PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Cycle School plans to suspend its educational programs after two classes later this month.
The board of directors for the nonprofit organization has voted to put the programs on hold for the rest of the year, effective July 1.
“Despite a warm welcome from the community and important contributions from founders and donors, the school lacks resources and enrollment to reach the next level,” said Kees Kolff, one of the school’s founders and its treasurer.
“We are grateful for the generous benefactors that helped fund the development of curricula and teaching stations.”
The last wheel-building class of the year will be June 24-25, followed by a basic bike mechanics class June 26-30. Enrollment is still open and scholarships are available.
The school was founded in February 2018 and recently completed the process to become a licensed state workforce educational institution.
Kolff said it has been difficult to promote the school’s offerings to “a noisy and distant market.”
And, while the founders anticipated more support from the industry, Kolff said the bicycle scene in the country is in a state of contraction and disorder due to reduced national interest.
Recent tariffs are significantly affecting sales, Kolff said. At the same time, there is a widespread lack of public funds for vocational training, he said.
Also, launching a world-class training program in Port Townsend posed challenges that could not be overcome.
Kolff cited the distance from a major city and costly accommodations for students as barriers.
In the meantime, the school’s sister nonprofit, the Jefferson County ReCyclery, continues as a center for community cycling advocates and enthusiasts through educational programs and bicycle recycling services.
For more information on the cycle school’s June classes, visit www.ptcycle school.org.
Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].