Meet the latest Volunteers of the Month, Mark and Sue. After spending many years working in the finance side of the Semiconductor and Biotech industries, Sue and Mark have been enjoying the flexibility of retirement and spending more time volunteering and biking.
Both Sue and Mark have been riding bikes for many years, both on pavement and in the forests, including a fully self-supported trip from Sunnyvale to Telluride, CO. Mark and Sue have fixed many different types of bikes and have become fixtures of BikeX. Read on to learn more about this cycling duo. Thank you both for all of your hard work!
How did you get involved with SVBE?
Mark: I became aware of BikeX through my friends in the Western Wheelers Bicycle Club. I’ve been working at various bicycle-related non-profit organizations for the last 10 years.
Sue: I had been working with another non-profit as a bike mechanic for several years. After joining the Western Wheelers bike club, a few of the members spoke about this great organization that encouraged people to work on bicycles. They invited me to attend the Saturday events to help mentor the many volunteers new to working on bikes. I was hooked after that first experience.
What keeps you coming back?
Mark: I enjoy the challenge of fixing broken bikes, working with my fellow volunteers, and mentoring novice visitors. Watching their eyes light up when they true a wheel for the first time is always fun.
Sue: BikeX is fun, well-organized and I love working with others to get a bike rolling again. To know that a bike I fixed will have another chance to bring happiness into someone’s life is an amazing feeling.
You’ve worked on many different bikes. Which bike stands out as the most memorable, or your favorite?
Mark: In my past, I’ve enjoyed building a complete mountain bike from the frame up and hand-building multiple sets of bicycle wheels all from donated components
Sue: My husband and I had the opportunity to build up a bare frame mountain bike and have it sold and benefit the non-profit. Such an amazing experience using different tools for the first time and bringing the frame to life again.
What’s your favorite bike tool?
Mark: My favorite tool is the Park Tool Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge. While appearing initially complex it is quite simple, and it always improves shifting!
Sue: Favorite tool is the Park truing stand. It seemed so intimidating at first until I understood how to turn to tighten vs loosen. To fix a braking issue so quickly because the wheel wasn’t trued is so satisfying.
What have you learned since volunteering with SVBE?
Mark: BikeX is a very well-run organization that thrives on a core group of skilled volunteers. Being welcomed into that group has allowed me to improve my diagnostic skills and subsequent mechanical abilities. The social side and camaraderie amongst us add to the fun.
Sue: Having your spare parts well organized removes a lot of frustration and helps get the bike fixed quickly. BikeX has done a great job in organizing and labeling the parts bins.
What’s your favorite bike ride (local or not)?
Mark: My favorite place to ride is trail 409 in Crested Butte Colorado, mountain biking after a light overnight snowfall was amazingly beautiful.
Sue: My favorite road bike ride was the self-supported tour from Sunnyvale to Telluride, CO with my husband. My favorite mountain biking was in Moab, UT on the Porcupine Rim trail.