It takes a community part 4: The volunteer

JamesIt takes a community to create the magic of Holiday Bike Drive. This winter, we are featuring profiles of community members who are pitching in to throw the most heartwarming bicycle event of the year. So far you’ve met bicycle donor Tara, donor/fundraiser Jim, and business supporter Janette of the Tin Shed Garden Café. This week, meet James Fitzgerald, expert wrench and long-time volunteer.

James has been a regular at Tuesday Drop-In volunteer nights since time immemorial. An enthusiastic mechanic, James is also one of our go-to volunteers for help at community outreach events. He has wrenched on bicycles at the Bikes ‘n’ BBQ Bash, Sunday Parkways, and at the Hinson Church Bike Day.

This year, James has given over 130 hours (so far!) and you can spot him adjusting seats, training wheels, and handlebars at the Holiday Bike Drive this year.

Tell us about your first bicycle.
All my early bikes were discards my dad found on his mail route as a postman. The first had solid plastic tires and a metal seat, quite a punishing ride, even when learning to ride on two wheels on the grass. My early favorite was definitely The Junkcycle – a 24″ Schwinn Typhoon that had a stealth blue, silver, and rust paint job from a prior owner and cracked sidewalls reinforced with old baseball trading cards. Always a pleasure to streak past other kids on flashier rides, hehehe.

Why do you support the Community Cycling Center? What inspires you to give?
I identify with the Community Cycling Center’s mission of making cycling accessible and safe for riders of all ages. Plus, the camaraderie and banter with the staff and volunteers is fabulous.

How many years have you volunteered at the Holiday Bike Drive?
How many years, dunno, probably more than the age of some of the Holiday Bike Drive participants.

How many Holiday Bike Drive bikes do you personally work on throughout the year?
Probably a hundred between initial repair and second checks. But if you find a defect in workmanship, it was definitely the other guy.

Volunteers are the beating heart of the Holiday Bike Drive. If you have a skill to share, or if you would like to learn more about working on bicycles, please join us at an upcoming volunteer orientation. Our next one will be held on January 5th, 2010. If you don’t have time to give, please consider making a donation to help support the Holiday Bike Drive. If you give through the Give!Guide by December 31st, you will be eligible for fabulous prizes!

Photo by Sara Cross

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Hours: 10am-6pm daily (fall/winter)Bike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786