyclists with helmets and flowered garlands around their necks

An alleycat is a bike race modeled after a day in the life of a bike messenger; the route is kept secret until the day of, and take place on city streets amongst traffic. There is no set route, and it is up to the rider to navigate their own path from checkpoint to checkpoint. In addition to the urban asphalt, the “Tour de Fleurs” featured numerous dirt/gravel options to increase stoke and help riders connect to the great provider of flowers and life, Mother Earth.

Video edit by Sean Flood

Two people using a mic to speak enthusiastically, presumably to a crowd gathered outside Two cyclists in orange and one in black smile for the camera

We recognize that all sorts of people of varying abilities ride bicycles. The one thing we all have in common is that we find cycling fun. So we planned the ride to celebrate and encourage fun with a wide array of jovial checkpoints and challenges based on non-bike related talent and luck. About 100 riders participated and together we raised over $1,300 to support Nurturing Roots, a Black woman owned farming community program in Beacon Hill. Nurturing Roots came through with their vegan mac ‘n cheese and bike-powered smoothies! Food was also provided from our supporters at Ezell’s Famous Chicken and Pagliacci Pizza and REI brought a DIY sunglasses station!

A woman sitting at a table full of brochures and stickers Two people smile at the camera enjoying fried chicken from Ezell's

Inside every [person]
Lives the seed of a flower
If [they] look within [they] find beauty and power
Ring all the bells, sing and tell the people everywhere that the flower has come
Light up the sky with your prayers of gladness and rejoice for the darkness is gone
Throw off your fears let your heart beat freely at the sign that a new time is born

-Minnie Ripperton, Les Fleurs

A group of cyclists A group of cyclists with their hands in a circle

Two cyclists with pipe cleaners sticking out of their helmets A young person on a bike gets their nails painted for an alleycat challenge

Someone holds up a Bike Works jersey A small dog in a bike basket

Two people smile for the camera A cyclist smiles with one hand in a paper box and the other holding up a piece of paper

Promoting Race & Gender Equity in Cycling

On Thursday, March 24th, 2022, Bike Works Executive Director Ed Ewing facilitated a panel of activists and cyclists to discuss different approaches to promoting race & gender equity in cycling and beyond. Panelists Edwin Lindo (Northstar Cycling Club & Estelita’s Library), Roxanne Robles (Friends on Bikes, Feels on Wheels, The Bikery, and Outdoors for All), Lee Lambert (Cascade Bicycle Club), and Ella Dorband (Breakfast Racing Team) shared their experiences as organizers and advocates, and how they work to make different types of cycling more inclusive including racing, touring, bikepacking, adventure riding, and community riding. Check out the recording of the event below.

Meet the Speakers

Ed Ewing: Ed has 31+ years of marketing, project development, strategic planning, and nonprofit leadership experience. He co-founded the Major Taylor Project, a youth cycling initiative focused on creating opportunities for Black and Brown youth in diverse and underserved communities. Ed has cycled competitively since 1983, and still actively races today. He is also a founding member of the Rainier Riders, a cycling club led by Black and Brown riders.

Roxanne Robles: Roxy is a cyclist, urban planner, sewist, and Filipinx food enthusiast living on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish (Seattle, Washington). She started bike touring in 2017 after realizing that bike touring was not that different than hauling 30 pounds of groceries up and down Seattle hills. She organizes with Friends on Bikes, and volunteers with The Bikery & Outdoors for All. Roxy is passionate about supporting new cyclists and spreading her love of bikes and bike touring, and she uses her Capricorn powers for good by planning summer bike trips months in advance. She thinks tarot cards are an essential item on any packing list, and loves to talk about feelings. Her book, An Introduction to Bike Touring will help you get started on your cycling journey!

Ella Dorband – Ella Dorband is, along with founder Mackenna Lees, co-captain of Breakfast RacingA headshot of Ella Dorband, wearing a pink and red racing jersey with the words "Breakfast" on the front Team, a multi-discipline team of 49 WTFNB racers in the Seattle-ish area. She currently races cyclocross, cross country mountain bike, and track. Previously, she was a Lead and then Board Member at The Bikery. In 2023 she and her partner hope to direct their first race, but basically everything about this is TBD. Outside of the bike world, she is a technical project manager and art enthusiast.

Edwin Lindo: Edwin has embarked on the journey to ask and explore the hard questions of Race & Racism within the institutions of Medicine and Law. As faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Edwin has developed curriculum and teaches on Critical Race Theory and Medicine; and is also the Assistant Dean for Social and Health Justice within the Office of Healthcare. His research and scholarship has focused on the history of racialized medicine, race & racism within medicine, social justice and social movements, and decolonized pedagogies for critical education.

Estell (his partner and wife) and Edwin founded and curated Estelita’s Library, a Social Justice Community Library & Bookstore dedicated to the goal of bringing truth and justice to communities through decentralized knowledge and decolonized spaces. Their books cover topics of justice, liberation, identity, race & racism, economic and political theory, and anything else that guides us in understanding our world through a critical lens. You can find them at Estelita’s Library is named after their 4 year old, Estella.

Edwin is also the co-founder of North Star Cycling, the largest BIPOC cycling club on the West Coast — our goal is to bring melanated people and a conscious of justice to cycling. We have built community through Sunday Service rides and Wednesday night rides. Our model is special in that we are hear to provide unconditional embrace of minoritized folks, no matter where they are: never riding a bike to racing in Cat 1 crits. For those that are new, we have a fleet of bikes that folks can borrow for the rides and a clubhouse to encourage community building. In just over 2 years, we have engaged with over 300 folks in rides, community events, and friendships. We’re excited for what the future holds.

Lee Lambert: Lee Lambert is seven months into service as the Executive Director of the Cascade Bicycle Club/Washington Bikes. He joined Cascade after working 15 years in the nonprofit sector advocating for equity in Washington state’s education system. Born and raised in Tacoma, throughout his life, he used a bike for basic transportation, recreation and fitness. Lee sees his role at Cascade as a perfect partnership between his avocation and vocation. He is passionate about making biking accessible for all and a viable alternative to driving a car by ensuring that we have a simple, safe and connected system of bike infrastructure in Washington State. Lee and his wife have two children and enjoy many outdoor activities in their free time.  He is also a proud alumni of WSU and Seattle University.