Our new Guest Mechanic Program
Over the past year, many of our dedicated volunteer mechanics have shared that they would like to further build their skills and contribute more deeply, moving beyond the single-speed, coaster-brake bikes we refurbish for the Holiday Bike Drive. With the addition of our new production space at 1714 NE Alberta, we saw a great opportunity to bring these skilled volunteers in on a regular basis for more advanced projects. Thus began the Guest Mechanic Program!
Guest Mechanic positions are now available for those folks who have mastered the art of Holiday Bike Drive repair at our Tuesday Volunteer Drop-In nights. Three afternoons a week, Guest Mechanics now have the opportunity to support the Community Cycling Center while learning advanced bike maintenance skills from our expert shop mechanics. On Mondays, Guest Mechanics work on refurbishing used bikes for Bike Club, on Wednesdays they build new Create a Commuter bikes out of the box, and on Thursdays they work on wheels.
Patrick Loftus, one of our shop mechanics, has been working with Guest Mechanics on Wednesdays, building Create a Commuter bikes. He believes the Guest Mechanic program has “gotten volunteers really psyched.” It has allowed volunteers to set bigger goals as their skills improve. It’s also helped take some stress off the shop mechanics, giving them more time to assist customers, work on sale bikes, and complete repairs. That, in turn, allows us to raise more money in the shop to support our community programs for youth and adults.
When Jim Milne began volunteering with us, he only had one day off every two weeks. He started coming to the shop for Sunday Teardowns, but as he began to have more time available, he volunteered as much as possible. After Jim attended a mechanic program at United Bicycle Institute in May, he wanted an opportunity to solidify his skills. He now volunteers for all of the Guest Mechanic days. The shop staff “have been really great at teaching me how to do things… [I have] a real appreciation for what it really takes to true a wheel properly.”
The Guest Mechanic program has been a great way for us to offer dedicated volunteers like Jim greater opportunities for personal development. “I just really love bikes,” said Jim. “I think the programs the Community Cycling Center has are just awesome, getting bikes to people that could really use them and have no way to get them on their own. It’s the greatest thing in the world to me.”