Tag Archives: maintenance

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.

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.


The Bike Works Team


Riding In the Rain: Tips and Tricks

So far in this series of blog posts I’ve highlighted some winter riding gear to make winter riding more comfortable. In this post I’ll go over some tricks to make your winter riding safer and nicer on your bike.


Have you ever wondered what the best tire for wet weather conditions would be?  If it would be knobby or smooth? What advantages do “nicer” tires give you? These are all important things to think about. I’ve personally found my favorite commuting/touring tire to be Panaracer’s Pasela PT at the perfect width of 28mm.

This tire is pictured below on the left. Pasela’s are nice because their both puncture resistant and are made of a super supple, super grippy rubber winter riding 006compound. What this means is; a) your tires will not pick up as much glass from the roads, and b) the riding surface of the tires grip the road better so you are less likely to skid out. I want to emphasis “less likely” because skidding has a lot to do with how you take corners and braking technique. Don’t use your rear brake too heavily… especially in the rain while going around corners, you will skid out. It has happened to me. Sheldon Brown has an excellent article on braking and turning if you want to read more about this.

Riding on wider tires (a 28 or 32 mm width as apposed to the 23 or 25 mm you see on most road bikes) is nice because it is more stabilizing, less bumpy, and you have more tire surface to cling to the road. Another great all weather tire is Continental’s Touring Plus tire. Unlike the Pasela, Bike Works bike shop carries these tires for both Mountain and Road bikes (700c and 26”). The Touring Plus tire has an insane amount of flat protection and also a reflective strip around the circumference of the tire for visibility making it another great tire option. Having a lightly treaded tire is ideal for riding over wet pavement as it will provide the most contact. Sheldon Brown has some more to say on this subject too.

Brake Pads

Have you ever wondered why brake pads come in different colors? The colors represent different rubber compounds that correspond to different weather conditions. The 2 colors you’ll see the most often are black for dry conditions and salmon for wet conditions. Salmon brake pads have more stopping power in the rain; however, they are also more prone to squealing. Luckily, there are quite a few tricks for issues with squeaky brakes. They are:

  • Brake Pad Toe– adjust the alignment of your brake pads so that the front of your pads touch the rim before the rest of the pads. (pictured below)1399067434512
  • Cleaning– Use rubbing alcohol to clean off the grit and grime from the rims of your wheels as well as your brake pads. This is a good idea to do every couple of weeks. I’ve seen many squeaky brakes stem from not doing this. Cleaning your rims will also prolong the life of your brake pads as there will be less metal grit transferred to them from your rims.
  • Sanding– If all else fails you can use a light grade sandpaper to sand your rims. Using a cheese grader also works excellent for clearing off brake pads of metal gunk.


Quick side note: It is important to know when the appropriate time to change your brake pads is. Most pads will have a wear line marked on  the sides of the pads. Another way to tell when a pad is worn down is if there is no more tread left on the pad as pictured on the left.

General Maintenance

The most important tIMG_0676hing you can do for your bike during the winter is keeping your chain clean and lubed! I hear far too many scratchy chains on the road. Every week or so put a few drops of chain lube on the links of your chain, and then wipe off the excess with a rag. Be nice to your bicycle your bicycle will be nice to you!