Getting to know: Brian Benson
Employee at the Community Cycling Center since: August 2008
What do you do here?
As the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, I work with the huge, phenomenal community of volunteers that supports everything we do. I get to facilitate large school, community and business groups, coordinate our Tuesday Drop-In Nights, hang out at neighborhood-supported bike collections and meet a lot of amazing people. I love my job.
Why do you work here?
I am passionate about engaging communities, creating livable cities, and advocating for social justice. Since I also love biking, and the freedom, empowerment and responsibility it represents, the Community Cycling Center is a perfect fit.
What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?
I honestly have to say that the volunteer program is my favorite, and not only because I am extremely self-centered. Volunteers are so crucial to our ability to fulfill our mission, and beyond this tangible contribution, I am really moved by the interpersonal connections and strong sense of community fostered by our volunteer program.
I have a deep, tender relationship with my current bike, a Fuji, mainly because I rode it across the country. I canâ€™t imagine abandoning this one until I ride it into the ground, but I guess my dream bike is just one that I build up myself. This dream will entail shamelessly abusing the knowledge of my mechanic co-workers.
Where are you from?
I grew up in northern Wisconsin, in a beautiful area full of hardwood forest, rivers and lakes. My hometown, Conover, has a population roughly the size of the Community Cycling Center staff, but I went to school in the neighboring metropolis of Eagle River (population 2,000).
I play guitar incessantly, and especially love fingerstyle blues, and play pickup soccer in Irving Park. Also, several years living in Latin America instilled a love for travel and the Spanish language.
How’s your first Holiday Bike Drive season going?
Pretty amazing. It has been almost overwhelming to see the commitment, talent and energy of the volunteer community that makes it all possible. I kind of feel like Iâ€™m just along for the ride.
Last book you read?
Welcome to the Terrordome, by Dave Zirin. He argues that sports are inextricably linked to politics, and shows how athletes have (or have not) historically used their fame as a platform for resistance. Kind of a “Peopleâ€™s History of the Sports World.”