The February Volunteer of the Month is Coleen DeLizza! A California native and long-time Bay Area resident, Colleen made her way to BikeX a decade ago with a friend and has been helping out ever since. As one of our Front Desk Volunteers, Colleen has most likely welcomed many of you with a friendly face to our workdays. She's also proof that BikeX has plenty of rewarding volunteer experiences even for those who don't consider themselves to be expert mechanics.
Read on to learn more about Colleen and her experiences with BikeX!
How did you get involved with SVBE?
I came across the BikeX in maybe 2011 or 2012 when a friend asked me to meet her there to purchase a used bike. I was so impressed by the sight. As a lifelong volunteer and cyclist, I thought what a great opportunity to learn a few bike repair skills while still donating my time.
What keeps you coming back?
The friendly and knowledgeable people who are there mentoring, teaching, and giving their time have made it rewarding and comfortable to spend time at the shop. With the mission of BikeX in itself giving back to the community, I feel it's almost a pyramid of volunteering.
You’ve worked on a number of different bikes. Which bike stands out as the most memorable, or your favorite?
Having mostly spent time with front desk activities, my projects are limited. But there are memories of replacing total front brakes on a BMX bike, something I never thought I'd ever do in my life. One of my favorite checklist items is replacing a chain. Using the link tool and not the master link, I feel like I'm performing surgery.
What’s your favorite bike tool?
See above, but I also once helped using the headset tool that is in the tool "vault." You can't expect me to know the names of all of these tools, but I am always learning.
What is your background in cycling? And on wrenching on bikes?
I rode my bike in college in Boston as my main transportation, until it snowed. Moving out to the Bay Area, I added on cycling for recreation and also a leg in a few triathlons.
What can you share about your personal or family bike collection?
My main everyday ride is a Specialized Vita, my road bike is a Bianchi Giro and I purchased a used Marin mountain bike at BikeX, for when I'm feeling macho.
What have you learned since volunteering with SVBE?
Considering the only thing I knew how to do when I first started volunteering was to change a tube, or patch a tube, everything else I've learned there. I still consider myself a novice.
What’s your favorite bike ride (local or not)?
I like to just meander around Los Altos Hills or Woodside. It's not a unique place to ride, but there's a reason it's popular.