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The Big Bike Jump

Second Cycle holds inaugural fundraiser at Museum of Glass

After nine years of community involvement and dedication to youth programming in Tacoma, Second Cycle is holding its inaugural fundraiser, The Big Bike Jump. Photo credit: Christina Butcher

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Nine years ago, Second Cycle opened its doors as a community cycle center in Tacoma. Since then, the nonprofit organization has been educating and supporting local cyclists by providing a community work space, bicycle maintenance classes, repair services and youth-centered bike programming to community members. This year, Second Cycle is celebrating its nine years of successful community development by holding its inaugural fundraiser, The Big Bike Jump, Oct. 21, at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma.

"We're blossoming and expanding," said Travis Martin, Second Cycle's operations director and one of several founding members. "We're growing, and we want to impact more people in the community."

The Big Bike Jump, which is primarily a fundraiser for Second Cycle's youth programing, will include live and silent auctions, glass blowing by Tacoma's Hilltop Artists in Residence, and a live bike jump by Galen Turner. For readers unfamiliar with the stunt, a bike jump is a neon-glass performance art project in which Turner will ride a bicycle through 90,000 volts of electrified neon glass tubing.  

"It's a weird, avant-garde art performance," said Noah Struthers, the executive director for Second Cycle and another of its founding members. "Galen Turner is a neon artist ... He's making a wall of neon (glass) tubing, and he's going to jump a bicycle through it. It's a celebration and a stunt."  

Turner, also known as "Gaytron the Imploder," has been collaborating with Second Cycle to hold the bike jump for the last six years.

"The important thing to remember is that it's as much a celebration of the work we've done as it is a fundraiser," said Struthers. "It's going to be lively, full and celebratory, and hopefully we raise a lot of money for our youth programs of 2018."

In addition to community building in Tacoma through its youth programs (including Summer Earn-A-Bike, in which youth learn how to build a bike that they can keep after completing eight weeks of mechanical instruction, and the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative -- JDAI -- which allows juvenile offenders to participate in community service at the cycle shop rather than being sent to juvenile detention), Second Cycle also works in surrounding military communities. In summer 2016, the cycle shop teamed up with National Guard Youth to hold Bicycle Rodeo, a bicycle repair and safety workshop for youth at Camp Lewis.

"A large number of people in this town are military (personnel)," said Struthers, "so it was natural that we held the event."

During Bicycle Rodeo, Second Cycle staff repaired a fleet of bicycles for close to 30 youth from military families, then held a bicycle safety course for the group. The organization has tentative plans to hold another Bicycle Rodeo event in the future.

"The military community is very self-reliant," said Struthers, "and a lot of what we do here is empower people to be self-reliant and work on their own things. We're a family-oriented organization and a lot of families like to bring their kids here to learn how to do things themselves. I think that sense of DIY culture connects with the military family."

Second Cycle also works with Catholic Community Services' Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) division to provide homeless veterans with free bicycles. For close to three years, the cycle shop has been donating bikes to homeless veterans who otherwise cannot bridge the gap between the limitations of public transportation and their needs for access to healthcare and job sites.

"This is a garrison town," said Martin. "A few of our board members are veterans, too, and some of our staff."  

Among those mentioned are Second Cycle board members Gerod Byrd, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and Eric Stout, a veteran of the U.S. Army. Both Martin and Struthers have family members who've served in the military as well.

"People join the military for a reason," said Martin. "They join to serve. That's an automatic connection to Second Cycle. We're all about service, too, about serving our community. That's one reason why a lot of military people are drawn to us."

The Big Bike Jump, 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21, Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, $25, 253.327.1916,

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