Category Archives: Our Community

COVID-19 Update (September 2021)

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 September 2021. 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 warehouse is open to customers from 1 – 4 PM on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. 2-3 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 on Mondays 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

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.

Leadership Transition and New Beginnings for 2021

FROM DEB SALLS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

I am writing to tell you about a new adventure I am going to embark on and upcoming transitions at Bike Works. I have accepted the Executive Director position at Social Venture Partners MN. After nearly 10 years at Bike Works, I will return to Minneapolis where my family is, to work with community-minded philanthropists providing grants and support to youth-serving organizations to build capacity and impact.

I feel so blessed to have been here at Bike Works for all these years working with amazing staff, board, supporters, volunteers, and community partners. We have accomplished so much together. This was simultaneously a difficult and easy decision for me. It is difficult because it is hard to leave such a great organization, with social justice-driven staff, engaged board members, and supporters that are dedicated to doing great work in the community. It is easy because I know Bike Works is poised to do even more wonderful things in the future. We have passed our racial equity-focused strategic plan for 2021 – 2025, which we will share with our community soon. And despite the challenges of this year, Bike Works has thrived in 2020, which is an accomplishment we can all be proud of. I have learned a lot in my time in this role. I have immense gratitude for being given a chance to grow as a leader, and to help expand the capacity of our organization.

FROM MARCOS FRANCO, BOARD CHAIR

I want to wholeheartedly congratulate Deb for 10 years of dedication, service, and leadership to Bike Works as well as the South Seattle community. There is no doubt that the work she has done has had an impact on countless lives and furthered the Bike Works vision. Certainly, SVP Minnesota has acquired an asset—her knowledge, leadership, and warmth will be missed.

Deb, we wish you the best of luck! It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the entire Executive Committee, to appoint Ed Ewing as the Interim Executive Director of Bike Works as Deb departs. Ed’s commitment to social justice, strategic thinking, and passion for the organization have shined through his work as Deputy Director. He has shown he holds himself to the highest standards through his work on the Bike Works Racial Equity Commitment Statement and the 2021-2015 Strategic Plan over the last three months.

I am confident with Ed at the helm, a brilliant staff behind him, a dedicated board, and a passionate network of supporters, we are heading in the right direction. Deb’s last day will be January 5th, and we will finalize Ed’s transition from Interim Executive Director to Executive Director by the end of that month. I am looking forward to all the great work we’ll do together in the coming year.

FROM ED EWING, DEPUTY DIRECTOR

I am very excited and honored to be appointed Interim Executive Director of Bike Works! I want to thank Deb Salls, the Bike Works staff, the Board of Directors, and our committed supporters and community members for your confidence in my leadership and abilities. My career, my work in diverse communities, and my tenure in the cycling community, has prepared me for this role. It is an extreme pleasure to be working for an organization so deeply committed to racial equity, and with a talented staff who share a passion for building resilient communities. I will meet challenges with an innovative, authentic, visionary, and collaborative approach to inspire team members and community partners. I believe in strong community partnerships, building positive, authentic relationships, and leading with a collective voice. I feel blessed to be working for such an amazing organization.

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond,

Deb Salls
Marcos Franco
Ed Ewing

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!

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.

REQUEST a bike repair appointment

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

Shop bike works online now

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.

Check our size chart

Our Warehouse is currently closed to the public until further notice. Twice per month, every first and third Saturday, you can browse for used bikes at our “as-is” bike sale.

Find the next as-is bike sale on our calendar

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!

donate a bike


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.

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

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