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!
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 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!
This event has a rich history of strengthening neighborhood support for education, providing services to families in need and generating involvement in neighborhood projects that improve quality of life.
Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC)
Bike Works is supporting the Rainier Beach Back2School Bash through the Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) and Rainier Beach Moving Forward (RBMF) in partnership with residents and dozens of organizations from the neighborhood by hosting a backpack & school supplies drive!
The goal of this drive is to provide students and families with backpacks, school supplies and information about neighborhood and educational resources, food, clothing and entertainment. We invite you to join with residents, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, and local businesses to make the Rainier Beach Back2School Bash a success.
At Bike Works, we are saddened and outraged by the recent murders that have ignited the justified outpouring of anger and grief across the country and the world. Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Manuel Ellis, George Floyd, David McAttee, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Breonna Taylor are just the most recent people to be murdered, along with too many others.
Through the grief comes hope as we see so many organizations and people exposing the pandemic of racism that plagues every aspect of our society. Real, systemic, institutional change must happen. The moment has come for everyone to join the longtime organizers who have been doing decades and centuries of hard work to make liberty and justice for all a reality.
“Systemic and cultural racism harms all families and it will take a multi-racial movement to end racism. Black families, our work is not only to dismantle the oppressive system but to use our organizing as a tool to heal from internalized oppression and help our people get a sense of their own power outside of the system. Non-black people of color, we can now see more clearly that the anti-black racism that this country was built on has used and abused your communities as well, especially in the wake of the targeted racial harassment of people of Asian American descent and the scapegoating of an entire people as the cause of COVID 19. Your organizing must address anti-blackness if you are going to ever truly be free of oppression. White folks, your work is in your communities. Learn your history, how you became white and the history of resistance of white folks working to undo racism. Organize and build a humanistic approach that takes responsibility for all white people- even your republican, conservative, liberal or overtly racist family members. When you deeply understand how the concept of whiteness has dehumanized you and harms your communities it can fuel you to work even harder to Undo racism.”
We invite you, our community, to hold Bike Works accountable to our anti-racist aspirations today and in the years to come. You can find our Racial Equity Action Plan for 2017 – 2020 on the “About” page of our website. We will share our new plan for 2021 – 2025 later this year and invite you to engage in dialogue and action with us to fight for the health, safety, prosperity, and happiness of our Black and brown family, neighbors, and friends.
Our shop, warehouse, and programs are currently on hold in order to keep our community as safe and healthy as possible during this time of social distancing. Despite being temporarily closed to the public, the Bike Works staff are still working – building bikes, writing curriculum, investigating new ways to provide products and services, and planning for the future.
Since last fall, our staff, Board of Directors, Youth Advisory Committee, and Racial Equity Task Force have been working with facilitators from Beloved Community to draft our next strategic plan to take us from 2021 – 2025 (check out our 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan on our website here). Beloved Community is a non-profit consulting firm focused on implementing regional, sustainable solutions for diversity, equity, and inclusion. In order to keep up the momentum around this work, and to increase our collective learning, we are all reading a book about race, racism, and/or equity.
Here are the books we are reading – let us know if you’ve got additional recommendations or favorites from this list!
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.
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.
Bikecitement! is Bike Works’ annual fundraising dinner & auction, an event with a goal of raising over $300,000 for our youth and community programs.
This year’s event will be on Sunday, March 22, at Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center (305 Harrison St). The theme is The Magic of the Bicycle. The Lead Décor Volunteer should be a witch, warlock, fairy, goblin, or any other being with artistic or crafty skills & sensibilities. The Lead Décor Volunteer will design and implement key components of the event décor to make this event as enchanting & otherworldly as possible!
Please note: a modest budget will be set aside for all decoration efforts – the Lead Décor Volunteer is not expected to spend any of their own money or provide any supplies for this project unless they explicitly choose to do so.
The Lead Décor Volunteer must be available on March 22 from 10 AM – 4:30 PM to help set up for the event. Breakfast & lunch will be provided, plus one ticket to the auction & dinner.
Work with Bike Works & event staff to create a plan for decorating the venue. This could include signage, centerpieces, and other magical elements, but does not include linens, dishes, or other event essentials.
Participate in two auction planning meetings on Monday, February 3 from 2:30 to 4 pm & Monday, February 24 from 4 to 5:15 pm, schedule permitting.
Get crafty by creating the design elements and sourcing any necessary materials (to be reimbursed by Bike Works.)
Coordinate volunteer work party for decoration creation (if necessary).
Determine volunteer needs/schedule for day-of and communicate these needs to Volunteer Coordinator.
Attend the volunteer training on Thursday, March 17 from 6 to 7 pm.
Lead décor setup of venue day of the auction (this is an all-day commitment for the day of the event on March 22, 2020 from 10 AM – 4:30 PM)
Décor Focus Areas
General signage inside & outside
Silent Auction table display
Dessert Dash table display
Stage backdrop display
Table Centerpieces (48 total)
Interested in leading the decoration efforts at Bikecitement! 2020: The Magic of the Bicycle on March 22, 2020? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a short paragraph outlining your interest, arts & crafts background, and/or experience with large events by Monday January 27th. Please include one or two example ideas of a magical table centerpiece.
Charlotte Thistle (better known to some as “Miss Charlotte”) is a regular customer at the Bike Works bike shop, a full-time bicycle commuter and the founder of Miss Charlotte’s “Music for Tots”. She teaches music classes for kids from birth through age 8 in Rainier Beach, Columbia City and Laurelhurst! (Check out her website, misscharlottemusic.com). Charlotte wrote this blog post outlining 11 compelling reasons to trade in your car for a bicycle!
1. You’ll save money.
Monthly car payments? Gone. Insurance? No more. Parking? Forget it. Maintenance, repairs, tickets? All ancient history. A solid commuter bicycle costs $200 or less. To combine cycling with public transit, get yourself a monthly transit pass for $100. For those times when you need to transport a heavy load, run errands or do something special, join a car share program such as Car2go, Reach Now or Zip Car.
2. You’ll be happier.
Spending hours a day trapped in a stuffy metal box on the freeway doesn’t make anyone happy. In fact, researchers have shown that car commuters are more likely to be depressed than people who walk, cycle or take public transit to work, even when their commutes take longer.1
3. Your health will improve.
According to the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (as well just as plain old common sense) cycling is the urban transport mode associated with the greatest health benefits. Lowered blood pressure, improved circulation, stronger bones and better cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility and joint mobility are just a few of the health benefits you may experience with a switch to bicycle commuting.2
4. You’ll be sexier.
You’ll develop a healthy, radiant glow, lose weight, and build muscle – without spending a dime at the gym! In fact, if you think of the extra time added to your commute as replacing a daily gym workout, you’ll realize you’re saving time and money.
5. Everything you eat will be delicious.
You might be amazed how much better everything you eat will taste. Now that you’re working up an appetite with regular exercise, that stuff in the cafeteria that tasted like cardboard last week will suddenly become juicy and amazing! (For real.)
6. You’ll get to know your neighbors.
Being out and about, walking or biking or waiting for the train or bus, you’ll notice people and things in your neighborhood you never knew were there. You’ll discover a world of wonders right on your very own block!
7. You’ll use your time more wisely.
When it’s no longer easy to just ‘dash to the store’ for one or two items, you’ll plan ahead so those extra trips become unnecessary. You’ll do all the errands you need to do in one part of town on the same day, and you’ll feel confident about saying no to time-wasting activities you never wanted to do in the first place. You’ll spend less time running around, and more time doing the things that really matter.
8. You’ll gain confidence in yourself.
When you know that you, yourself, can provide the energy to get up those hills and cover those miles, you’ll have a new sense of your own personal power. You’ll realize that you are much stronger and more capable than you previously imagined.
9. You’ll re-arrange your life the way you always wanted it.
You’ll find a way to make your life work – and it will be better. Maybe you’ll move closer to work, work closer to home or even work from home. Or perhaps you’ll join a carpool a couple of days a week, and make some new friends – or utilise public transit, and find you have extra time to read. There are many ways to commute successfully without owning a car.
10. You’ll feel good about your impact on the world.
The single most destructive thing you do every day is drive a car. Exhaust from your tailpipe poisons oceans, rivers, trees and the air we breathe, and contributes to global climate change. In the United States alone, over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year and 2 million more are injured or disabled.3 An estimated 1 million animals are run over by cars everyday.4 If you care at all about water, air, trees, people or animals, the first, most important step you can take towards positive change is to give up your car – for good.
11. You’ll be setting a good example for others.
Do you have children? Employees? Students? Co-workers? Show them it’s possible to live well without a car. When they see you succeed, they may follow your lead.
“The first time I understood what freedom and strength meant, I was on my bike.”
On May 25-26th, Bike Works Program Coordinator Jim Labayan rode the (20th annual & last-ever) 24 Hours Round the Clock mountain bike race in Spokane WA during his 24th year. On his blog, Forks, he reflects on what motivated him to take on this challenge, from simply wanting to have autonomy over when to get his next sugar fix, to measuring up to his absurdly fit older brother Gus, to leading high school students on the 210 mile ride from Seattle to Portland with the Major Taylor Project. Read the whole story here about the challenges and lessons he learned from this experience.
Climbing “First Hill”
“I first felt a strong pull to long distance cycling when I rode around the Washington Olympic Peninsula in 2013. Truthfully, it was awful in many ways. I was lonely, hungry, and green. But it also offered me so much escape from the pent up traumas of my cross-cultural and turbulent upbringing. I fell in love with the rhythm of climbing hills, the fatigue in my legs, the aching in my back, soreness in the arches of my feet… I fell in love with getting lost — mentally and geographically.
…This race is for the times that I fell short of expectations. This one is for the people who told me I wasn’t enough. This one is for the times I was doubted because of my age, my ethnicity, or my introversion, or my awkwardness. Whether it is 15 hours or 24 hours or the top step of the podium, I know I will have implemented every lesson; relived every emotion that I’ve experienced through a lifetime of bike riding. And that is enough.
…Altogether, I rode for a total of 19 hours 32 minutes and 51 seconds. I rode over 200 miles and climbed over 11,000 feet. I got two hours of sleep, and the rest of the time was spent taking small breaks. I narrowly earned third place by finishing 9 minutes ahead of fourth place — and extremely narrow margin for a 24 hour race. More data can be found here for all you cyclists, data nerds, or for those curious enough…
That being said, I could have done better. If I had not slept and ridden through the rain, I might be sitting in second place. But that is not the point. I laid everything that I was willing to offer down on the line. And that is enough.”
Jim Labayan is a Program Coordinator for Bike Works, working with youth & adults on bicycle ridership, ownership, and leadership skills. He has been with the organization since September of 2018.