Category Archives: Our Community

Who we’re supporting

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.

Check them out!

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.

Pride Foundation is the only LGBTQ+ community foundation serving the Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Project Feast transforms the lives of refugees and immigrants by providing pathways to sustainable employment in the food industry, and to enriches communities through intercultural exchange.

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: Pedaling with a Purpose

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!


*Get in touch if you’re interested in joining Jenny on her bikepacking adventures!

Bikes Are The BEST

An essay from Earn-A-Bike participant, Elliot, Age 9

Bikes Are The BEST

Bikes are the best!!! You might think cars are faster, you’re right! But that doesn’t mean they’re better. (In my opinion).

So first of all, a reason is that riding on streets doesn’t matter. There’s NO waiting. No such thing as traffic. So that’s one way Bikes Are The Best!

Secondly,

There’s nothing to pay for. It’s FREE! No stopping to buy gas, and you won’t have to get towed.This is another way that Bikes Are The Best!

Don’t be lazy. Wanna drive a car? Fine. But you know, you won’t get any stronger. Everyone needs to be physically Fit.

So here’s my opinion on Bikes. First of all, Bikes are the Best because, There’s NO stopping and waiting for anything.

Secondly, there’s nothing to pay for.

OH And Lastly, everyone needs to be physical in some way, And bikes pretty much do that best.

   Bikes are the Best!!!

Elliot Pilder – Age 9

Meeting Community Need

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.

If you receive bike repair from the BikeMobile and would like to support our ability to keep providing this free essential service to the community, consider making a charitable donation online.

The BikeMobile stationed at East Portal Viewpoint offering free repair services to anybody in need!

Free Bikes

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.

Free Bike Education

Finally, we’ve got new educational tools available on our Virtual Community Resources web page!

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!

Bike Works – Essential Services!

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

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

Bike Works is currently closed to the public, but 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.

REQUEST a bike repair appointment

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.

Our Warehouse is currently closed to the public until further notice for both shopping and open shop.

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

Shop bike works online now

We welcome you to purchase bikes & accessories online. Feel free to call the shop (206-725-8867) with questions about a bike to see if it might be a good fit for you, or to order a new Surly, Soma, or All-City bike in your size.

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.

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

SHOP BIKE WORKS ON EBAY

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

Reflections on Bicycle/Race

by Allie Sarfaty
Recycle & Reuse Coordinator
They/them

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

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

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

Bike Works Closure in Response to COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

The Bike Works Team

 

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

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

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

Who are you?

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

Brooklyn Bell, Patagonia MTB, Chuckanut Mountains

How did you get into art?

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

 

What does art mean to you?

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

 

How did you get involved with Bike Works?

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

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

What are some projects you’ve worked on?

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

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

Brooklyn shows off the ski top-sheets she designed.

Where can we find your artwork for purchase?

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

 

What are some tools you use to create art?

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

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

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

By Ted Cox

Adrian Down takes overnight bikepacking trips, fixes up adult bikes for Bike Works, and volunteers to make biking safer in Rainier Valley. So it’s a little surprising to hear that he first learned to ride a bike in college.

He heard about Bike Works through Bike Bingo, the annual city-wide cycling scavenger hunt presented in tandem with local businesses. Now, he’s part of a core group of skilled volunteers who fix up bikes for the Bikes for All! Program, or to be sold in the Community Bike Shop. Adrian is also a member of Rainier Valley Greenways, a community advocacy group which focuses on making streets safer for non-motorized traffic. Attending their meetings works nicely with his bike repair work.

“It’s convenient because RVG meets in the same building that the Bike Works volunteering takes place in,” Adrian said. “I typically go to the Rainier Valley Neighborhood Greenways meeting upstairs for half of the volunteer time and then go downstairs and pick up a wrench and start fixing bikes.”

 

What’s one of your earliest biking memories?

I think I started biking much later than most people. I didn’t really start biking until I was in college.

I was very lucky in that in college I had this amazing mentor. And he was really an academic mentor, a personal mentor, a professional mentor, just an incredible person to have in my life, almost like a surrogate parent. Because I was going to college 3,000 miles away from my own parents. I was really far from home. I was a clueless little 18-year-old kid. And he was very kind to take me under his wing. And he and his wife were very kind and generous towards me.

So he had this old 1980s Nishiki bicycle that had been sitting in his garage, collecting rust for probably 10 years at that point. He said, “I’ve got this bike sitting in my garage. You can probably use it to get around campus.”

As a typical college kid, I lived fairly close to campus. So it’s a great way to get to class. He basically let me borrow that bike for a couple years and said, “Give it back when you’re done. But as long as you keep it in good shape, you’re welcome to use while you’re going to school here.”

It was a wonderful bike. It was this nice burgundy red and it fit me pretty well — as well as a free loaner bike could be expected to fit.

And I remember the first time I rode it, you know, because I had never really ridden a bike. And here I am, I’m 18, and I’m learning to ride a bike.

So I took it to a tennis court and I remember getting on the bike and promptly just fell right on my side, like two, three times. I think maybe after the third time I could get the bike to go without falling over, I said, “Great, we’re done. This’ll work.”

And pretty much from then on used the bike as my main source of transportation for most of the rest of college. And at the end of college I gave it back.

Ted Cox is a technical writer and Bike Works volunteer. He likes burritos and bikes and riding bikes to go eat burritos.

Bike Works Board Member Jess Kim on bands, SDOT, and her Bike Life Trifecta

By Ted Cox

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.

We’re getting donated beer from Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, that’s up in Greenwood, cider from Seattle Cider Co. in Georgetown, bubblies from DRY Soda Company, and cold brew coffee from Conduit. Neema’s Comfort soul food truck will be on-site and there’s also going to be a raffle. And live music. And all the bikey people. There’s a lot happening that day.


Bands for Bike Works

Sunday, July 29

12 p.m. to 4pm.

Entry for $5, or $20 for entry and a bag of Conduit coffee beans.

Get tickets here

 

Lineup

12:30 – -1:10 PM: – Tina! (solo)

“Tina! is two inherently nice adults from Seattle, WA playing indie rock featuring powerful soaring vocals.”

1:30 – 2:10 PM – Coach Phillips

Coach Phillips is a Seattle-based indie pop/rock band playing hand-crafted jammers of “…an infectious sound oozing positivity.” – XuneMag (2018)

2:15 – 2:30 PM Musical interlude by Elise & Phil Hirschi

2:30 – 3:10 PM – Sour Notes

“Sour Notes is a pop punk band from Seattle, WA formed by four friends who realized they liked writing catchy songs about being bitter.”

3:20 – 3:45 PM – PUKE

PUKE is a punk ukulele duo. Enough said.

Coach Phillips’ song VHS Dating was voted one of NPR Music​’s top 10 Heavy Rotation songs in May! Check out the video below:

Ted Cox is a technical writer and Bike Works volunteer. He likes burritos and bikes and riding bikes to go eat burritos.