Holiday Bike Drive Stories: Tom Ralley, Front Door Coordinator

2009 Holiday Bike Drive: Registration

We’re sharing some of our favorite Holiday Bike Drive stories with you all month long. And we’d love to hear your story, too! Tell your Holiday Bike Drive story over on our Facebook page. 

Tom Ralley has offered unflagging volunteer support to the Community Cycling Center for more than a decade. A retired educator, he has been dedicated to our youth programs, especially the Holiday Bike Drive. He helped support our Bike Club program for many years and has served on our board of directors. At this year’s Holiday Bike Drive, you will find Tom sporting reindeer antlers while greeting families as they arrive at the event and helping everything run smoothly. We’re so happy to have him help introduce another generation to the joy of bicycling.

On volunteering for the Holiday Bike Drive:
“I’ve been volunteering since sometime in the late ’90s. I think it’s a really special event, to see a young child get a bike that’s going to be theirs and see the smile on their face, the excitement. I think everyone I’ve ever encountered who’s volunteered at it feels good about it. I get the personal satisfaction of having done something worthwhile, of helping to get these bikes to deserving youngsters.”

On why it’s important to give kids bikes:
“A bicycle, in general, has this capability of empowering kids. It allows people to get out and explore. The kids that get bikes at Holiday Bike Drive are pretty young, but it’s a first step towards that. If they have bikes at that age, maybe they’ll have bikes later, be able to get to the library on their own, it’ll expand their world. I see bicycling as empowering people. It’s healthy exercise, too.”

On how the Holiday Bike Drive helps the community:
“There’s all of these pictures of young kids from the event… And you can see these big eyes, holding their bicycles, big smiles on their faces. It’s just an occasion when everyone involved feels really good about how excited the kids are.”

On what makes the Holiday Bike Drive special:
“Bicycles are just so much more substantive than a toy. People remember their first bikes. It’s an exciting event, and a bicycle is something kids can enjoy for a lifetime. This is a great introduction, I think. There are so many toys that just disappear after a week or two weeks – bicycles are just so much more substantive and empowering.”

Photo taken at the 2009 Holiday Bike Drive by Ashley Mitchell

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Hours: Open Wednesday-Friday 11AM-7PM & Saturday/Sunday 12PM-5PM. Closed MondayBike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786