Volunteer Spotlight: Chad Berkley

I don't know who took this
Over the course of his four years volunteering with us, Chad has done a little bit of everything. He’s refurbished bikes at Drop-In Night, helped us give them away at the Holiday Bike Drive, hauled donations from neighborhood collections, and captured amazing photos and videos all along the way.

This year, Chad decided that he wanted to put together a documentary on the Holiday Bike Drive, and he’s been with us from day one, filming everything from bike cleaning to storage overhauls to interviews with our amazing volunteers. After seeing the trailer he just put together, we can’t wait to see the finished product.

Check out the Remember Your First Bike? Kickstarter page to learn more about the film and how to support the project.

Why do you volunteer here?
I love bikes and kids and the Community Cycling Center brings both of those things together. I’ve also met some really great people while volunteering who’ve inspired me to stay involved.

What’s your favorite aspect of volunteering here?
The atmosphere of generosity. So many people give so much time to make the Community Cycling Center and the Holiday Bike Drive happen. It’s humanity at its best.

What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?
The only program I really have experience with is Holiday Bike Drive, but I am a big fan of all of the programs. Each of them fills a niche to help a specific group of people. I also like Get Lit. I’m pretty sure that program has saved at least one life, probably many.

What is your dream bike?
I’ve always wanted a Stumpjumper. It was the first high-end mountain bike I ever rode, but I’ve never owned one. It’s so amazing how different they are now from when I first rode one in 6th grade (1989). I got to ride a friend’s in Moab this summer and I gave it the nickname “the Barcalounger” because it was so smooth over big drops.

Has putting this film together challenged any of your assumptions about the Community Cycling Center?
It’s interesting that anytime you go “behind the scenes” of an event you get a very different perspective from someone who is seeing it happen from the outside. I always knew there was a lot of work being done throughout the year to prepare for the Holiday Bike Drive, but you never really get a grasp of how much work until you talk to people like Brian and Alison and ask them how many hours go into making it reality. I asked Alison how much it would cost to put on the Holiday Bike Drive without volunteers and I think her answer was something like “10 million dollars.” She was being facetious, but still, that’s how much the staff at the Community Cycling Center values the volunteers. So I guess my assumptions haven’t really been challenged, but rather bolstered by what I’ve learned.

How many times have you attended Holiday Bike Drive?
This year will be my 4th.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering here?
For my day job, I’m a software engineer and a semi-professional photographer. I have a 1 1/2 year old daughter who keeps me busy most times that I’m not working. If I always had it my way, when I wasn’t at the Community Cycling Center I’d be riding my bike around with her in tow.

I’m really into art as well….all types. I go to Burning Man every year to see the crazy things that the human mind can come up with. That experience has really inspired me to think big and come up with cool ideas that will benefit other people. The idea for the Kickstarter project for “Remember Your First Bike” was hatched at this year’s Burning Man.

What would the title of your bio-pic be? Who would play you?
Hmmm, probably “The Importance of Seemingly Meaningless Observations.” I like to notice the small details in life. A lot of my ideas for projects and pursuits have come from noticing subtleties. I’m trying to instill in my daughter at a young age the importance of taking notice of the big and the small things that go on around you. A lot of the beauty in life is small so it takes a bit of work to find.

I think Rainn Wilson (The Office) would be a good choice. We’re both Pacific Northwest kids and I like his style.

Photo supplied by Chad Berkley

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Hours: 10am-6pm daily (fall/winter)Bike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786Office/Mailing Address: 1805 NE 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97212