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

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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 EstelitasLibrary.com. 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.

Black History Month: Reflections from the Saddle

Aaron Yoon, Bike Works Stewardship Manager, February 2022

In the mid 90s I worked on a school tile art project as a young student at North City Elementary school in Shoreline. My creation at the time featured two hands shaking. One black, one white. I’m not sure if I should get any creativity points, but more importantly, this project was inspired by Edwin Pratt, one of Seattle’s prominent civil rights leaders in the 60s who moved with his family to a near all-white Shoreline in 1959. 

Living in Cap Hill and the CD most of my life, I’ve seen the parks and dedications for Edwin Pratt. Although he has been in my mind here and there, I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally followed up with the leader and his legacy since that simple tile art I worked on.

This Black History Month, I wanted to reflect on Edwin’s work with a Sunday afternoon bicycle journey from my apartment in Columbia City back to the Central District, where Pratt was on the frontlines in the fight against redlining and housing discrimination in Seattle

First stop – Pratt Park (20th & Yesler)

A grassy field and tree at Pratt Park, with a bike leaning up against a picnic table.

As Edwin Pratt was a champion in the fight for fair housing practices, I’m reminded that although practices such as redlining and the disgusting racial restrictive covenants in so many King County neighborhoods may have ended, it’s hard not to see the connection and impact so visible today as I ride. 

The sun was out and I was in a reflective mode, so I thought I’d listen to some of my favorite local hip-hop on the way. As I ride up through Judkins Park and roll past the Franz bakery outlet, Draze’s “The Hood Ain’t the Same” (2014) is playing and I’m feeling it.

Draze raps:

“The blocks went naked and the gentrification came,

Garfield, Franklin, rivalries ain’t even the same,

Mark my words, it’s gonna be white boys all on the team,

I don’t reminisce when I drive through this hood I feel pain,

I ain’t proud of these new developments I feel shame…

I guess Kent is the new South End, and the South End is the CD, 

and CD is just a thing of the past…

Used to own our homes, now we’re all renters,

Got folks moving south like birds for the winter,

They asked momma to sell our home she said ‘no’,

But then we had to shake when the property taxes rose”

Next up – Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (14th & Yesler)

I’m enjoying the views dropping down west on Yesler as the Olympics are out and the iconic Smith Tower is straight ahead. As I pass by the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute I realize that I have yet to attend any event in the space. I’m definitely checking the schedule now and I’ll be back.

At the bottom of the hill at the corner 14th & Yesler I roll up at the Urban League’s headquarters located at the historic St. George building built in 1910. Edwin Pratt served as the Executive Director of the Urban League during the 1960’s and housing justice continues to be a core value in their mission today. The Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS) has a vision for equity for all and working towards self-sufficiency in all aspects of life. The five areas of focus are advocacy & civic engagement, education, housing, public health, and workforce development.

As the Central District and housing are on my mind, ULMS promotes housing justice through Eviction Prevention, Homeownership services, Financial Empowerment classes, Homeless outreach, and the Urban League Village. I particularly enjoyed looking up the ULMS schedule and seeing such a rich variety of intriguing events such as a youth mental health workshop, job readiness training and BIPOC job fairs, and especially the Future Voters Talent Show. It’s cool to see the Homebuyer Education Classes & Credit Counseling Workshops being offered every month as it encourages me to take some classes too.

It’s rare to find organizations with such a deep and authentic history in Seattle. Thank you Urban League for your work.

Last Stop – 23rd & Union

I swing up 14th and I ride past the King County Youth Detention Center where 50% of the youth are Black, 25% Latinx, and 20% White. I’m like, “We spent a quarter billion dollars on this… damn.” I ride on.

I reach Union, take a right, and get some work in climbing up and over down to 23rd, perhaps the original Ground Zero of gentrification in Seattle. I play only one track on the way there.

Again, Draze speaks to me, this time through Irony On 23rd (2016):

“The greed, the lust, insatiable appetite,

The conscience ear, but the inability to sacrifice…

Are we so gone we can’t practice a little discretion?

There’s nothing to think about, this is not okay,

What the hell are these politicians thinking anyway,

We pay taxes too, 23rd’s all tore up,

Then our businesses fail, I guess the hood is for sale,

The enemy is faceless, and it’s the system that rapes us,

Empty bike lanes, guess the hood needed a facelift…

We was redlining, but now we blackballed out,

So they can sell green, had to paint the flag on the crosswalk for ourself…

How many brothers went to jail on this corner for moving dime bags?

In a week he doing what, a couple hundred grand?…

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?”

Discrimination then forced Blacks in, discrimination now forces Blacks out. The enemy may be faceless, but the victims, the stories, and the pain is real.

On my back to the South End I roll past Jimi Hendrix Park and the Northwest African American Museum. I see Black, Brown, and Asian youth playing touch football and I’m feeling more inspired. It’s time for a strong ride back and to turn up my tunes a notch.

For my final tracks, I put on my favorite local hip-hop album, “From Slaveships to Spaceships”, released on Juneteenth 2009 by South Seattle MC, Khingz. I bop my head to the beat and listen to the personal stories of perseverance I hear on Prodigal & the title track, From Slaveships to Spaceships. I’m feeling it and I’ll be ready to put in the work on Monday.

Thank you, Edwin Pratt, for your work, your legacy, and providing the inspiration to ride and reflect. 

The Pratt Family: Bettye, Miriam, and Edwin
(Photo courtesy of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State)

Paracyling & Perseverance with Edie Perkins

Edie Perkins was struck by a car and paralyzed from the chest down in 2017. Today, she is still an avid bike racer, member of a national women’s paracycling team, and Executive Director of the Kelly Brush Foundation, who provide support & opportunities to athletes and folks with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. In an evening of storytelling, Edie shared her vulnerability and positivity as she described her experiences with adaptive cycling and disability. Also featured is Ed Brondson, Executive Director of Outdoors for All, a Seattle-based organization providing recreation opportunities for people with disabilities including one of the largest adaptive cycling fleets in the country.

Do you, or someone you know, have a unique cycling story to share? Please get in touch with Elise to discuss presenting at a Bike Works “Bicycle Stories” event.

COVID-19 Update (March 2022)

The last year and a half (and counting) has been a difficult time for everybody. Essential workers, small business owners, working parents, and members of marginalized communities have been disproportionately impacted by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have adapted our policies and operations numerous times to remain aligned with King County Public Health recommendations while continuing to provide services to our customers and program participants. 

Below is an update about our operations as of February 2022. Please also check our web calendar regularly to find variations in scheduling as well as occasional outdoor and virtual engagement opportunities.

  • Our full-service Bike Shop in Columbia City is open to customers. No appointments required and test rides are now available. Shopping is available 24/7 on our web store. The shop is open 6 days a week, closed Wednesdays.
  • The warehouse is open to customers from 1 – 4 PM on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. Max 8 shoppers at a time, purchase limits, first come first serve. Potential time limits depending on the line.
  • Please drop off bike donations at the warehouse weekdays from 11 AM – 5 PM. Contact us if you are unable to come during this time. Rapha Seattle is also hosting an ongoing bike drive on our behalf – donate your bike/parts/accessories at their Capitol Hill clubhouse and enjoy 10% off your purchase plus a free coffee!
  • Open shop is back 2nd & 4th Saturdays from 1 – 5 PM. Work on your own bike in a supportive community space with the support of a professional mechanic. Pay what you can + parts, suggested cost of $10-20 per hour depending on the level of staff assistance required.

Masks required for all activities.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility. If you are able to make a financial contribution, your support enables us to continue to provide a source of transportation, recreation, and inspiration to all!

Power bike works with a gift

Getting Involved Through Biking

Isaac Dyor, Tyler Callaghan, & Ashton Breer are sophomores & juniors at Interlake High School, and Alex Wright is a junior at O’Dea High School. They are friends from the same recreational soccer club who recently decided to work together on a service project, both to meet their school requirements, and to give back to their community. 

So far they have collected over a dozen bike donations from their friends & neighbors, and delivered them to the Bike Works warehouse for use in our shop, programs, & giveaways. Below is an interview with Isaac and Bike Works Development & Communications Manager, Elise, about this wonderful project to get bikes back on the road and into the hands of those who need them most!

Q: How did you hear about Bike Works?

A: I wanted to get involved through biking. I found Bike Works’ website through online research. I saw that you take bike donations, and I thought, well, a lot of people have extra bikes laying around. Instead of sitting in a garage, maybe they could be donations.

The two most important aspects of bikes are freedom and fun.

Isaac Dyor

Q: How did you come up with the idea of collecting & repairing bike donations for your community service project?

A: We wanted to provide as much value as possible for our community service project, not just checking off the requirement. Since I had knowledge of bike repair, I saw that as an opportunity to use my skill set to provide more value. I figured we’d get more bikes if we went and collected them too. We started with our neighborhoods, and are now expanding to the families in our soccer club.

Q: Where did you learn about bike repair?

A: I started mountain biking last summer and slowly learned more tricks over time by reading online articles and watching YouTube videos. But I am still a beginner. So this is also an opportunity for me to keep learning. I’ve learned that anybody can start repairing bikes with a little time and a little effort.

Q: What does riding bikes mean to you?

A: For me, the two most important aspects of bikes are freedom and fun. As a kid, you can’t drive, so bikes give you the freedom to go to a friends’ house or to the park by yourself. I believe that is important for growth and maturity of kids. For me, it was always more fun to ride a bike with friends than get a ride from my parents. I also think bikes are fun, they give people the ability to bond over something and get exercise.

It only takes a little bit of work to make others really happy.

Isaac Dyor

Q: Why is community service important?

A: Community service is a way to give back and learn lifelong skills. And it only takes a little bit of work to make others really happy. We’ve donated twelve bikes so far, which I hope means we’ve made twelve people happy. I’m hoping we can keep collecting more bikes to make more people happy. 


Bike Works processes between 6,000 – 8,000 bike donations every single year! We accept any and all donations of bikes, parts, and accessories for use in our youth & adult programs, bike giveaways, and for sale in our social enterprise bike shop. Bike donors are vital to our organization. Thank you to everyone who donates bikes to Bike Works, and to volunteers like Isaac, Tyler, Ashton, & Alex for helping get the word out and harnessing the power of their communities!

Kae-lin Wang on Building AAPI Community through Cycling

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Bike Works would like to share a reflection written by Kai-Lin Wang, a comedian, baker, photographer, and a sponsored rider for All City Cycles. Last March, in response to the escalating attacks on Asians around the country, Wang organized an impromptu ride as a place for healing and solidarity for those who identify as Asian. Over 40 strangers and friends came out on short notice in support. We are excited to share Wang’s story, and to invite any Asian Pacific American identifying riders to join another ride on Saturday, May 22nd for a chance to sprout a new community. Thank you Wang for your vulnerability and inspiration.

I was born to my Taiwanese parents in Massachusetts and later my mother became widowed when I was 8 years old. She then moved my older sister and me down to Texas where we spent our adolescent years growing up subconsciously assimilating to white culture.

The Atlanta shootings on March 16, 2021 uncovered a history of anti-Asian sentiments, xenophobia, misogyny, and fetishization of Asian women in this country that shook the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community into fear, pain, anger and deeply rooted trauma. To me personally, it completely flipped my world upside down in a way that I would have never expected. It resurfaced so much racism and family trauma in my childhood that I had suppressed my entire life trying to fit in and fly under the radar in order to keep quiet and not disturb the peace. Basically, I was reevaluating my entire racial identity that I had been so ashamed about for 30+ years. To say that the following week was hard to process is truly an understatement.

Basically, I was reevaluating my entire racial identity that I had been so ashamed about for 30+ years.

I had also come to the realization I had diminished myself as an Asian American so much that I had little to no close AAPI friends in my own community. Most of all of my friends are white, and I now find it deeply unsettling. I had met up with another Asian friend that week that was super impactful in processing the trauma, and it was incredibly healing to be with another person that looked like me and had similar racial experiences growing up. Timing was crucial for me as I am an external processor.

From there, I thought I would try to put together a bike ride as quickly as possible for the AAPI community because I knew that’s what I needed and wanted. Initially, I was inspired by Ron Holden, who is another fellow sponsored All-City rider, that started Ride for Black Lives in LA. Hearing him speak about his passion for the community was infectious, and I had always wanted to organize a ride but have felt I was not credible nor equipped enough with the experience. But this time, I felt like it was so important to me that I knew it had to happen, and it didn’t matter that I didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted to create a safe space for healing for the AAPI community where they could come together on bikes, be able to meet others where they were, and build a genuine connection. I knew I couldn’t have been the only one feeling so alone that I wanted to be surrounded by my people during this time.

I wanted to create a safe space for healing for the AAPI community where they could come together on bikes, be able to meet others where they were, and build a genuine connection.

That evening, I had never experienced so much pride in my own race and identity. We had felt seen, supported, cared for and so loved by our own community. This was only the beginning of our healing and the spark of something more to come.

Statement of Solidarity With Asians & Asian Americans

At Bike Works, we unequivocally condemn racism and white supremacy, in all their interpersonal and institutional forms. We are disturbed by the surge in violence directed at Asians and people of Asian descent. Anti-Asian racism is not new in this country. From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, to Japanese internment camps during World War II, to the deadly hate crimes perpetrated in Atlanta against Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Yong Ae Yue, Suncha Kim, Daoyou Feng, Xiaojie Tan, Delaina Ashley Yaun and Paul Andre Michels, Asian communities have endured racism, sexism, and violence in the United States as long as they’ve been in the country. There has been a tragic increase in this type of hatred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on racist and xenophobic lies about the spread of the virus.

The need to join community leaders and organizers to support Asian American communities and combat anti-Asian hate is urgent. Some of the organizations that do this work in Seattle are Kandelia (formerly the Vietnamese Friendship Association), API Chaya, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, and many others. Launch suggests this list of Asian and Pacific Islander organizations and businesses to support, as well as other resources in their statement of solidarity. We encourage support of these efforts through financial gifts, volunteerism, and event and rally support.

Seattle Times social justice columnist & assistant managing editor, Naomi Ishisaka, wrote that “Asian Americans may be too-often invisible, but we are a crucial part of the American story. Our history and experiences should be valued and taught. Anything less contributes to the dehumanization and perpetual foreigner status that leads to the kind of tragedy we saw last week in Georgia.” To learn more about Asian-American history, in Seattle and elsewhere, check out this this valuable reading list.

At Bike Works, we believe the bicycle can be a tool for equity and freedom. But this cannot be achieved unless communities impacted by racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and any other form of institutional oppression are centered and uplifted for our collective liberation. We all have work to do to make this liberation a reality. We ask that all members of our community hold us accountable to these goals by becoming involved, asking tough questions, and connecting us with other leaders doing this work for opportunities to partner and collaborate. Systemic racism doesn’t hurt us all equally, but it does hurt us all.

Fat Bikers: Building a Size-Inclusive Cycling Community

Marley Blonskey & Kailey Kornhauser work to make cycling more accessible for people of all body sizes, especially larger bodies

Marley Blonsky and Kailey Kornhauser are self-proclaimed Fat Bikers and subjects of the upcoming Shimano film “All Bodies on Bikes,” about their relationships to their bodies on bikes during a bikepacking trip to Oregon.

Check out their recent presentation to the Bike Works community about ways to make the cycling industry, culture, and community more accessible to people in larger bodies, including gear suggestions, leading & structuring group rides and cycling events, and using respectful and inclusive language.

You can find some of the resources discussed in this event on Marley’s website here, by contacting Marley and Kailey by email, or by following them on Instagram @marleyblonsky and @kornhausersauce.

Bicycle Transformation

A Bike Works customer, Chris, recently purchased this vintage steel Barracuda mountain bike frame from our ebay shop:

Then he sanded it down, with the welds “bondo’d” to make them easier to sand/paint. It took 11 hours!

Then just a few coats of paint…

And a coat of glitter…

And it’s done! The colors were chosen by Chris’ granddaughter, Molly, who is now the proud owner of this gorgeous ride. The bike is setup as a 1×10 hybrid with a low gear range suitable for Seattle’s hills and big enough tires for light duty trail riding, but not full mountain biking.

A bike with dark blue handlebars and grips, a light blue and black frame, and blue pedals.
AFTER: Hard to see the glitter coat, but rest assured, this bike is sparkly and road-ready!

Interested in your own bicycle transformation project? Check out our twice monthly “as-is” bike sales every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month for inspiration!