Volunteer Spotlight: Curt Charles

Curt CharlesCurt became involved with the Community Cycling Center through the Sunset Community Bike Fair, an annual event that provides bikes, helmets and safety educations to kids in the Beaverton area while collecting donated bikes for the Community Cycling Center. Curt has broadened his involvement over the years, stepping in as a volunteer “Greenlighter” at several Holiday Bike Drives and most recently putting his videography skills to work for the I ride campaign.

Since May, Curt has been filming, editing, and tweaking two short web videos. Curt filmed interviews with bicyclists in May and June and then edited and recorded the voiceovers in July and August. We are excited to share the results of this summer-long project, as well as celebrate Curt’s enthusiastic support.

How long have you been volunteering at the Community Cycling Center? How did you start?
I’ve been volunteering for about two years. I learned of the Community Cycling Center while volunteering at the bike fair at Sunset Presbyterian Church; the Community Cycling Center helps out there by working on bikes and accepting donated bikes. Without the Community Cycling Center that event would be a lot less. After helping at the Holiday Bike Drive event for the second time, I let Brian know that I’d like to make videos and otherwise use my creative communication talents.

How did you become interested in videography?
My interest in video morphed out of a love of still photography. When still photography went digital I was wholly dissatisfied with the quality of the result, and that just about synced with the video technology shift to high definition. This coincided with a trip to Kenya to help build an orphanage; I thought the team videographer had the best job: communicating the impact of the effort to folks back home. And I enjoy story telling, so video is the perfect combination of technology and art for me.

Why do you volunteer here?
I feel that we all have a responsibility to volunteer and give back. I enjoy cycling and the Community Cycling Center has a great mission and is executing on it very well indeed. The achievements are tangible and have broad benefit, plus the Community Cycling Center makes volunteering easy.

What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program?
Holiday Bike Drive, hands down. Seeing all those kids, some getting their first bikes, some getting one they can grow into, is heartwarming. There is no way that one can walk away from that event and not feel human compassion at its finest. The hundreds of volunteer hours that go into preparing for that day, colliding head on with hundreds of grateful recipients is what it’s all about. Plus, I love interacting with the kids – the playful ones just make my day!

What is your dream bike?
I’m a lucky guy – I own it! It’s a Trek full-suspension mountain bike. What I love about this bike is that it gives me freedom. I strap the GPS on the handlebar, mark my starting point, and just head out, letting my nose be my guide. I’m able to explore single-track and cover a lot of ground quickly.

What is your favorite bike ride?
I’ve done Seattle to Portland a couple times with my father-in-law. I love the training to get ready, being able to cover such a huge distance in such short time, the spirit of community, the commitment to a daunting task, but mostly the camaraderie of riding in that group and the serene sense of accomplishment coupled with exhaustion.

What do you do when you’re not here?
Camping, whether it be in an RV or backpacking. Taking my tweenage daughter along on a rafting trip, or on the Bridge Pedal, or out to look at the Perseid meteor shower, or to investigate invertebrates in a tide pool, or to serve at church. I’m the neighborhood bike wrench – all the kids bring me their bikes for repairs and tune ups. I also enjoy wood working; making a functional piece of furniture out of a stack of boards is pretty cool, especially when a friend sits on the credenza and it doesn’t even groan. I’d like to spend more time telling stories with moving pictures; it’s such a flexible art form. And I’d really like to tell the stories of folks devoting their lives to helping others; there’s such a compelling message there.

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Hours: 10am-7pm daily (spring/summer)Bike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

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