Dear friends, family and customers of Gladys Bikes, 

I am unbelievably excited to tell you about a new partnership we have: Starting in June 2015 Gladys Bikes will be donating $50 from each semi-custom bicycle we build to support the work of Rose Haven, a non-profit day shelter and community space in NW Portland serving women and children experiencing the trauma of abuse, loss of home and other disruptive life challenges.


One of the main goals of Gladys Bikes is to support and empower women through bicycles. I’m thrilled that we get to do that for our customers on a daily basis.

That said, we’re a business. We do our best to work within people’s budgets and respect their needs, but at the end of the day we can only serve folks who can afford what we sell. And while we get to work with many excellent folks (arguably the best lot of customers in the world), we want to support even more women -- including those who can’t afford our services -- through our love of bikes. This partnership will allow us to do just that.

Why not a bike-related donation?

We’re a people-first bike shop, which means that it’s important that we support folks where they’re at rather than making assumptions about what they might need or want. In the shop this means that we talk a lot with folks about their riding goals and bike dreams and then make recommendations based on our best knowledge, but ultimately trust that they know what is best for themselves. More broadly, this means that while we find bikes empowering and transformative in our own lives, we recognize that a bike is not what everyone wants or needs  -- we don’t want to assume that the best way to support people is by doing something we think is cool. Instead we like the idea of leveraging our love of bicycles to support folks in ways that make sense for them.

And so we are partnering with an organization, Rose Haven, that understands and deeply cares about the women they work with and respecting them to do the right thing with our contributions. Perhaps one day the support we provide will be used to get some of the guests of Rose Haven on bikes, but perhaps not. What’s more important is that we’re using our donations to meet people where they are at instead of telling them what we think they need.

Why Rose Haven?

We truly admire their approach. Instead of offering one-size-fits-all services, they partner with dozens of social service and support organizations in the region to provide their guests with the tailored support and advice that they uniquely need.

Additionally, when thinking about which organization we’d like to work with, three customers made mention of volunteering with the women at Rose Haven in the span of a few days. And then, when I went to meet with a member of their staff and tour the center, low and behold, the only other bike locked to the outside rack was the first semi-custom bike that we ever built -- it turns out its owner is also a regular volunteer at Rose Haven. I’d say it was meant to be.

Does this mean semi-custom bikes are going to be more expensive than they were before?


Why didn’t you start doing this sooner?

We waited until the business was in a healthy and stable financial place before considering any type of sustained giving relationship.  I wanted to make sure that Gladys could offer a measure of reliability and regularity in our giving, since long-term partnerships and stable funding streams are often most helpful to organizations, especially small ones. We’re starting at $50 leaving ourselves room to grow in this partnership. As we grow, hopefully our ability to support Rose Haven will as well.

How can I support Rose Haven even if I’m not buying a semi-custom bike?

We hope to hold events in the future to collect specific items that would be helpful to Rose Haven through the shop. In the meantime, we encourage you to give to them directly.


Feel free to email me at  I’d love to talk.


Leah Benson