Category Archives: Our Community

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.

Patch it Forward: Jess’ Story

Jess joined the team in January as the Development Director. It only took one mishap of an adventure to show her how we Patch it Forward at Bike Works.

It was Jess’ third day of work and she was ready to roll off to the annual staff retreat. At such a fast moving organization as ours, with a bike shop, classes, the BikeMobile, offsite programming, and so much more, the retreat is a rare moment when the entire staff gets to be in the same room together. It’s also means that we get to ride our bikes together!

As Jess was eager to connect with her new colleagues, she volunteered to meet them in the International District to bike to the retreat in West Seattle together. It was one of those soaking wet rides that makes for good story but only well after everyone is dry and warm. Not only did it dump buckets the whole way over, the bike train also took a wrong turn which took them up a particularly steep hill. Jess arrived at Camp Long soaked but cheery.

After a day of planning, bonding, and drying off, Jess and the Bike Works crew hit the road, branching off from one another to take their various routes home. It was on the dark return trip that Jess felt her bike wobbling. She looked down and saw the flattest, saddest tire. Luckily, she was within walking distance from home so she trudged inside, warmed up, and forgot about the whole endeavor.

Two weeks later at a staff meeting, Jess mentioned her flat tire at the group check in. A chorus of “me too”s went around the table. Almost every single person who biked to and from the staff retreat got a flat that night, we were baffled. What are the odds?

It was the flat tire that inspired Jess to bring her bicycle in to the community bike shop for a full tune-up and the wider tires for which she’d been dreaming.

Jess realized how fortunate she is to work at an organization that understands running late to patch a flat tire. Not everyone has that and not everyone can afford a full tune up or even a patch kit to get back on the road quickly. That’s why Bike Works exists—to promote the bicycle as a vehicle for everyone.

Patch it Forward is about helping each other out. It’s the Bike Works way of paying it forward. You too can celebrate the power of our community by Patching it Forward. Make a gift of $4.40 in support of Bike Works. It covers the cost of a patch kit for the next time someone needs one.

Patch it Forward

evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works

This is a guest post from Marie-Antoinette Cruz, one of the outstanding team members at evo that volunteered their time at Bike Works. Thanks to Marie & the entire evo team!


I am not a cyclist. My bicycle and I have a lukewarm relationship at best. However, I work on the technology team at evo.com and am surrounded by coworkers who talk about biking all the time. So when the team was given the opportunity to volunteer at Bike Works for a day, helping prepare for their upcoming Warehouse Sale, it was too good for us to pass up.

Our day started with a tour of Bike Works’ full-service community bike shop, classrooms, warehouse space, and the BikeMobile (Bike Works’ repair shop on wheels). Julie, the Donor Relationships Manager, gave us a great introduction to what Bike Works has done over the years and shared information about their various programs. It was hearing about the Earn-A-Bike program that left the biggest impression on me. I remember thinking, if I had access to the same kind of program growing up, I might have a healthier relationship with my bike today. It was so cool to see a program that taught youth practical bike skills and, more importantly, fostered confidence, community, and accountability in a context that young people could be passionate about.

Over one hundred bicycles are neatly stacked against each other awaiting their new owners at Bike Works' Annual Warehouse Sale

[Image Description: Over one hundred bicycles are neatly stacked against each other awaiting their new owners at Bike Works’ Annual Warehouse Sale – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]

We spent the rest of the day working with the Recycle & Reuse team (Steve, Mike, and Seth) helping prepare bikes for the Annual Warehouse Sale. Before that day, the only thing I’d ever modified on a bike was lowering the seat (I am not a tall person), but I spent that whole afternoon removing pedals and loosening and turning handlebars so more bikes could be stored in the days leading up to the sale. Taking off pedals and turning handlebars might not sound like much, but for me it was another opportunity to grow and learn about something I knew nothing about.

I had so much fun working with the Bike Works team that I decided to volunteer the following Saturday at the sale as well. While there, I met an older gentleman who was an active mentor/teacher in Bike Works classes. We both were helping out in the clothing section, so we spent most of the afternoon together. He told me about the work he did at Bike Works, how being a cyclist had impacted his personal life, and shared some of the adventures he’d encountered along the way. Listening to him, I sensed a great deal of knowledge, experience, and an extension of the Bike Works community. When I told him about my lack of experience with bicycles, he encouraged me to attend a Volunteer Repair Party. It was this simple, welcoming gesture that really made my experience that Saturday afternoon feel so uplifting, as if there was no limit to how much I could learn spending time with this community.

I am grateful for my experience volunteering at Bike Works. It was a lovely introduction to an amazing organization rooted in community; one that is excited to share its awareness, know-how, passion, and love for all things bicycle!

– Marie-Antoinette Cruz

Group shot of the evo technology team - evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works

[Image Description: Group shot of the evo technology team. People are gathered around holding tools, smiling, and/or giving a thumbs up. Behind them to the right, you can see stacks and stacks of bicycles. – evo Volunteer Day at Bike Works]

Steve at Stoked Spoke Adventure Series

Come on out to Stoked Spoke Adventure Series next Wednesday, January 31st and listen to Steve speak about his 6 years of racing the Car-Free Ski to Sea!

Steve is the Recycle & Reuse Assistant Manager at Bike Works whose passion for the environment, community, and adventure shines through in everything he does. Bike Works is so excited to hear him share his story and we think that you should be excited about it, too.

Stoked Spoke Swift Industries Steve Gadingan

Ski to Sea

The Ski to Sea is a seven leg relay race between the Mt. Baker Ski Area and Bellingham. The legs include skiing, snowboarding, biking, canoeing, and kayaking which means that there is a lot of gear to haul. The Car-Free division means that you are using bicycles to transport that gear.

Want to read more about Steve’s epic adventures? Come on down to the Rhino Room (click for map).  It’s 21+ only. Can’t make it? Read this awesome write up by the Mount Baker Experience.

Stoked Spoke

Stoked Spoke is hosted by Swift Industries. Each evening highlights four to six self supported bike camping routes complete with maps, slideshow and planning tips. Once all of the presentations are finished, each presenter will host an information table where they will answer individual questions and have maps of region they explored.

Tickets are $5 at the door.

See you there!

Receive A Special Gift When You Support Bike Works

Give a gift, get a gift, make a difference.
A Gift for donating to Seattle nonprofit

I’ve never owned a bike and hadn’t ridden one in 30 years.  I wanted a bike so that I could build up my healthy habits.  My friends tell me that they see a transformation in me already.”

That is what Carl told Bike Works earlier this year. He is one of hundreds of adults to receive a bike through Bike Works’ Bikes-for-All! program in 2017. Carl learned about Bikes-for-All! at Recovery Café, an organization that works with people experiencing homelessness and/or addiction.

After Carl received his bike he became interested in learning how to fix and maintain it. He began to attend Bike Works’ volunteer drop-in parties on Thursdays and Sundays. Now he says, “I try to come every week. I’m learning to work on kids’ bikes . . . I wish Bike Works had been around when my kids were young. I would have loved to get them on bikes and to have ridden as a family.” Carl has refurbished 10 youth bikes so far. After being safety checked by a staff mechanic they will be on their way to children from low-income families through Bike Works’ Kids Bike-o-Rama giveaway program.Free bicycles for adults in Seattle Washington

For more than 20 years, Bike Works’ core commitment has remained the same – to get bikes into the hands of those who need them, while diverting thousands of pounds from the waste stream each year. In 2016 Bike Works collected over 7,500 unwanted bicycles from throughout Seattle. To us, they represent opportunity.

No matter what path a bike takes once it gets to Bike Works, it becomes a vehicle for making positive community change. These reclaimed bikes increase access to earth-friendly, low-cost transportation. They engage youth, and people of all ages, in healthy activity, while nurturing self-confidence, determination, and leadership. They build community connections across racial, ethnic, language, gender, sexual-identity, religious, and socioeconomic differences.

In the last 10 years Bike Works has increased the number of youth served by 350%. Every year our participants cycle more than 6,500 miles, and donate more than 10,000 volunteer hours. Last year, through our Bike Giveaway programs, we put over 700 bikes into the hands of people like Carl. And, our efforts extend well beyond our own walls. Through partnerships with 60+ organizations such as Seattle public schools, and community organizations such as Friends of Youth and Coyote Central, we facilitate programs and leadership opportunities and teach young people how to build and appreciate riding and repairing bikes at sites throughout the Seattle Metropolitan area.

Your generosity will keep bicycle wheels spinning all around our community! In 2018 we are on track to achieve even more, but only with your help. Please give more opportunities to youth and adults to participate in Bike Works’ programs by giving a gift of $250 or more today! We anticipate that over 2,500 youth and adults will be impacted next year through Bike Works programming, and with your support we plan to meet 100% of that need.

Give Now

August Volunteer Opportunities at Bike Works

Summer is heating up Bike Works – literally! We are currently taking Popsicle and ice cream donations. Temperature jokes aside, it’s biking season, and the gears are turning at Bike Works.

Bike Works is receiving a record number of donations and making a record number of appearances at events. You can promote the bicycle as a vehicle for change in your community by volunteering with Bike Works! We have lots of ways to get involved. All mechanic experience levels are welcome – even no mechanic experience!

Volunteer in the Warehouse:

Do you have a favorite Do-It-Yourself storage solution? The Warehouse space is in need of your creativity and know-how to spruce up the retail space. Email Steve with your idea & to get started!

Bike Works is still receiving a record number of donations and we need your help to sort through all of the parts, clothes, frames, and other bike-related materials. No experience necessary. All bicycle knowledge levels are welcome. If you’re interested, sign up for a shift by clicking the button below!

Warehouse volunteers have the added perk of being at the heart of Bike Works. This is your opportunity to really see the life of a bicycle at Bike Works and contribute directly to the environmental stewardship of the organization.

Sign Up

Volunteer At upcoming events:

  • Sounders Bicycle Parking on August 12th from 11am-4pm. Bike Works is offering FREE bicycle valet services at the Sounders vs. FC Kansas City match and we need your help to watch over these bikes!
  • Big Day of Play on Saturday, August 19th from 1-4pm. This is an annual event put on by Seattle Parks and Recreation. It is at Rainier Playfields and Community Center – 4600 38th Ave. S, Seattle –
  • Sounders Bicycle Parking on August 20th from 5-10pm. Bike Works is offering FREE bicycle valet services at the Sounders vs. Minnesota United FC match and we need your help to keep these bikes safe.
  • Seattle Art Museum (SAM) Bike Night on Thursday, August 24th from 5-9pm. Bike valet & the BikeMobile.
  • Bike for Water bike ride by MiiR and Water 1st International on Sunday, August 27th from 10am-Noon.
  • Sounders Bicycle Parking on August 27th from 4:30-9:30pm. Bike Works is offering FREE bicycle valet services at the Sounders vs. Timbers match and we need your help to keep these bikes safe.

Learn More or Sign Up

Volunteer in the office:

 

Volunteer

Two people are staring intently at a bicycle in a repair stand. They are wearing gloves, holding rags, and in what looks like a shop.

  • The administrative office is looking for a volunteer to help keep us organized. If organizing office supplies is satisfying for you then please come help us! This opportunity is flexible. Email Deb@Bikeworks.org for more information.

Volunteer Repair Parties:

  • Volunteer Repair Parties (VRP) are drop-in, weekly bike repair parties for adults (age 18 and up). You do not need to be a skilled bike mechanic to help out. They happen Thursdays from 6:30pm to 9:30pm and Sundays from 10am to 1pm.

Learn More

 

 

An inspiring TED Talk about starting a bicycle movement

TED Talk & Earn-a-Bike

Earn-a-Bike alert! Claudia Tamez is a Brownsville resident who wanted to ride her bike in her seemingly bike unfriendly city. Listen to her TED Talk about finding a community through bicycling, the evolution of the Brownsville bicycle movement, and the Brownsville Bike Barn Earn-a-Bike program. This is what biking is all about.

Watch the Ted Talk

 

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Join Bike Works for a Panel Discussion on Bicycle Theft

Have you ever had your bike stolen? Do you manage a bike shop?

Help fight back against bike theft! Join us for a panel discussion on bike theft and indexing on May 16 at Metier.  The region’s leading experts on addressing bike theft will discuss the current state of the problem and what we can do about it.

Panel Discussion on Bike Theft & Indexing
Tuesday, May 16
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Métier, 1017 E Union St, Seattle WA 98122

RSVP Now >>

Panelists:
Bryan Hance, Bike Index
Brock Howell, Bicycle Security Advocates
Kendra Borzio, UWPD
Seattle Police Department
More TBA
Co-Sponsors:
Commute SeattleBicycle Security AdvocatesBike IndexBike WorksEvergreen Mountain Bike AllianceMétierSeattle Bike BlogSeattle Neighborhood GreenwaysSportworks RacksTiGr Locks

Show-up before 6:30 p.m. to get your beers and food and settle down. Listen to the panelists’ presentations for about an hour. Participate in a moderated Q&A for the last 20 minutes. Then stick around after 8 p.m to continue the conversation over drinks.

Earlier in the day on May 16, Bryan Hance of Bike Index, Brock Howell of Bicycle Security Advocates, and the Seattle Police Department will make a special briefing to the Seattle City Council Sustainability & Transportation Committee on bike theft and indexing.

Would your organization/business like to also co-sponsor by telling your e-newsletter list or social media followers about the event? Email us at brock@bicyclesecurityadvocates.org.

RSVP not required but very appreciated.

RSVP Now >>

A Patch it Forward Success!

Thank you for Patching it Forward! By Patching it Forward, you are helping to cover the cost of 15 neighbors receive the tools & knowledge they need to be an empowered bike rider. Here is just one story of how your support makes a difference.

A story about Patching it Forward

[Image Description: A bunch of bicycles are leaning against a picnic table. The shadow of the person taking the picture is cast across the grass.]

“At Bike Works we do many rides with youth, some youth have their own bike and helmet others do not so we supply

them.  This may seem like a simple idea but at the heart of it, giving youth access to a bike and a supportive community starts breaking down barriers and opening people up to freedoms and opportunities they didn’t know were possible for them.

Street Burners, the name given to those who have completed a Bike Works mechanics class, go on organized outings to ride bikes, explore the city, and build community together. While on a taco ride, where we ride from taco truck to taco truck and eat food while exploring the city, one rider got a flat tire. It was

[Image Description: A person on a bicycle rides in with a bicycle tire draped across them. They are smiling, riding on a bike path with grass a residential neighborhood in the background)

a slow leak so they pedaled on to the next block where the first taco truck stop was.  I, as the staff leader for the trip, didn’t have a patch kit on me but thankfully someone in the group did.

We stopped at our first taco truck and instead of just one person assisting with the flat; the whole group pitched in to

help. One person got out a patch kit but the glue was dry, so another got out their patch kit, someone took off the tire and tube, another grabbed a rag and inspected the tire for any foreign objects while others took food orders as to not let the flat hinder our adventure.  After all was said and done we carried on our taco eating and riding adventure.

A simple incident but a beautiful reminder that we are all on a

[Image Description: Three youth have their heads bent over the rear tire of a bicycle. The bicycle is largely obscured by one rider leaning over and reaching down.]

journey and sometimes you hit an obstacle and feel deflated. We all need that friend with a patch kit to help us get back in our saddle and inflate us again. Youth are on a journey and have obstacles that they have inherited such as lack of access to funds, foods, transportation.  So a patch kit to me

means pitching in to help our fellow members of the community.  And I am grateful for all those people patching it forward and making experiences and growth possible.”


For as little as $3.84 you can Patch it Forward to your neighbors in need.