At Bike Works, we believe that bicycles help build resilient communities. But we also understand that bicycles work best in tandem with culturally relevant services, arts, family support, anti-racism, environmental stewardship, housing advocacy, food security, and gender justice. We also believe that when organizations are led by the folks directly affected by the issues they address, and have internal leadership development to empower their young people, communities can really thrive and begin to breakdown systems of oppression.
Below is a list of non-profit organizations that Bike Works staff are supporting. Some are specifically addressing COVID-19 relief. Many serve and are led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. All are providing vital services for connection, expression, and relief during these difficult times.
Real Rent calls on people who live and work in Seattle to make rent payments to the Duwamish Tribe. Though the city named for the Duwamish leader Chief Seattle thrives, the Tribe has yet to be justly compensated for their land, resources, and livelihood.
GotGreen builds community power by waging visionary campaigns at the intersection of racial, economic, gender and climate justice that incite community participation (via robust base-building), provides a pipeline of leadership development for directly impacted communities, and engages in direct action.
El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races) aims to unify all racial and economic sectors; to organize, empower, and defend the basic human rights of our most vulnerable and marginalized populations; and to bring critical consciousness, justice, dignity, and equity to all the peoples of the world.
Jenny Gerow tells us why she decided to fundraise for Bike Works with her summer bikepacking adventures.
Tell us about yourself
I used to be a cross-country runner, but I got bored of that so I started training for tri-atholons. When I moved to Austin I was racing triathlons and had a coach and was on my way to going pro. Then I moved back to Colorado and began mountain bike racing, I found it gave me more of an adventure. It gave me a similar sense of accomplishment and adventure as mountaineering and climbing did when I was in college. Mountain bike racing combined my love for technical skills and the need to endure the pain cave.
The need for cycling opportunities for women
In Fort Collins, I started a women’s racing team because there were so few racing opportunities for women. We called ourselves the Sugar Beets.
I was in a relationship with a road racer and I’d hear about all the sponsorship his team had – free kits, a van – and they weren’t even pros! It felt constantly in my face – my group of women riders were just as fast but we weren’t getting anything like that. Women would have to pay into a team in order to race. I saw the need and made it happen, recruiting the fastest women cyclists I knew to form a team. I’m obsessed with healthy foods so when I learnt that Ft Collins was built on sugar beet farms, I knew I had the name.
Tell us about your summer bikepacking adventure plans
In September 2019, I sold my car, bought a Trek Checkpoint, and moved to Seattle to pursue a career in firefighting. I ended up pivoting to trauma therapy for first responders. I’m interested in somatic therapy – getting people in their bodies through cycling, gardening, hiking, and being outdoors.
When COVID happened all the races were canceled (my last race was in Port Angeles on March 3rd) and then the world shut down. So I decided to pursue bikepacking.
My first trip was a Whidbey Island coastal cruise. Next, I plan to tour the Olympic Discovery Route in July. In August, I would love to ride around the San Juans, or ride to Portland to do some off-road routes. Or try the Mt. Saint Helen’s bikepacking route. I’m actually looking for company on these adventures from people who ideally have experience bike packing on dirt, and people with positive vibes and smooth pedal strokes 🙂 *
I’m partnering with Topo Designs, based in Ft Collins –a cool, hip company that has all sorts of bikepacking gear. They’re sponsoring my summer adventures and helping me spread awareness for my goal to get more kids on bikes.
Bikepacking is new to me and is so empowering to have everything I need on my bike. I want to share that with the next generation.
Cycling as Therapy
This is all theoretical as I’m just starting my Masters program in therapy. But I remember when I used to road bike with a lot of men. Tough guys would share things about their marriages and lives and would open up in ways that they wouldn’t have if we were, say, having coffee or at a party. I found myself in therapeutic dialogue. My team members would open up, share stories, and find commonalities in our struggles. You can be fierce while also being in touch with your emotions in order to be an integrated, whole person.
I think of cycling as a metaphor for life – when I reflect on learning how to ride over big rocks, or stretching my endurance on a long ride, I know I can do other difficult things. Cycling builds confidence and resilience.
How did you hear about Bike Works?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Black Lives Matter, and my heart ached to take action to support youth. So I researched community bike programs that help kids of color in Seattle. I read all about Bike Works’ Earn-a-Bike program and knew I wanted to support Bike Works.
I’m very passionate about providing youth the opportunity to own their first bike because I think about what my life would be like if I didn’t have cycling. The bike has been the most empowering thing in my life. It’s been a tool to get me out of things that were holding me back – mountain biking and cycling in general have been hugely therapeutic and empowering. The time I’ve spent on the bike, the cycling community aspect, riding over big rocks, all have formed the person I am today. I am asking my friends & family to help me raise $1,000 for Bike Works to provide bikes for youth for their Bikes-for-All! Program!
This event has a rich history of strengthening neighborhood support for education, providing services to families in need and generating involvement in neighborhood projects that improve quality of life.
Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC)
Bike Works is supporting the Rainier Beach Back2School Bash through the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) and Rainier Beach Moving Forward (RBMF) in partnership with residents and dozens of organizations from the neighborhood by hosting a backpack & school supplies drive!
The goal of this drive is to provide students and families with backpacks, school supplies and information about neighborhood and educational resources, food, clothing and entertainment. We invite you to join with residents, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, and local businesses to make the Rainier Beach Back2School Bash a success.
At Bike Works, we are saddened and outraged by the recent murders that have ignited the justified outpouring of anger and grief across the country and the world. Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Manuel Ellis, George Floyd, David McAttee, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Breonna Taylor are just the most recent people to be murdered, along with too many others.
Through the grief comes hope as we see so many organizations and people exposing the pandemic of racism that plagues every aspect of our society. Real, systemic, institutional change must happen. The moment has come for everyone to join the longtime organizers who have been doing decades and centuries of hard work to make liberty and justice for all a reality.
“Systemic and cultural racism harms all families and it will take a multi-racial movement to end racism. Black families, our work is not only to dismantle the oppressive system but to use our organizing as a tool to heal from internalized oppression and help our people get a sense of their own power outside of the system. Non-black people of color, we can now see more clearly that the anti-black racism that this country was built on has used and abused your communities as well, especially in the wake of the targeted racial harassment of people of Asian American descent and the scapegoating of an entire people as the cause of COVID 19. Your organizing must address anti-blackness if you are going to ever truly be free of oppression. White folks, your work is in your communities. Learn your history, how you became white and the history of resistance of white folks working to undo racism. Organize and build a humanistic approach that takes responsibility for all white people- even your republican, conservative, liberal or overtly racist family members. When you deeply understand how the concept of whiteness has dehumanized you and harms your communities it can fuel you to work even harder to Undo racism.”
We invite you, our community, to hold Bike Works accountable to our anti-racist aspirations today and in the years to come. You can find our Racial Equity Action Plan for 2017 – 2020 on the “About” page of our website. We will share our new plan for 2021 – 2025 later this year and invite you to engage in dialogue and action with us to fight for the health, safety, prosperity, and happiness of our Black and brown family, neighbors, and friends.
Since we had to cancel our spring classes and riding clubs in response to COVID-19, our Programs Team have been working behind the scenes to get services to our community back online.
Free Bike Repair
Our BikeMobile is now out and about, offering free bike repair services at select sites around the city. We have social distancing & sanitation procedures in place – feel free to track us down for air, chain lube, other minor adjustments, or even to say hi (from a safe distance!)
Check the BikeMobile calendar for the regular Tuesday – Saturday schedule, and follow the #BikeMobile hashtag on instagram to track its movements around the city.
We’re also hustling to get free bikes into the hands of those who need them most – whether you’re an essential worker in need of free, reliable transportation, need a bike for a youth to enjoy some solo fresh air time, or representing an organization that serves families in need of bikes, we’re hooking up as many youth & families with free bikes as possible.
Check out the videos up on our YouTube channel, filmed & edited by Bike Works Senior Program Coordinator, Ricky, and Youth Advisory Committee President, Sam! Learn how to fix-a-flat, and sew your own face masks from home. More videos to come, stay tuned!
Check out the rest of our bike education videos on YouTube!
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?
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 store front is currently closed to the public.
Please read through the following before coming by.
Our bike shop is open for repairs by appointment.Please call the shop to secure an appointment. Leave a message for a call back if we don’t answer. Please 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.
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 pick up your purchase 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. Check our size chart to help find a bike that will fit you.
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!
We are still accepting bike donations. Please bring your donations by the warehouse between 11 AM – 5 PM on Mondays, or to one of our partner transfer stations. Don’t forget to fill out the bicycle donation form!
On March 23rd, 2020, 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.
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!