Volunteer Spotlight: Leila Barker
Leila started volunteering in February of 2008 and over the past two years has become a consistent, dynamic presence. She is a fixture at our Tuesday Drop-In Nights, where you will find her wrenching on kids bicycles for the Holiday Bike Drive and sharing her knowledge with new volunteers.
Maybe most importantly, on Drop-In Nights, Leila consistently comes up with creative answers to our Volunteer Coordinatorâ€™s icebreaker questions.
How long have you been volunteering at the Community Cycling Center? How did you start?
Since February 2008. After googling something along the lines of “Portland bicycle volunteering,” I signed up to help out with the Worst Day of the Year Ride and started going to Tuesday volunteer nights the same week.
Why do you volunteer here?
I came for the bikes and stayed for the community. Community Cycling Center staff and volunteers are a fun, energetic bunch of people to hang out with. Experienced hands are always willing to teach a new skill or help troubleshoot, and there’s never a stigma about not knowing something. More and more, what excites me is being able to pass on my knowledge to new folks. But on a purely haptic level, there are few things more satisfying than reassembling a bottom bracket, loose bearings and all, and feeling it turn smoothly on the first try. Priceless.
What is your favorite Community Cycling Center program? Why?
The Create a Commuter program is especially inspiring to me, because it’s dedicated to achieving a concrete difference in the way people live and work. Holiday Bike Drive is a blast because kids getting bikes = cute and awesome.
What is your dream bike?
A midnight blue Petite Pocket Rocket Pro with a fog horn and a Klingon cloaking device.
Any hobbies or passions you’d like to share?
As a violinist, over the years I’ve invested a lot of time and energy experimenting with better ways of carrying an instrument, music, and music stand while biking. The ideal solution: pick up the flute. It’s collapsible and waterproof.
Photo by Joel Schneier