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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
General signage inside & outside
Silent Auction table display
Dessert Dash table display
Stage backdrop display
Table Centerpieces (48 total)
Interested in leading the decoration efforts at Bikecitement! 2020: The Magic of the Bicycle on March 22, 2020? Email firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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 everyday.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.
“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.