Jubbling Squared: Bike Works Seattle

Once again my kids are calling me cheap for deciding to purchase my 6 year old a brand new, pre-owned bicycle and I happily made the trip to Recycled Cycles. With a name like “Recycled Cycles,” you’d assume that they would have their way with Jubbling but that is not how it worked out. After making our purchase, I found out from Recycled Cycles that the majority of their sales are for new bikes vs. recycled ones. They were helpful though and told me to contact Bike Works Seattle as an organization that is focused on reselling recycled bikes.

Bike Works is the pinnacle of Jubbling and my only regret is that I didn’t find them first. Bike Works goal is to make biking “more accessible and affordable to people from all walks of life”. Their programs include “Earn-A-Bike” and an annual Kids Bike Swap. With Earn-A-Bike, kids spend 8 weeks learning bike repair and then donate 18 hours of their time repairing recycled bikes to get one of their own. It’s kind of a self-perpetuating Jubbling and is extremely valuable for kids. And Bike Works annual Kids Bike Swap is just that – bring your working, outgrown bicycle and swap it for another bicycle. It’s a great way to upgrade and also to keep a bike out of a landfill.

Their mission statement says it all:

The mission of Bike Works is to build sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. For more than a decade we’ve worked to educate and empower youth, and make bicycling accessible and affordable to the Seattle community.

Tina Bechler, Bike Works Program Director, told me that people find out about them through referrals from local bicycle stores, bicycle publications as well as a lot of word of mouth. Tina also told me about several similar organizations in other cities that can be found through the Youth Bicycle Education Network (yben.org). The site is currently down and should be live again soon.

So if you’re in need of some environmental penance and are considering the purchase of a carbon offset or credit to clear your conscience, throw your money toward an organization like Bike Works or a similar organization in your area instead. Or you could show your support by purchasing and making your kid’s next bike a pre-owned, barely loved bicycle. These organizations could use the help and you will have the satisfaction knowing that your money is going to be well spent.

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Jubbling: Riding the bus with kid(s)

Harry using his binoculars to find Bus 71

Harry using his binoculars to find Bus 71

The thought of standing at a dirty bus stop in the city with 1 or more kids does not sound very inviting but I think everyone should give mass transit another try.  It really is a great way to travel in and out of the city and the negative thought of standing at the “dirty bus stop” will turn out to be a great experience for the kids. For my trip, I had to hire my 6-year old son Harry and our goal was to hop on the bus in Downtown Seattle and travel to Wedgewood.  Harry was up for the challenge and had a lot of questions and comments including, “why can’t we drive?” and “dad – I think you’re just cheap”.  I sat the boy down and explained to him, in crayon, the idea of Jubbling and how it will one day play a significant role in his life.  He understood everything I told him, gave me a thumbs up and still concluded that I chose to ride the bus because I was cheap.  I can live with that.

Harry Glued to the Window

Harry Glued to the Window

Back to the trip. The first thing you have to do is tell your kid what bus # you are waiting for and in our case, it was bus 71.  The crowd at the bus stop was a good mix of everything – even a person with the cat on their shoulder.  It’s easy to see why 30 minutes of waiting will fly by as we checked every bus that went by until ours arrived. We climbed aboard and headed out.  Again, there was a lot to see and Harry was glued to the window and since I wasn’t driving, it was easy to point out the places in Seattle that we could go back to and doorways I’ve slept in.  Once we arrived at our destination, we spent some time in Wedgewood eventually hopped on the same bus, #71, and headed back to the big city.  On the return trip, Harry had mastered the old school bus rider technique of sleeping sitting up and he stayed asleep until we arrived back in Seattle.

Here are some tips for riding the bus with kids:

  • Go to the bathroom before you get on the bus.
  • Bring snacks or a lunch.
  • Get a transfer just in case you have to get off the bus.
  • Go to the bathroom before you get on the bus. (If you missed it the first time.)
Harry waiting for the bus home.

Harry waiting for the bus home.

We didn’t have to ride the bus and it’s not as convenient as driving but atleast now, my son knows there is another way to get around.  He looks forward to the next trip and even told me what bus numbers he wanted to ride next.  What was amazing to me was how well behaved Harry was on the bus and how his sister and brother were when they took the bus with me in the past. I think they feel like they’re on a school bus and they have to follow the rules.

At the end of our adventure, I had to ask Harry if he had fun and he told me “yes, I did have fun today.  But dad, I still love mommy more.”

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