Volunteer Spotlight: Connie White

ConnieIn early 2009, Connie White took her first Bike Maintenance Class at our shop. In the year that followed, she progressed through all of our classes and, having achieved self-actualization, decided to share her knowledge with others. Connie’s superhuman attention to detail and knack for asking good questions has made her an invaluable part of our Volunteer Program.

Every week, you can find Connie processing wheels at a truing stand, then stepping in and helping our instructors teach. We feel lucky that Connie has decided to offer her time, wit and ever-expanding maintenance chops to our organization.

How long have you been volunteering here?
My memory is fading due to prolonged exposure to Phil’s bearing grease but I think since the fall of 2009. I started doing wheels (truing new ones out of the box, checking hubs and triaging/revitalizing “seasoned” wheels). When I heard you were looking for class volunteers I jumped at the chance since I had really loved the classes and I started helping out with those this past fall as well.

What attracted you to assisting with our Bike Maintenance classes?
I wanted to learn how to work on bikes so took the full class series. I enjoyed it so much and found it so amazing that I wanted to help other folks get the “lightbulb” effect that I had when I learned how the darned drivetrain really works.

Why do you volunteer here?
Many reasons: I love the mission and want to support it in all ways that I can. I get a huge kick out of the folks in the shop and really enjoy hanging out and learning from your expert gearheads. I seem to get a Zen experience from working on wheels and I really dig helping to demystify bikes for my fellow baby mechanics when I help with the classes.

The bicycle is such a cool and elegant piece of engineering that is really pretty simple. And it has the great benefit of getting us all off the couch and moving.

What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?
I don’t have direct experience with other programs besides wheels and the classes so of course these are my favorite things. I’d like to move up to helping with some of the Create a Commuter bikes at some point. I think the Get Lit and programs with kids are really awesome and help to foment cycling at the ground level.

What is your dream bike?
A 1980s steel sport touring bike. It can go fast but you can put a rack and fenders on it so as to make it useful as well. With pretty lugs. I keep “salvaging” older Japanese bikes and revitalizing them for friends. It’s amazing how pretty they are with a bit of powder coat and new “everything.” When it carries a set of wheels that I have built, it’s beautiful because I actually learned how to do all of that at the Community Cycling Center.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering here?
I’m a veterinarian for my “day job.” I like “fixing” things. I also ride a lot and do a lot of “credit card” touring and sing in a local choir. I love traveling with my bike. It’s a great way to see the world.

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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