Geez it's stuffy in here! I feel like I can barely breathe in this car, of course my nervousness about my upcoming ordeal isn't helping. It's Alex (one of my teachers, his friend Barbara, and my group mate Nghi, and me riding in a car headed towards the Community Cycling Center. We are going there because Nghi and I have to get some pictures and interviews for our volunteer website in web design. Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit when I said "ordeal", but hey I'm going to a place I've never been, interviewing people, which by the way I've never done. Plus I actually have to learn stuff about his place and remember it!
Here we are, I'm thinking as we pull up a little way s from the yellow building on Alberta Street. Nghi and I grab our notebooks and pens for the interviews, I grab the camera bag and we all get out of the car to walk the short distance to the building. As we walk in, we notice something we hadn't known before, its not only a volunteer center, it's a bike shop too. Oh and look at all the nice bikes, a bike fanatic would really like it. Anyways back to the reason we are here, we need to find the lady I talked to on the phone, so we go up and ask one of the employees where we could find Aileen, but instead of Aileen, the director of programs Tom comes out to tell us that Aileen isn't in. Oh great another thing to worry about, I'm thinking, now what?
And then Tom asks what we need help with, so we tell him about the program and that we just needed to get our pictures and interviews. He sets us up to go to the orientation where we'll be able to get a whole lot of information and take a tour of the shop. We try to get an interview with Tom, but he didn't have enough time and we didn't want to bother him any more. First we are introduced to the volunteer, who leads the orientation, who shows us the conference room where new coming volunteers are taking seats and filling out forms. We look around, not quite knowing what to do, so we start with asking everyone if they would mind us taking a couple pictures. Then after that we get around and ask those who are done a few questions about volunteering.
All right so I have to admit this isn't so bad, I mean sure I am nervous but really these people want to volunteer and help others, they've got to be nice. So we ask a couple people questions before the orientation leader dude comes in to start the meeting. We all start out by introducing ourselves and telling everyone what our first bikes color was. When it comes around to my turn I'm still running through my thoughts trying to remember, oh well ill just say whatever come s to mind first! Blue! (I think).
After everyone has their turn we are told a little bit about CCC and then we all exit the room to be led on a tour. We go out to the main room, and then around the work area where we see a whole bunch of bike parts and tools. Then its down to the basement to see all of the bikes that are already claimed or sold and all the bikes that need to be cleaned and worked on. Oh cool! There is this really cool bike down here that's black with red flames. Ooh, I want it! Next is the backyard where under the cover of an over hang we have some dedicated volunteers working on some bikes. We also get to see the place where they put all the parts of bikes to be recycled. With that the tour is over (only in actuality it was a lot longer than it seems now, I just wanted to save you from having to listen to a whole bunch of information you might rather not hear, or already know.) People then have the choice t leave, clean a bike, or go through a mini course that allows you to learn how to take a part a bike.
Nghi and I decide to first get some pictures and try to get our first actual interview. Got to work and it turned out that the interview went fine except for a little stumbling here and there and it would help if we could write a little faster, but all in all it was cool. I then thought it would be fun to go and see what the volunteers were doing and try a thing or two myself, while Nghi goes around and takes a couple more pictures. Next thing I know I find myself sitting in front of an old dusty bike with a rag in my hand. How fun. I hate cleaning anything, why did I think this would be any better? I have no idea, but one thing is for sure, next time I am definitely choosing to take a short instruction lesson and actually do work on the bikes. I continue to scrub rigorously on the spokes of the tire while asking myself "why am I doing the tires? They're just going to get dirty again." Still I clean every single spoke of the front tire while Nghi comes over and does the back one. We are trying to clean all the little nooks and crannies of this bike when we see Alex and Barbara pull up outside of the shop, obviously ready to go. so while Nghi washes her hands I tell our volunteer guide that we have to go and help him put the bike and bike holders away. Nghi comes out and gathers up our stuff so I can take my turn at washing my hands. You'd think that while cleaning something your hands would get cleaner too, but nooo.
The ride home is nice and its really cool that Alex offered to drive us both home. Nghi gets dropped off first cause she lives closer and I live all the way out in Beaverton. On the drive Barbara and I get started talking on books, ahw, the wonders of literacy. Sorry I'm kind of a book druggy, or so my cousin calls me. Well, anyways I go home and practically fall into my bed and that's the end of my experience at the Community Cycling Center.