“It brings out the kid in me” – checking in with Tom, a Create a Commuter graduate

By Britt Appleton, Social Media Specialist

Yesterday I met up with Tom, a former Create a Commuter participant, at Floyd’s coffee shop in Old Town to find out how his life had changed since earning a bike in March through our workshop with Central City Concern. He immediately scrolled through his cell phone to find text messages that he’d written to friends about his bike. “I wrote this one when I was using a computer at the library: ‘I can see my bike from my computer, locked up outside. I am in love with it.'” Tom put the phone down and said, “I always try to get a computer where I can see my bike. I love to look at it. It brings out the kid in me.”

Tom lives in Old Town, but is able to get to job interviews all over town because of the bike. He frequently visits both the Northwest and Belmont libraries to use their computers, and he rides his bike to different meeting locations around town. “Having a bike changes everything.” Tom said. “You’re right there. ‘Oh, there’s a bookshop I want to go in,‘ and you just go. Your day doesn’t have to be scheduled by bus routes.”

Tom has even invested some of his own money in the bike. He bought a longer bike lock because he worries about the bike being stolen. He keeps it in his room, and says that sometimes at night he reaches over and runs his fingers down the spokes. “It’s something that’s mine that I get to take care of.”

Tom feels so much healthier now that he’s riding instead of taking public transportation. He joked that his growing muscles ripped his jeans. He’s trying to quit smoking so that he can tackle Portland’s hills. “My attitude changes once I’m on it. It’s meditative. And it’s making me healthier. Portland is sneaky. You don’t notice hills on the bus, but they’re there.”

Thanks for the interview, Tom, and good luck with your job search!

If you received a bike from the Community Cycling Center, we would love to hear about your experience. Email me at Britt@CommunityCyclingCenter.org or say hello in the comments below.

See the rest of the photos of Tom with his bike.

Read my original recap of our Create a Commuter workshop with Central City Concern.

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