The New Washington Bikes

Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, and Elizabeth Kiker, Executive Director

Barb Chamberlain, Chief Strategic Officer, and Elizabeth Kiker, Executive Director

We headed into 2016 with a new organizational structure to carry out a statewide mission. What does that look like now, as we’ve settled in a bit?

In short, fantastic! We’re now working on an update to two strategic plans–one for Cascade Bicycle Club, one for Washington Bikes. It’s high time for an overview and an invitation to ask questions, with a touch of IRS regulations just to spice things up–

The Washington Bikes mission of statewide advocacy, education and outreach continues under two organizational names and roles with some evolution and realignment. Former Washington Bikes executive director Barb Chamberlain now serves as the Chief Strategic Officer for Cascade Bicycle Club as well as for WA Bikes, while Blake Trask serves as Senior Director of Policy for both organizations.

Ride Your Bike, Support Statewide Work

Two big events to be aware of as opportunities to support Washington Bikes that formerly were associated with Cascade:

Seattle to Portland (STP): This iconic destination ride now serves as a joint fundraiser for Washington Bikes and Cascade Bicycle Club. When you register for STP you’re supporting statewide policy work and help for advocates around the state along with education and outreach.

Bike Everywhere Challenge: We encourage people to register for commute challenges wherever you live as a way of being counted and connecting with the groups that organize these events. In the Puget Sound region (and beyond) people who register for the Bike Everywhere Challenge can choose to donate to support our policy work. (Since Washington Bikes is now a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, this donation is not tax-deductible.)

What Each Organization Is Doing in the Early Days

Note that this list is not our updated strategic plan for either organization. It’s where responsibilities rest while we go through the planning process.

Cascade Bicycle Club is now a 501(c)(3) public charity that is expanding its mission to be statewide. Donations to support this work are tax-deductible, and any time you register for a Cascade event ride you’re supporting its charitable work across the state. Activities you’ll find under the Cascade name that formerly rested with Washington Bikes:

  • Washington Bike Summit: Cascade now presents the annual statewide bike conference with Washington Bikes a sponsor of the event. Save the date: March 20-21, 2017, in Olympia.
  • Local group partnerships: Cascade is committed to continuing the strong partnership culture Washington Bikes established with groups all across the state. A few examples of what’s already under way:
    • Chief Strategic Officer Barb Chamberlain will travel the state to strengthen these partnerships and support efforts of local groups in highlighting the value of bicycling to their hometowns, backed up by other Cascade staff efforts and visits.
    • A Statewide News section has been added to the Cascade e-newsletter Braking News. (To sign up for Cascade’s e-news, see the link at the bottom of the Cascade home page.)
    • The Cascade Courier print publication now includes news stories from around the state. 
  • Education: Bicycle/pedestrian middle school safety curriculum funded by a grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is delivered by the Cascade Education Department. The curriculum is being aligned with the primary-school curriculum Cascade delivers in Seattle Public Schools and high-school encouragement programs such as the Major Taylor Project. Key Contact: Shannon Koller,
  • Share the Road license plates: Revenue from these supports educational materials, classes, and marketing of the plates. We look forward to seeing more and more plates on the road as mini-billboards for safer streets. The extra fee for the specialty plate is now a tax-deductible donation to Cascade to support statewide education.
  • Bike data: The bicycle/pedestrian permanent counter project funded by WSDOT is being managed by the Policy and Planning staff, along with the statewide volunteer bike/pedestrian count conducted each fall. Key contact: Jeff Aken,
  • Bike tourism: The economic value of Cascade rides and connections with communities rides touch are increasingly part of the Cascade message and mission. Cascade will be developing a library of downloadable rides for people to plan a bike outing on their own or with friends. Key contact: Barb Chamberlain,
  • Advocacy: Cascade continues its support for bike advocacy. Key contact: Blake Trask,

Washington Bikes continues to work statewide, now as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit affiliated with Cascade Bicycle Club. A new board is being appointed with statewide representation.

  • State policy: Our work in Olympia during the legislative session and around the state with advocates who want to influence state policy continues under the Washington Bikes name. Key contact: Blake Trask,
  • Local group partnerships: Washington Bikes will always be a partner to local groups. Depending on the focus of the group’s efforts, partnership activities might be carried out by either or both Washington Bikes in its c4 capacity and by Cascade. Key contact: Barb Chamberlain,
  • Candidate endorsements: Formerly carried out under the Cascade name when it was a c4, political endorsements are now an activity of Washington Bikes. We’ll spend some time evaluating how this works for a statewide organization. Key contact: Blake Trask,
  • Bike tourism: We have a lot of great travel information on this site. We’ll continue to tell the story of the power of bikr tourism as economic development in our state policy work. Through either WA Bikes or Cascade we’ll work directly with communities interested in becoming Bicycle Friendly Communities and enriching their appeal as destinations for bike travel. Key contact: Barb Chamberlain,

By merging we created the nation’s largest statewide bike nonprofit organization and strengthened our ability to continue the policy work that has helped make Washington the #1 Bicycle Friendly State eight years in a row — so far. Roll with us into a bike-friendly future!




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