Category Archives: Our Community

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.

Did You Know? Biking Black History

Blog: Bike Underground Railroad Sign

[Image Description: An official plaque in the foreground reads, “A Gateway to Freedom. Many freedom-seekers coming through New Albany achieved their goal, traveling as far north as Canada. The Underground Railroad refers to a widespread network of diverse people in the nineteenth century who aided slaves escaping to freedom from the southern U.S.” In the background, a blurred bicycle rider in red rides down a paved street.]

Did you know there is a bicycle route that travels along the Underground Railroad – from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario? The Adventure Cycling Association and the Center for Minority Health from Pittsburgh, PA partnered to develop this 2,100 mile route which uses the historic “Follow the Drinking Gourd” spiritual as a guide through America’s past and as an inspiration for cultural exploration and physical well-being.


For more information check out:


You’ve heard of Pay it Forward

Now there’s Patch it Forward!

Not having access to the tools or knowledge to fix a flat is a significant barrier to your neighbors who rely on their bikes. You can be the difference between a neighbor getting where they need to go or being stranded with a flat.

#PatchitForward Means

Giving Self-Reliance & Confidence

#PatchitForward means celebrating the power learning to fix a flat. This is one of the first things taught in our classrooms because it builds confidence. It shows that you are capable of biking to wherever your legs can take you with the assurance that you can make it home again.

Promoting Sustainability

#PatchitForward keeps otherwise usable parts on the road and out of the trash. Rather than a one way path from department store to landfill, a patching a tube keeps useful things working as long as possible.

Being a part of something

#PatchitForward shows the importance of community. Help prevent someone from getting stranded by giving the tools and knowledge to fix their flat. It’s not about how much you give, it’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself.


“At Bike Works, one of the first skills we teach in any class is how to fix a flat tire. It may sound simple, but knowing how to patch a tube and replace a tire goes a long way towards feeling empowered and confident on the road.”

Shawna Williams


Make a gift in support of Bike Works programs & keep your neighbors rolling!

Van Asselt Youth Get Some Bikes

Bike Works has over 92 community partners. Each partnership is unique and allows us to do what we do best – use the bicycle as a vehicle for positive change. This heart warming email to the Van Asselt Elementary School staff highlights what we love about these partnerships.

Hi all,

I’ve been partnering with Bike Works, a local bike shop in Columbia City, for the last 5 years to get Van Asselt students free bicycles.  Wednesday afternoon was our most recent clinic.  During the clinics, Bike Works staff come to Van Asselt and lead bike skills & safety drills where kids practice riding through an obstacle course, learn road safety and hand signals.  They also learn how to do a pre-ride “ABC safety check” (air in the tires, brakes working, chain tight) to make sure their bikes are safe and functioning correctly.  At the end of the clinic, they get to keep a free BMX bike, helmet and bike lock.

This time around we had 6 kids participate, three 5th graders and three 4th graders.

UGGAB: Two youth in helmets at Van AsseltYouth getting ready to ride the obstacle courseYouth enjoying the ride around the obstacle course
[Image Description: Two youth stand side by side in helmets in the school gym, the shiny wood floor and compressed bleachers visible behind. Both looking at the camera, excited and also a little timid. The student on the right is wearing a gray long sleeved tee with a black and red-pinstriped sports jersey over the top and a matte black helmet. The student on the left is wearing a navy long sleeved shirt with a navy & white horizontal striped shirt layered on top and a shiny black helmet.][Image Description: A student sits atop a black BMX bike with their feet and kickstand both on the ground. Wearing jeans, a navy hoodie with a neon green design, and a shiny black helmet, his cheeks are puffed in concentration. He stares at the bicycle tire just visible in front of him. Another youth on a red bike is visible in the background , with one leg on the pedal and the other on the floor he is preparing to take off.][Image Description: A youth rides toward the camera on a blue BMX bike, looking past a cone on the ground that sits to his left. He is smiling, wearing jeans, and a olive and rust colored camo sweatshirt. He is riding in a gym, the shiny wood floor reflecting light. There are other kids on bikes off in the far corner of the picture with some adults talking them through their ride.]

Actually, this was part of the obstacle course – kids had to take one hand off the bars and look back over their shoulder to identify which sign the adult was holding (car, bus, cow). Now I know why the call him “Mr Moo”!

Educator holding a sign as part of the obstacle course
[Image Description: An adult looks at the camera, mouth upturned in a smile, holding a sign with the silhouette of a cow on it. The sign is large, covering most of his chest. He has light brown hair and is wearing a bright green and blue scarf]

Bike Works is a local bike shop in Columbia City (on S Ferdinand St, right around the corner from the Columbia City Bakery).  It’s a pretty unique organization in that they have a huge focus on education and empowerment of youth.  They offer many youth (and adult) classes and lead many bicycling events/rides.  They also have a very successful recycle & reuse program.

Blue BMX bike against the fence

[Image Description: A blue BMX bike, kickstand down, is in front of a chain link fence. The handlebars are turned in and the bike is locked to a post in the fence.]

One more pic.  Here’s what I saw on my way into the building yesterday: 

William rode his new bike to school the next morning!  That’s what this program is all about.

All for now,

[Van Asselt Educator]







It takes valuable staff time and resources to prepare these bikes for their new homes, to deliver them to the school, and to host educational (and fun!) bicycle rodeos so that the students feel confident riding their bicycle. Please consider hosting a bike drive benefiting Bike Works. Email to get started!

Youth Leadership

Today, as with most days, we are reflecting on the importance of youth leadership and community. The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) at Bike Works recently voted in 4 new members, including Anna who drew this powerful image as part of her application.


The YAC is a group of dedicated youth who participate more fully in the vision and governance of the organization.

Bike Works was featured in this awesome video by School’s Out Washington.

We are so proud of these articulate, engaged, and empowered youth. It is the continued support from our donors and volunteers that make it all possible – thank you.

PARKlet like it’s hot

img_5867Bike Works had so much fun participating in Park(ing) Day this year! Your creativity, energy, and humor captured the spirit of Park(ing) Day, a national day dedicated to community driven parklets.

This year, Bike Works raised awareness for one of the many ways the community gives new life to bikes parts that would otherwise end up in the waste stream – bike art!

A portion of the 6,000 bikes donated to Bike Works each year have seen their best riding days. However, our expert Recycle & Reuse mechanics give these bikes new life in many different ways. PARK(ing) Day was one of those ways. We took different gears, rotors, reflectors, and all kinds of other shiny bits that would otherwise be recycled and YOU made them into art. img_5898 Continue reading

Community Stories: Neil the Engineer

What attracted you to Bike Works?IMG_5288
I’m an engineer so I like transportation: airplanes, cars, and bicycles. Anything that is a mechanism, I like it. When I moved to Seattle from Mexico I was introduced to a whole culture around bicycles; I started to build my own bike. As I met people in the bicycle community, I was directed to Bike Works. At first I thought Bike Works was just a store and that was where I could find a bicycle frame but when I read about Bike Works on the website I thought, “It’s awesome.” I have never volunteered in my life. In Mexico we don’t really grow up with that concept but I figured it would be a good time to try it out which is how I got involved.

What has kept you involved with Bike Works?
I stayed involved because I like learning. I came to the Volunteer Repair Parties on Thursday a couple of times and learned the basics of bicycle repair while fixing kid’s bikes for Kids Bike-o-Rama. Then I enrolled in Bike Repair 101 where I could learn more complex mechanics like derailleurs. I like that the bikes in each class are given back to the community. I also met people. That is big for me. I like bicycles and my social circles are not very interested in bikes…yet. Continue reading

Hello, Columbia City! You may have noticed a bit of construction on the corner of Rainier Avenue and S Ferdinand Street. We wanted to let you know that the bike shop is still open regular business hours during construction. Please don’t let the hard hats deter you, if you squint the hard hats even look like bicycle helmets.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call 206.725.8867.

Biketopia Concert THIS Bicycle Sunday


This summer, a collective of musicians, artists and cyclists known as the Pleasant Revolution will embark on a tour through the Pacific Northwest, with a mission to produce exhilarating and inspiring concerts completely off the ­grid. Why is this important? As global warming effects more and more communities across the planet with droughts, melting glaciers, and other drastic ecological shifts, there is a need for educational empowerment and a growing demand for cooperative self-­sufficiency that this tour aspires to address.
The events on this tour are called Biketopia Music Festivals; all of the sound
amplification is powered by stationary bicycles. The Pleasant Revolution collective works with local musicians, bike enthusiasts and environmental groups to co-­create these grassroots, community empowered festivals.

The Pleasant Revolution is currently scheduled to land in Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, Victoria, Seattle, Bellingham, Olympia, Astoria, Portland, Eureka, Arcata, Santa Rosa, Petaluma and a grand Bay Area return. They will also be putting on impromptu concerts in unexpected locations along the way. The music on the tour will be performed by Latin circus funk band Bicicletas por la paz ( Bicycles for Peace), neo­folk­soul artist Heather Normandale and various other artists both on the tour and from the towns they will be visiting. The mission of the Pleasant Revolution is to inspire cooperative community effort through music and through the collective effort of the audience producing the show’s electricity on bikes! This tour will be hauling all of their gear on bike, no “sag wagon” required. The impact of this project is not just about showcasing good music and sustainable technology; it is to inspire and empower creative minds to think outside the box and realize the power that exists in community.

Continue reading