Growing the STP Community with Bike Works, Ampersand, Asha, Ride for the Philippines and Gruppetto

  • Cascade is partnering with bike clubs and nonprofits whose missions align with ours to increase inclusion and belonging on the 2024 Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland presented by Alaska Airlines. 
  • Partners include Ampersand Bikes Club, Asha for Education, Foundation for Philippine Progress, Bike Works, and Gruppetto Cycling.
Riding my electric cargo bike is my favorite thing

Paul Tolmé

An Asha for Education rider finishing STP 2023

Cascade is working to make the 45th edition of the Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland presented by Alaska Airlines on July 13 and 14 the most diverse and welcoming STP ever.

For the third straight year, Cascade has partnered with bike clubs and nonprofits representing people of color and historically marginalized groups to join us as part of the STP Affinity Bike Clubs Partnership. The goal is to build mutually beneficial relationships and increase inclusivity with organizations that serve individuals of different races, gender identities, physical abilities, ages, and body types. 

“STP is a celebration of friendship and achievement that brings the bike community together and creates belonging for people from all walks of life,” says Executive Director Lee Lambert. 

Read about the groups training for STP below, and join them by registering for STP 2024.

Ampersand Bikes Club

The Ampersand Bikes Club was founded in 2021 following the Atlanta spa shootings in Georgia that killed six women of Asian heritage and coincided with a rise in anti-Asian hate incidents during the pandemic.

The goal of the group, known as ABC, is to create a safe environment where individuals of Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and multiracial identities can gather to ride bikes and celebrate their cultures. ABC’s monthly Ramen Rides are extremely popular with members.

Two ABC riders on the University Bridge
Several ABC riders cross the University Bridge in the early morning light during STP 2023

This is the third straight year that Ampersand riders are training for STP. “Our training this year consists of monthly Second Saturdays rides that are essentially distance rides with three pace groups: cozy, party, and spicy,” says co-founder Jim Labayen, who works as the adult education manager at Bike Works.

Labayen, who is of Filipino heritage, expects 20-plus Ampersand riders to participate in STP this year. Training for and participating in STP as a group builds camaraderie and community and offers greater safety than training alone, he says.

“STP has always been a right of passage. The act of riding from my doorstep all the way to another city brings great reward and satisfaction,” Labayen says. Riding with and drafting and supporting fellow riders with food and water and assistance makes it an act of community building, he adds.

Labayen anticipates that a group of Ampersand riders will likely also participate in the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party, RSVP, in August.

“One of the ways we build community and promote inclusivity," Labayen says, "is to show up.”

Asha for Education

Asha for Education is a nonprofit that provides education to underprivileged children throughout India to help reduce illiteracy, poverty, and exploitation. For the past 16 years, the group’s Seattle chapter has organized a team to train for and ride STP as a fundraiser.

“This year we have a team of close to 40 members which includes seven youth riders,” says Mugdha Kshirsagar,” one of the Asha Biking Team organizers. Eight of those riders are training to complete STP in one day. “This will be our biggest one-day team ever.”

Asha for Education Biking Team members at the 2023 finish
Asha Biking Team members celebrating at the finish line of STP 2023

Since its inception the team has gotten bigger and stronger each year thanks to a group of experienced volunteers who have developed “a well-organized training plan with routes that explore our beautiful Pacific Northwest,” Kshirsagar says. 

Asha Biking Team organizers also provide guidance to newcomers on how to buy a bike, biking accessories, nutrition before and after rides, bike maintenance, and fitness plans. 

“Rider safety and proper biking etiquette is the heart and soul of our training program,” Kshirsagar says. “We believe in developing confident and independent riders who can successfully achieve their riding goals.”

The greatest satisfaction, however, is that “at the end of the season, our physical efforts get translated into funds for those in need.” Learn more about Asha’s Seattle chapter here.

Asha rider in 2023
Asha Biking Team organizer Seema Chaudhary smiles during STP 2023.

Bike Works

Bike Works is a bedrock of the Seattle-area bicycling community and a close partner with Cascade that promotes the bicycle as a vehicle for change to empower youth and build resilient communities. As in years past, Bike Works is again holding training rides for individuals who want to complete STP.

Bike Works training ride
Bike Works STP training ride.

Program Director Rich Brown has been organizing training rides since early in the year and he anticipates 15 to 20 members of the Bike Works community, including eight to 10 youth, will participate in STP 2024. 

Brown, who has done STP eight times, is a hero of the Seattle bicycling community who was honored earlier this year as a Hero of the Deep at a Seattle Kraken home game by the Kraken Unity Fund. Brown previously managed Cascade’s Major Taylor Project before going to work for Bike Works.

At Bike Works, Brown has designed and led biking, mechanic, and advocacy programs to engage youth in Columbia City and South Seattle communities with a focus on racial equity. Training youth and adults of color to complete STP aligns with Brown’s desire to promote cycling in South Seattle, engage community members, and address racial disparities.

Rich Brown
Rich Brown.

Read about Brown’s Hero of the Deep award on the Bike Works website.

Gruppetto Cycling Club

Gruppetto at the finish of STP 2023
Gabe Castillo (right) at the finish line with Gruppetto rider Monique in 2023.

Born in the Philippines, Cascade Board Member Gabe Castillo is helping to build a peloton of Filipino bike riders for STP.

After riding his first STP in 1997, Castillo formed Gruppetto Cycling Club as a way to find more riding buddies. Due to Castillo’s Filipino heritage, Gruppetto has become a hub for bike riders of Filipino and Asian descent.

“We want to get the word out that Cascade is an all-inclusive bicycle club,” Castillo says, adding that he knows there is room to grow interest in bicycling within the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. “We are all trying to celebrate our culture and get our people to be more involved in bicycling.”

Roger Rigor riding for the Philippines during STP 2023.
Roger Rigor riding for the Philippines during STP 2023.

Ride for the Philippines

The Ride for the Philippines is a fundraiser led by Pinoy cyclists and volunteers for the Foundation for Philippine Progress “to support health and wellness in our communities back home,” says Roger Rigor, chairperson of the group’s board of directors. 

Last year, more than 100 riders participated–many of them wearing purple jerseys or purple banners to show their Filipino pride. 

The Foundation hopes to raise $15,000 to support people in the Philippines who are being harmed by more powerful storms and more frequent climate calamities due to global warming.

People can learn more about the ride by joining the Ride for the Philippines Coalition’s Facebook page. 

Foundation for Philippine Progress poster.

Join the STP Affinity Bike Clubs Partnerships

Cascade is honored to partner with the Ampersand Bikes Club, Asha for Education, Bike Works and Gruppetto Cycling, and we look forward to pedaling alongside them at STP.

Do you work with or support a bike club or nonprofit that would like to partner with Cascade for STP 2025 or RSVP? Contact us at info at cascade dot org. 

“STP is a big group ride, not a race, and everyone is invited to join us,” Lambert says. “We welcome and encourage anyone who has a desire to test their bike endurance and do the required training to come ride with us.”

Register for STP 2024

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