A while back, board member Tonya Davis, we should let readers know more about who we are. So Tonya put together a set of questions and gave them to Will J.
Please read on...Check back often as we will be adding more.
Q1) Describe your first memories with bikes-who taught you how to ride?
A1) I learned to ride a bike a little later than most people-I was 10 years old. I lived in Santiago, Chile, which back then was not a city people rode bikes in. My grandparents, who lived in a smaller town on the coast, got a bike for their grandkids to share and we took it down to the boardwalk to learn to ride. Problem was, neither of my grandparents knew how to teach someone to ride a bike! Luckily, a passerby saw us struggling and taught all four of us to ride- my two cousins, my brother and I- all in an hour. "Thanks stranger!"
Q2) You are fluent in Spanish- where did you learn to speak so well?
A2) My dad is from the US and my mom is from Chile. Thanks to a timely job transfer with my dad's company, we all moved down to Chile when I was 4 years old. I got to know my mom's native country, my Chilean family and learn Spanish. It was an important part of my upbringing and I'm very grateful that I could have that time. Knowing Spanish has opened some doors for me. I'm glad in my work at the Community Bike Shop my ability to speak Spanish can open doors for other people too.
Q3) What motivates you to get out of bed on a gloomy winters day and come to work?
A3) As a NW native, I'd say gloomy is a relative term! But the thing that keeps me motivated during the shortest, darkest days of the year is the thought that my work with the BTC has an impact on the community I live in. Because of our efforts at the BTC, the people in Washington County are safer, healthier and happier. I can't think of anything more motivating.
Q4) Why should the community support WashCo BTC and the Community Bike Shop?
A4) The first one that comes to mind is the combination of reliability and affordability we can provide. The Community Bike Shop has professionally refurbished bikes for sale at prices that are, honestly, below market value. If you're shopping for a bike, you might pay close to double our prices (or more!) anywhere else that provides a guarantee on their work.
I'd say another big advantage we offer is that we like answering questions. Ask us anything you like! Education is a big part of our mission; if not knowing about bikes is a barrier, we'd like to break that barrier down.
The Community Bike Shop is just that, the community's bike shop. Without all of the volunteers and donations we get, we could not continue with our mission. We also have a membership program that allows people to come in and use our facilities to work on their bikes. Nuestro Bike Shop es su Bike Shop.
Finally, I'd say folks should support the BTC and the Community Bike Shop because any support we get is given right back to the community since we're a nonprofit. Through our programs such as Adopt-a-Bike in the winter or bikes camps in the summer, every dollar raised stays right here in Washington County and is used to benefit our community.
Q5) Descrive your best bike ride/tour/adventure?
A5) Hands down, my greatest bike adventure was last summer when I rode with my girlfriend from Portland to Tijuana, Mexico. We started by riding up to Astoria and then went south along the Pacific Coast- a total of roughly 1600 miles! We slept mostly in state parks, and occasionally in the home or yard of a kind stranger. We made friends, watched the sunset over the Pacific almost every night, stopped at every roadside fruit stand, and got to know the West Coast of the United States- in my opinion some of the most beautiful county in the world. It took us 72 days to get south (we took the scenic route) and 36 hour on a train to get back. It wasn't as hard as you might think, I'd recommend it to anyone with the time and inclination. Come ask me about it at the Shop if you don't know where to get started.
Q6) If you could ride your bike anywhere in the world where would it be?
A6) Well, the short answer is everywhere. I've been thinking of two places in particular though: I'd like to ride the length of Chile (it is as long as the US is wide), and I'd like to circumnavigate Iceland. Until those dreams can become reality, it's hard to beat riding to work on an early spring day.
Q7) You recently attended a bike certification program- could you provide a few sentences on the program description, name and certification?
A7) That's right. In February I took the Professional Repair & Shop Operations course at the internationally-renowned United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Portland. Passing this course means you are qualified to be a professional mechanic and is a basic requirement for mechanics in many shops, including big chains such as REI. As a result, it draws students from across the county. I even had a classmate from South Korea who traveled to the US just to take this course! It was great to get pointers from and be able to pick the brains of mechanics who've been doing it for a couple decades.
Thanks Will and Tonya...this makes for good reading.