This is a guest post from Marie-Antoinette Cruz, one of the outstanding team members at evo that volunteered their time at Bike Works. Thanks to Marie & the entire evo team!
I am not a cyclist. My bicycle and I have a lukewarm relationship at best. However, I work on the technology team at evo.com and am surrounded by coworkers who talk about biking all the time. So when the team was given the opportunity to volunteer at Bike Works for a day, helping prepare for their upcoming Warehouse Sale, it was too good for us to pass up.
Our day started with a tour of Bike Works’ full-service community bike shop, classrooms, warehouse space, and the BikeMobile (Bike Works’ repair shop on wheels). Julie, the Donor Relationships Manager, gave us a great introduction to what Bike Works has done over the years and shared information about their various programs. It was hearing about the Earn-A-Bike program that left the biggest impression on me. I remember thinking, if I had access to the same kind of program growing up, I might have a healthier relationship with my bike today. It was so cool to see a program that taught youth practical bike skills and, more importantly, fostered confidence, community, and accountability in a context that young people could be passionate about.We spent the rest of the day working with the Recycle & Reuse team (Steve, Mike, and Seth) helping prepare bikes for the Annual Warehouse Sale. Before that day, the only thing I’d ever modified on a bike was lowering the seat (I am not a tall person), but I spent that whole afternoon removing pedals and loosening and turning handlebars so more bikes could be stored in the days leading up to the sale. Taking off pedals and turning handlebars might not sound like much, but for me it was another opportunity to grow and learn about something I knew nothing about.
I had so much fun working with the Bike Works team that I decided to volunteer the following Saturday at the sale as well. While there, I met an older gentleman who was an active mentor/teacher in Bike Works classes. We both were helping out in the clothing section, so we spent most of the afternoon together. He told me about the work he did at Bike Works, how being a cyclist had impacted his personal life, and shared some of the adventures he’d encountered along the way. Listening to him, I sensed a great deal of knowledge, experience, and an extension of the Bike Works community. When I told him about my lack of experience with bicycles, he encouraged me to attend a Volunteer Repair Party. It was this simple, welcoming gesture that really made my experience that Saturday afternoon feel so uplifting, as if there was no limit to how much I could learn spending time with this community.
I am grateful for my experience volunteering at Bike Works. It was a lovely introduction to an amazing organization rooted in community; one that is excited to share its awareness, know-how, passion, and love for all things bicycle!
– Marie-Antoinette Cruz