Community Stories: David the volunteer & donor extraordinare

Meet David. David is a volunteer, donor, and teacher at Bike Works. He recently celebrated his one year volunteer anniversary and we were lucky to have a moment before class to ask him a few questions.


What first attracted you to Bike Works?

Well, my wife and I love pizza at Tutta Bella. We come to Columbia City every few IMG_4307months and one time I noticed a bike shop in a little yellow house. As a bicycler, I was intrigued so I went over to look. There were a couple of things that attracted me. The first was that it was an interesting shop. The second is a photograph as you go up the stairs – a picture of four guys riding – one of the people in that photograph was on the same team I was on. “That’s Bob Cook!

Six months passed before I said, “I’m going to go check out that place again.” I knew that was not an ordinary bike shop so I asked Kellen how to get involved – thinking that the bike shop was all Bike Works was. He directed me over to the warehouse where I saw Recycle & Reuse and the classrooms. I thought, “Wow! This is perfect, I love this.” I came to my first Volunteer Repair Party (VRP) the night before I retired. One of the first things I said to Lindsey was, “this is where I want to spend all my retirement time” and pretty much that’s been true.

What has kept you involved with Bike Works?

Bike Works just connected with me in so many ways. My wife said that I am happiest when I am kayaking or working on bikes (she didn’t mention riding bikes with her, which makes me very happy also!) I do love working on bikes. I am an engineer by education and trade but I didn’t get to touch much besides my computer keyboard. Working on bikes, solving problems – that’s what I love.

I wanted to learn to teach people how to work on bikes. I took Bike Repair 101 and Teacher Tune-Up as soon as I could so I could get into teaching. And I’m loving the new experience of learning how to teach.

Not only have I certainly got the gratification of working on bikes and learning to teach working on bikes but I’ve made some great friends. I’m developing networks of friends in ways that I otherwise may not have. Getting to know and be part of this community of community building through bicycling has been incredibly enriching.

Do you have an inspiring story to share?

Bike Works Bikecitement at Seattle Design Center in Seattle, Washington, on Sunday, March 20, 2016.Well, I’ll say that the speeches from the youth at Bikecitement! made me feel pretty darn good about being involved.

If there is a specific story… In the process of teaching there are moments when something you say or do really connects with somebody. It just resonates. And for one student it
was derailleur adjustments in my Bicycle Repair 101 class. It was that moment where something just clicks. Finding those moments in teaching makes me all goose bumpy.

Do you feel like you found community at Bike Works and if so, how has it affected the way you see community?

Definitely. I think that there are multiple dimensions of community at Bike Works.
There is the community of what we are doing in terms of giving mobility to families (often of low income), there is the empowerment happening in the youth programs IMG_9362and there is the community of the volunteers like the Volunteer Repair Parties which really is a party in a great way. I’ve already mentioned the friendships that I’ve developed through the Volunteer Repair Party, primary, but they extend all over the place.

As for how I see community, I had not appreciated the work Bike Works does in the bicycle deserts of Seattle, areas with no shops and little usage. Bike Works really works to plant those deserts.The other part is recognizing how we can be an influence on our community to be more mobile, empowered, and self sufficient. We can learn to be greener in how we use and not dispose of things. I’d like to think that I was reasonably green in my own use of bicycles before but I really give thought now to that aspect of the community and my part in it.


Want to support Dave & all the work he is doing in the classroom & at the Volunteer Repair Parties? Consider joining the Master Links Monthly Giving Club and become a sustaining member today.