Volunteer Spotlight: Sherman Coventry
Sherman joined us as a volunteer in late 2009, bringing with him decades of experience in the Portland bicycling scene. An ace mechanic who founded (and until quite recently owned) Coventry Cycle Works, Sherman has amassed a wealth of knowledge and technical skill, and is always eager to share his wisdom with others.
At our Tuesday Drop-In Nights, Sherman patiently and enthusiastically teaches other volunteers how to wrench on kids bikes at our Tuesday Drop-In Nights. He also provides top-notch support in our Maintenance Classes, helping community members learn how to work on their own bikes. Staff and volunteers alike feel so lucky that Sherman spends so much time with us, and we look forward to learning more from him for years to come!
How long have you been volunteering at the Community Cycling Center? How did you start?
I came to Volunteer Orientation in August of 2009.
Why do you volunteer here?
I worked with Brian Lacey before he started the Community Cycling Center, and casually followed the organization’s changes over the years. When I sold Coventry Cycle Works, and wanted to stay involved with bikes, the Community Cycling Center seemed like a good place. And I’m more impressed with the organization now that I know it better. People don’t realize how complex an operation the CCC really is–much more complicated than a bike shop. The volunteer programs add a great deal of complexity and take a great deal of effort. I’m amazed.
What is your favorite thing to do as a volunteer?
I like mentoring new folks on Tuesday nights, and I’ve enjoyed assisting in maintenance classes. If I’m pretty tired on Tuesday night it’s fun to blast through Second Checks (to make sure that repairs were done properly). It’s easier than mentoring.
You have been working on bicycles in Portland for quite some time. What are some of the most notable changes you’ve seen over the years?
When I started working in bike shops in Portland in 1977, ten-speeds were the standard bicycle. Product lines of bicycles had about 6-8 models, instead of 50-60. Mountain bikes hadn’t happened. Bike commuters were pretty scarce, and I was happy to be one. Portland was already ahead of other cities in its bike planning and promoting, but it was a much smaller thing. Portland has completely surpassed my 1980 bike-activist fantasies. I’m more amazed every year.
What do you do when you’re not here (i.e., any hobbies or passions)?
I read mystery fiction, listen casually to classical music. I like to hike in the Gorge and take 1-2 hour rides on my 1976 Silk Hope road bike. But my deepest passion is my whole bicycle life.