The BikeX Volunteer of the Month for June is Rob Kleinschmidt. A native of Buffalo, NY who moved to California 50 years ago, Rob is a retired software engineer, motorcycle enthusiast, and seasoned Bike Exchange Volunteer. He's got several interesting vehicles, including a motorcycle with a sidecar, a Ford Transit Connect converted into a camper, and of course a cool bicycle or two, including a GT LTS-2 full suspension mountain bike.
Rob joined us in 2005 and has been making an impact ever since, including doing our bookkeeping before 2020. Read on to learn a little bit more about Rob and his interests in all things two-wheeled!
How did you get involved with SVBE?
Back in 2005, I was looking for a place to donate my son's old BMX and some leftover bike parts from my own bike.
What keeps you coming back?
I like the idea of passing bikes along to those who need them and enjoy fixing them because of the concentration and discipline that good wrenching forces on me. Also, I look forward to the weekly meetups with all the very special people who work at SVBE.
You’ve worked many different bikes. Which bike stands out as the most memorable, or your favorite?
I get a kick out of working on kids' bikes and utilitarian ride-to-market, adult beater bikes.
What’s your favorite bike tool?
I like to work with a minimalist toolkit of maybe a half dozen tools. Besides basic wrenches and occasional specialty tools, I always like to have a Swiss Army knife, channel lock pliers, and a soft rubber mallet for any really delicate bike surgery.
What is your background in cycling? And on wrenching on bikes?
I'm not a serious long-distance rider, but I enjoy mountain biking. Growing up, I had a paper route and learned how to fold and throw papers while maneuvering a bike in tight places in the snow with a really heavy sack of papers around my neck.
What can you share about your personal or family bike collection?
One working bike with a trailer for the dogs and one in the barn waiting for me to bring it in for donation.
What have you learned since volunteering with SVBE?
I also work on my motorcycles and bike mechanics help me build patience and analytical skills.
What’s your favorite bike ride (local or not)?
I really like the mountain bike trails up by Lexington reservoir.