The Evergreen Bike Shop: Creating A Safe Space

By Josh Wolf

Over the past few months, The Evergreen Bike Shop has revised and refocused its strategies. During September, volunteers released a new edition of their handbook.This new handbook, collaboratively written by members of the bike shop community, serves as a resource for volunteers, filled with “straightforward practices to move toward true equal access and justice in our own local bike shop.”

The handbook is centered on anti-sexism work, in order to create a safe-space where all are welcome. Bike shop volunteers and patrons alike have noticed a growing “male domination of bike shop spaces,” states the handbook. To address this problem, volunteers are training and working together to strengthen their safe-space commitment.

Most of the bike shop’s practices are based around respect and consent. Volunteers are taught to “always ask before you inspect, touch, or otherwise adjust something on someone’s bike.” Also, volunteers work to respect people’s pronouns, and to “avoid language that makes gender assumptions.”

Another project that the bike shop has focused on is Lady and Trans Night. Lady and Trans Night is every Tuesday from 4-7pm, and is only open to “womyn and trans folk.” According to the handbook, Lady and Trans Night was created to provide “a space where women and transgender people are freed up to decompress, heal, and enjoy the bike shop.”

“The Evergreen Bike Shop is a bicycle resource center, volunteer run since 1977, dedicated to making cycling accessible and practical to everyone in the greater Olympia area,” stated the bike shop’s mission statement. Volunteers provide access to a DIY bike shop, equipped with tools, free parts, and educational resources, but their model is different from a for-profit bike shop. The Evergreen Bike Shop does not sell or rent bikes and “volunteers are not meant to be a source of free labor for patrons,” their handbook stated. Volunteers frequently help patrons with their bike, but their main responsibility is “to keep the shop open, clean, and friendly.

In the past, shop volunteers have given away bikes that they have built for free, instead of selling them.

“When we work toward a more fair world…we all benefit—not just those targeted based on race, gender, ability, age, sexual orientation, etc.,” wrote bike shop volunteer and handbook author, Ben Chassler Lucal.

If you want to volunteer, go to The Evergreen Bike Shop at 2 PM any Wednesday for their weekly collective meeting.