Back when I first started biking, I went to The Bikery to learn more about bike maintenance. I was greeted by a friendly volunteer who helped demystify upkeep of my bike. This was back when they were operating out of a Central District community center. The Bikery has since grown and now operate out of a dedicated location nestled between the Central District and the International District. I decided it was time to revisit and see if I could pay it forward. I went down to The Bikery’s Volunteer Orientation this past Sunday to learn more about this awesome space and spend time with Bex, one of the great female mechanics there.
If you don’t know, The Bikery is all-volunteer run, non-profit, community bike located near 14th and Jefferson. Their mission is to engage people from all backgrounds, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, class, age, or ability and has been one of Seattle biggest proponents of empowering more cyclists including female specific maintenance classes.
They live and breathe by their tagline: “Fix it. Ride It. Teach Others.” This space is unique because it is purely for empowering people to work on their bikes via access to space, tools, parts, and knowledge. The resources at this friendly place truly impressed me. For a rate of $5 an hour you get access to a wealth of bike tools, 3 bike stands, two large work benches, two wheel truing stands, and guidance from their volunteers.
They also have a great work exchange program where every hour of volunteering gets you $5 in Bikery bucks. This can also be used on their ridiculous collection of parts sold at low not-for-profit prices. Short of frame repair, I can’t image anything that couldn’t be done here. The mechanics will give you the guidance you need, but make no mistake you will be the one doing the work. Their goal is not to fix bikes, but to empower people to fix their own bikes. While they do have some sweet bikes for sale, it is only to help fund this great space; this is not a traditional bike shop.
To help keep The Bikery as diverse as possible, they are especially looking for more female volunteers. It’s a great way to meet awesome people, give back to the community, and gain more knowledge yourself. They have a variety of needs from working a shift (just three hours a week), to participating in work parties, promotions, or fund-raising. Dont think you don’t have enough knowledge to help! Bex stated when she started volunteering she barely knew how to change a tire. Even someone to just say hi and give a welcoming smile is important.
I was psyched after the orientation and plan on shadowing a shift next Tuesday. Join me in volunteering! For more info check out their volunteer page, stop by the space or head down to their Volunteer Orientations usually on fourth Friday of the month at noon. If you can’t make weekends keep an eye out for weekday orientations or shoot an email to Bex at email@example.com.