Kevin Shintaku's Fundraiser
$425 towards $1,500
My story with 2nd cycle goes back a decade ago when I first entered a little hole in the wall in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma. A small shop that offered self-repair services and bike sales was open sporadically on weekends only, where friends of mine would go in and work on their bikes. After my Trek bike was stolen, I needed a replacement on the cheap. There it was – the purple Falcon. I pulled out about $200 cash and started getting to work, learning the ins and outs of how to get the thing running.
I spent many weekends at the shop learning and eventually becoming a volunteer staff. I knew I would learn from those around me in community and environment, something I was studying for my thesis as I was finishing up my M.A.T. program at the University of Puget Sound. As a teacher I was experiencing this in the music classroom, but on my weekends, 2nd cycle was my retreat and I was a learner again. I was a "level 1 mechanic" learning quickly how to change out parts, safety check, and find creative solutions to mechanical problems.
Just like in the
classroom, I found myself working with kids from the neighborhood
coming in on the weekends, learning the same way I was. The shop was
as much a space for them as it was for me, as they were learning the
same skills fixing up their bikes and swapping out parts from the
bins. I was also learning to be a better teacher, and pass down the same skills that were shown to me.
Sticking with it, I would see 2nd cycle move to two new locations in the Hilltop as space needs exceeded the limitations of the building it organized. I watched it move from being a collective of bike punks to being a full on non-profit. I even feel conflicted about this identity most of the time. I used to love the loud thrash shows we would throw in the back space (not like they have really stopped putting on the occasional shop concert...) Overall, the fact that we can support the community while also taking care of a supportive staff has only made the space more accessible to everyone and opened more programs up.
By the time I was ready to complete my volunteer service with 2nd cycle the purple Falcon was complete. This is a bike that is unmistakably my bike. I have put countless hours taking the bike apart and back together, adding just the right components as I came across them at the shop. Three coats of purple nail polish over the rust later and it shines and sparkles, patched up with scratched 2nd cycle stickers that have survived their share of falls and scuffs. A wise mechanic once told me, “steel is real”. This steel bike has bent to my shape in every way, and it has carried me on many adventure tours around the northwest from the Seattle to Portland ride, Oregon Coast tour, Olympic Discovery Trail, and Washington's many islands. This bike has come to represent freedom and independence beyond being my daily commuter for years.
My time now with 2nd cycle is now spent giving back as a sustaining donor and a board member. As I finish my 3rd year of service on the board, its beautiful to see how much growth has come from the organization. Programs have grown in scope and focus around a set of solid community building values: intentional youth riding and build a bike programs and camps, Women/Transgender nights, community rides, programs for incarcerated folks, recycling drives, and more to come. All the while, people have seen how valuable this space has become and continue to utilize the space more than ever. That's why 2nd cycle needs to expand yet again to be ready to serve a much larger community than just the Hilltop – people are utilizing this service beyond Tacoma and beyond Pierce county.
A culminating ride for me was last summer. Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis, and so many other Black people by the police, staying silent was no longer an option, and individuals and organizations had to act to bring attention to change. With some other leaders in Seattle, I helped organize a demonstration called Peace Peloton Tacoma with over 300 riders riding a 10-mile loop taking to the major streets of Tacoma to support Black owned businesses and connect with local activists. At the helm of the ride and providing the most support was all of the 2nd cycle staff, offering safety and mechanical support. I am continually impressed with 2nd cycle's commitment to following through with its values and showing up when it is critical.
As we move forward into uncertain times, I am certain that this organization will continue to provide essential services for everyone in the South Puget Sound area. I have over a decade of stories to go on about, but I'll leave it at maybe this most important one: public health, lockdowns, and being stuck inside has been hard on all of us this past year. Let's support 2nd cycle now so we have a robust recovery, getting more butts on bikes, and giving more people the chance to explore the freedom and joy of being out on a bicycle.
Thank you and ride on!
Vice Chair, Board of Directors