Category Archives: Events

Karen Wang on Building AAPI Community through Cycling

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Bike Works would like to share a reflection written by Karen Wang, a comedian, baker, photographer, and a sponsored rider for All City Cycles. Last March, in response to the escalating attacks on Asians around the country, Wang organized an impromptu ride as a place for healing and solidarity for those who identify as Asian. Over 40 strangers and friends came out on short notice in support. We are excited to share Wang’s story, and to invite any Asian Pacific American identifying riders to join another ride on Saturday, May 22nd for a chance to sprout a new community. Thank you Wang for your vulnerability and inspiration.

I was born to my Taiwanese parents in Massachusetts and later my mother became widowed when I was 8 years old. She then moved my older sister and me down to Texas where we spent our adolescent years growing up subconsciously assimilating to white culture.

The Atlanta shootings on March 16, 2021 uncovered a history of anti-Asian sentiments, xenophobia, misogyny, and fetishization of Asian women in this country that shook the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community into fear, pain, anger and deeply rooted trauma. To me personally, it completely flipped my world upside down in a way that I would have never expected. It resurfaced so much racism and family trauma in my childhood that I had suppressed my entire life trying to fit in and fly under the radar in order to keep quiet and not disturb the peace. Basically, I was reevaluating my entire racial identity that I had been so ashamed about for 30+ years. To say that the following week was hard to process is truly an understatement.

Basically, I was reevaluating my entire racial identity that I had been so ashamed about for 30+ years.

I had also come to the realization I had diminished myself as an Asian American so much that I had little to no close AAPI friends in my own community. Most of all of my friends are white, and I now find it deeply unsettling. I had met up with another Asian friend that week that was super impactful in processing the trauma, and it was incredibly healing to be with another person that looked like me and had similar racial experiences growing up. Timing was crucial for me as I am an external processor.

From there, I thought I would try to put together a bike ride as quickly as possible for the AAPI community because I knew that’s what I needed and wanted. Initially, I was inspired by Ron Holden, who is another fellow sponsored All-City rider, that started Ride for Black Lives in LA. Hearing him speak about his passion for the community was infectious, and I had always wanted to organize a ride but have felt I was not credible nor equipped enough with the experience. But this time, I felt like it was so important to me that I knew it had to happen, and it didn’t matter that I didn’t know what I was doing. I wanted to create a safe space for healing for the AAPI community where they could come together on bikes, be able to meet others where they were, and build a genuine connection. I knew I couldn’t have been the only one feeling so alone that I wanted to be surrounded by my people during this time.

I wanted to create a safe space for healing for the AAPI community where they could come together on bikes, be able to meet others where they were, and build a genuine connection.

That evening, I had never experienced so much pride in my own race and identity. We had felt seen, supported, cared for and so loved by our own community. This was only the beginning of our healing and the spark of something more to come.

Fat Bikers: Building a Size-Inclusive Cycling Community

Marley Blonskey & Kailey Kornhauser work to make cycling more accessible for people of all body sizes, especially larger bodies

Marley Blonsky and Kailey Kornhauser are self-proclaimed Fat Bikers and subjects of the upcoming Shimano film “All Bodies on Bikes,” about their relationships to their bodies on bikes during a bikepacking trip to Oregon.

Check out their recent presentation to the Bike Works community about ways to make the cycling industry, culture, and community more accessible to people in larger bodies, including gear suggestions, leading & structuring group rides and cycling events, and using respectful and inclusive language.

You can find some of the resources discussed in this event on Marley’s website here, by contacting Marley and Kailey by email, or by following them on Instagram @marleyblonsky and @kornhausersauce.

Bicycle Transformation

A Bike Works customer, Chris, recently purchased this vintage steel Barracuda mountain bike frame from our ebay shop:

Then he sanded it down, with the welds “bondo’d” to make them easier to sand/paint. It took 11 hours!

Then just a few coats of paint…

And a coat of glitter…

And it’s done! The colors were chosen by Chris’ granddaughter, Molly, who is now the proud owner of this gorgeous ride. The bike is setup as a 1×10 hybrid with a low gear range suitable for Seattle’s hills and big enough tires for light duty trail riding, but not full mountain biking.

A bike with dark blue handlebars and grips, a light blue and black frame, and blue pedals.
AFTER: Hard to see the glitter coat, but rest assured, this bike is sparkly and road-ready!

Interested in your own bicycle transformation project? Check out our twice monthly “as-is” bike sales every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month for inspiration!

We’re so excited about our new Executive Director, Ed Ewing!

We are very pleased to announce that last week, the Bike Works Board of Directors unanimously voted to formalize Ed Ewing’s transition from Deputy Director to Executive Director.

Since joining Bike Works in August, Ed has cemented our confidence in his vision, authenticity, and collaborative leadership style. We know that he is the right person to lead Bike Works because of his commitment to racial equity, community, partnerships, and bicycling.

Members of our community share our excitement:

A man in a bike helmet smiles for the camera

Ed Ewing at a Peace Peloton ride in 2020. Photo by Bike Hugger.

“There is no one better than Ed Ewing to leverage the resilience in our Bike Works community to further our mission. Ed’s indefatigable ability to connect with people and empower them to step up to demanding challenges is exactly what we need to support our youth and see that our community continues to thrive.” -Jeanne Fellin, Bike Works Board of Directors

“Ed and Bike Works are a match made in heaven…he brings a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective from two wheels. Ed can bridge the gap between competitive bike racers, utilitarian cyclists, and other diverse communities to unite for a common goal.” -Matt Clark, StraighEIGHT Films, Bike Works Volunteer and Supporter

“As Executive Director, Ed will do what he does as a ride leader. First make sure everybody is safe and ready, then guide through the tough spots to reach great heights, all the while making sure a sweep is in place so everybody stays together.” -Dr. John Vassall, Physician, Bike Works Supporter

A man in a red jersey on a bicycle in a crowd of cyclists getting ready for a race.

Ed, age 17, at his second bike race

“We have known Ed Ewing for years and have seen his passion and determination for community organization grow. He has the rare ability to connect with everyone in a group, which brings everyone into the conversation.” -Nancy Ritzenthaler & Al Odmark, Bike Works supporters

I’ve known Ed as a leader, raconteur and a constant force when it comes to meaningful connections and rallying good people for great causes. Ed is relentlessly positive, and positively relentless.” -Thomas Goldstein, Bike Works supporter since 1996

“Ed Ewing is more of an experience than a proper name. His Super Powers reside at the intersection where strategic collaborations, community development, dry humor, and social enrichment come together. Through his stealthy leadership style, you’ll be midway through a project before you realize it was Ed’s Jedi influence that ordered your steps. A serial cyclist, loyal friend, harbinger of positive change, consummate leader, and all around quality human, Ed has left an indelible impression on and in my left that contributes to me being a better human.” -Doc Wilson, InGaj Coaching and Peace Peloton

read about ed’s background here

Ed takes the helm at the onset of our next Strategic Plan for 2021 – 2025, which centers racial equity and deeply engages community.

We will be rolling out this new plan on Thursday, February 25th at 6 PM so that our community may ask questions and learn about how to get involved. We would love to have your voice in that conversation – sign up to register for a link to join.

Join our strategic plan event on 2/25

Partnering with Free Range Cycles

Free Range Cycles is a Woman of Color-owned bike shop in Fremont, owned by former Bike Works Program Manager Shawna Williams, and staffed by former Bike Works Assistant Shop Manager Nikki McThewson. You can support Free Range AND Bike Works by purchasing a new bike from Free Range and donating your old bike to us! Show us your Free Range receipt and we’ll hook you up with a free Bike Works water bottle.

CHECK OUT FREE RANGE CYCLES Donate a bike to bike works

A note from our friends at Free Range:
We were really fortunate to get bikes this year during a global shortage, and we’d love to connect all of these bikes with folks who are ready to upgrade their ride before the end of the year so that we can make space for more inventory in 2021. Below are some examples of the awesome bikes we have for sale – contact us if anything speaks to you and we can set you up on a test ride!

All-City Gorilla Monsoon: Root Beer Gravel Machine available in sizes: 43cm/52cm/55cm Complete MSRP $2199

The Gorilla Monsoon is ready to chew up some trails with wide tires, hill-ready gearing and disc brakes. Plus, it comes with a dropper post to allow you to change your seating position mid-ride. These wheels will get you around the city or get you the heck out–whichever you need.

Salsa Journeyman: Teal Dream – 2 available in size 50cm
Complete MSRP $1199

This lovely bike enjoys long rides through the city or prancing on gravel trails, and is perfect for riders between 4’10-5’0. The bike you want for Spring bikepacking adventures and to roll you to your favorite coffee shop.

Salsa Journeyman Flat-Bar: Orange/Teal – Available in M/L/XL
Complete MSRP $949-$1199 depending on build kit

The Flat Bar version of the Journeyman has all the functionality of the drop-bar version while allowing you to remain a little more upright. This is a perfect ride for someone who is looking to upgrade their current hybrid bike and enjoy some Summer adventures on our local trails.

All-City Super Professional: “Blue Panther” – Available in sizes 55cm/58cm
Complete MSRP $1650

The Super Professional is the bike you want to zoom around the city, but not feel like you have to put on your road bike clothes. It is “road casual”, comfortable with racks and fenders or kept clean and pristine for Summertime fun with clearance for wide tires and mighty hydraulic disc brakes.

Seth Short Presents: Old, odd, obscure, weird, wild, & wonderful innovations of the cycling industry

As seen on Instagram @bike_crap and other outstanding zines of the same name

Bike Works Recycle & Reuse Coordinator Seth Short presented some of the old, odd, obscure, weird, wild, & wonderful innovations of the cycling industry that he encounters processing thousands of bike donations for Bike Works every year.

Presentation starts at 8:15

Huge thanks to Seth for sharing this celebration and send-up of the cycling industry with the Bike Works community, and to everybody who donates bikes, time, and money to Bike Works every year.

Keep up with the Bike Works calendar for more upcoming events, and get in touch with us if you’ve got a bicycle story to share!

Tessa Hulls Presents: The Bicycle as a Tool for Activism

Artist, writer, adventurer, bibliophile, researcher, cook, feminist historian, & bikexplorer Tessa Hulls presented her research into the historical role of bicycles as a tool for activism to promote racial, gender, and environmental justice to the Bike Works Community on 10/29.

The first all-Black bike brigade, the 25th Infantry Regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers, completed an 800 mile ride from Montana to Missouri in 1896 to demonstrate that long distances could be achieved by bike.

Thank you to Tessa for sharing this incredible research and analysis with us, to Bike Works Deputy Director Ed Ewing for sharing his moving contributions to bicycle activism, and to everybody who logged on to spend their evening with us.

Visit Tessa’s website to learn more about her work, and follow her on Instagram for comics, history, art, and more!

Women, Trans, Femme, & Non-Binary Riders in Early Cycling History by Tessa Hulls. Feel free to print or use however you’d like, but make sure to credit Tessa, and consider making a donation to the WTF Bikexplorers, who commissioned her to make it.
Tessa Hulls on a bike loaded up for touring.

Keep up with upcoming Bike Works events on our web calendar, and get in touch if you’ve got a bicycle story to tell!

PHYLLIS PORTER TALKS BLACK GIRLS DO BIKE, SAFE STREETS ACTIVISM, AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING

Phyllis Porter wears many hats. She is “Shero” of the Seattle chapter of Black Girls Do Bike, bringing this national cycling club to Seattle. She is a member of the Rainier Riders Cycling Club, Bike Works People of Color Racial Equity Taskforce member, board member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, co-host of South End Connect, Whose Streets Our Streets member, member of the Transportation Equity Workgroup, and former candidate for Seattle City Council. She also has a small business – Porter Projects, where she consults on transportation projects. Whew! She really does it all!

In this online presentation from Bike Works on 8/19/20, she discusses her cycling journey – from starting as a casual rider, to cycling in the fast group with the Rainier Riders, to becoming a leader in Seattle safe streets activism, all the way to running for office, visiting the Governor’s mansion and starting a cycling club for Black women in Seattle!

Check for upcoming in this “Bicycle Stories” series on our web calendar. And check our YouTube channel for previous bicycle stories including Jim Labayen’s 24 hour mountain bike race and Denise LaFountaine’s solo bike tour to the Arctic and back!

If you enjoy these events and would like to support Bike Works in producing more, consider making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit.

Welcome Ed Ewing as new Deputy Director

Ed Ewing starts at Bike Works as Deputy Director on August 3rd, 2020!

We are pleased to announce that Ed Ewing joins the Bike Works leadership team as Deputy Director on Monday, August 3rd. Ed brings 31 years of marketing, sales, project development, strategic planning, and nonprofit leadership experience to this position. In 2007, he co-founded and directed the Major Taylor Project, a youth development cycling initiative focused on creating access and opportunities for Black and brown youth in diverse and underserved communities. He is an active and inspiring community member in many realms with a wealth of experience developing and implementing racial equity-focused programs with community-minded solutions. Ed has served on Bike Works’ Racial Equity Taskforce for the past few years and has long been a friend and supporter of our organization. He brings strong community ties to his work and leads by building authentic relationships and promoting collective voice.

Ed has cycled competitively since 1983, and still actively races today. He is also a founding member of the Rainier Riders Cycling Club. From youth development, to community building, to cycling education, Ed’s extensive knowledge and skills will be invaluable to Bike Works as we enter our 25th year as an organization and work toward some ambitious goals.

On why he has accepted this position with Bike Works, Ed says, “The passion and commitment of the Bike Works staff, board, volunteers, and supporters positively transforms the lives of youth. This aligns with my personal and professional beliefs. I feel blessed to be working with such an amazing organization.”

Bike Works Board Chair, Dr. Rayburn Lewis, has known Ed for a long time: “I first worked with Ed Ewing as Cascade Bicycle Club was starting the Major Taylor Project.  His work there, subsequent positions, and knowledge of the cycling world combined with his commitment to social justice make him perfect for this position. We are fortunate to have him join Bike Works where all of his strengths will be beneficial to our organization and our community.

Bike Works Staff and Board look forward to the leadership and vision Ed will bring to Bike Works in the years to come. We will soon launch our new Strategic Plan for 2021-2025 — sign up for email updates about this plan and more at bikeworks.org/about. Welcome to Bike Works, Ed!

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!