About Us

The Port Townsend Cycle School is built around accredited training programs for bicycle mechanics but, more than other venues, the school will explore topics of design, fabrication, materials, athletics, history, and advocacy—all in celebration of the wonderful possibilities and beauty of bicycles.

Our ambitious program owes much to its unique locale. The Port Townsend area is a remote and scenic destination that’s become a center for arts, crafts, and sports. Here, a group of lifelong cyclists are inspired to create a cycle school like no other.

PT Cycle School is a 501c3 non profit seeking members, partners, and sponsors to join the journey. We are committed to offer scholarships to 20% of attendees, expand the diversity of participants, advocate for the less privileged, and grow the regional and global appreciation for cycling.

We’re excited to join those who are addressing the limitations and necessities of mobility and quality of life. This greater movement is a worldwide expression of the obligations and possibilities of human existence. Exciting work, yes? Please check our programs and make plans to visit.

The Port Townsend Cycle School Founders

David Engle

David enjoyed a varied and challenging career as a classroom teacher, principal, school coach, superintendent and educational consultant. He worked with school systems around the world (UK, Russian, China, Japan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Washington etc.) as well as working in the private sector with Educational Testing Service. Bikes were always part of his work commute wherever he’s lived and worked. David retired as Port Townsend’s Superintendent of Schools in 2016 after a challenging and rewarding time as a community leader.

Naturally, he is a passionate bicyclist. He has been riding since his early youth; both for practical and playful reasons. David has a collection of bikes that serve as functional reminders of a long career as a cyclist. He maintains a well-equipped bike shop in which he loves to build, maintain and tinker with all sorts and types of bicycles. This past summer, he completed a weeklong UBI bicycle maintenance class in Portland, Oregon. David especially enjoyed being a student again and doing something completely devoted to bikes with an amazing group of cyclists.

David Engle
Port Townsend, WA

Ric Hjertberg

After 40 years in the bicycle industry, focusing primarily on wheels, Ric has
become one of its more recognized names. He has taught wheel building around
the world, sharing techniques devised by builders of all types. His goal is to bring
you a concentrated learning experience so your progress can be measured in
years, not decades. Demystifying this wondrous miracle of mobility is fun for
teacher and students alike! 

Kees “Case” Kolff

Kees was born in the Netherlands where biking is ubiquitous. He is a retired Pediatrician and Public Health professional and was the Medical Director of Sea Mar Community Health Centers in western Washington. Kees has lived in Port Townsend since 1997, where he served on City Council and as Mayor after biking to every door in town during his campaign. He is president of the nonprofit Community Arts & Recreation Alliance, which has run the ReCyclery since 2012 and now has created the PT Cycle School. The ReCyclery refurbishes bikes, makes them affordable, is a full-service shop, and runs educational programs mostly in the local schools.  

He is also a Commissioner for our Jefferson County Public Hospital District. He lives with his wife Helen at the Port Townsend EcoVillage, which they founded in 2004. It’s an intentional community of 30 adults and 10 children “dedicated to living in harmony with each other and with the earth, exploring how to live more sustainably and joyfully”. Biking is a big part of that effort.
Kees Kolff
Port Townsend, WA  

Dave Thielk

Dave Thielk spent the first ten years of his professional life working as an environmental biologist. Most of his research and publications addressed the fate of metals carried by freshwater systems into estuaries, using electrochemical properties of heavy metals to predict toxicity in aquatic system.  During the next 30 years, Dave taught high school and college science and math courses.  Always ready for a change, he left the classroom several times to pursue educational consulting work.  His expertise ranged from math and science curriculum development,  to systems level school improvement work, to instructional coaching.  Throughout his career, a guiding paradigm has been equity and access for all learners.

From the age of five till the present, Dave has considered bicycling his primary transportation mode.  He views the bicycle as a medium for freedom, self-reliance, access, mobility and independence.  He has maintained his own bicycles for 52 years.  He currently owns, and uses, 3 rides. Two of these he built from the wheels up. 

Dave lives on a large urban lot in Port Townsend with his wife, Yuko, their dog, eight hens, and a 2,500 square foot fruit and vegetable garden.  For fun, he fiddles, banjos and calls for traditional Appalachian-style community dances.