2nd Cycle returns for a second cycle with Mary Bridge Children’s Courage
Inside a bright yellow storefront in the heart of Tacoma’s Hilltop lives a community gem: 2nd Cycle, a community bike shop that prides itself on supporting and educating the Tacoma cycling community.
“We are not your typical bike shop,” says Executive Director Noah Struthers.
Struthers is an industry veteran; he’s worked with bikes in some capacity since he was 16 years old. 2nd Cycle was born in 2007 out of a conversation between Struthers and his friend Travis Martin.
Struthers was tired of the retail world and wanted to work with bikes in a more meaningful way. Both men saw a need in Tacoma for an affordable and accessible bike shop.
“It started with just me and my friends drinking beers and fixing friends’ and neighborhood kids’ bikes,” Struthers says.
Today, 2nd Cycle provides a community space and tools for people to fix their bikes, get expert advice from trained mechanics and buy used bikes. The shop is open to anyone — 2nd Cycle operates on a sliding scale so people pay what they can afford.
2nd Cycle also offers community programs such as Earn-A-Bike, an 8-week course teaching youth about bike maintenance, from fixing a flat tire to brake adjustments. Kids build a bike from the ground up that they keep and, at the end of the course, participate in a group ride to learn safe riding practices.
Although 2nd Cycle’s reach and capacity has grown dramatically, their mission has stayed the same.
“A lot of people nowadays don’t spend time fixing things,” Struthers says. “If you have the skills, tools and knowledge to fix and maintain your own bike, you’re much more likely to become a lifelong cyclist. At 2nd Cycle we build the capacity of our community to work on their own stuff.”
Struthers wants community members to be empowered to fix their own bike, but more than that he wants to share the cycling experience with others.
“It’s not about the bike, it’s about the ride,” he says. “At this point, I am not attached to any one bike. I enjoy working on them as mechanisms —the simple beauty of mechanics — but it’s not about the bike itself. It is what you do on them.”
Struthers’s love of cycling is what led him to Mary Bridge Children’s Courage for the first time in 1999. At the age of 17, he completed the three-day ride — the longest ride he had ever done.
Mary Bridge Children’s Courage is a weekend cycling adventure Aug. 26–27 benefitting the 250,000 children served by Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Network each year.
Although his first ride with Courage was memorable, one of Struthers’ fondest memories of Courage was seeing a long-time member of 2nd Cycle’s community ride Courage in 2016.
“The coolest part of last year’s race was seeing one of our own kids, DeShawn, participate,” he says. “I have known DeShawn since he was 10. He used to hang around on his BMX bike while we were still operating out of the storage unit. Watching him crush that ride with his team was awesome. Made me think about riding Courage for the first time when I was his age.”
This year will be 2nd Cycle’s second year at Courage assisting with the Support and Gear (SAG) crew. The SAG crews are an essential part of the Courage experience, providing support for hundreds of riders by performing safety checks, fixing flat tires and solving any mechanical problems that may occur during the ride.
This year’s 2nd Cycle SAG crew will include Struthers, Youth Programs Coordinator and shop mechanic Shelbi Virgil, and 2nd Cycle’s new shop van. Tacoma Bike will also participate.
Courage SAG crews are vital to the success and safety of the ride, providing critical support free of charge so that all participants’ dollars go directly to the children of Mary Bridge.
“We help with Courage because giving back to our community is our driving force. It’s all over our mission statement, to support our community,” Struthers says.
About The Author
Kortney Scroger is a communication specialist for the MultiCare Foundations. She writes stories that connect readers to the impact of giving. You can reach her at [email protected].More stories by this author