Village Bicycle Cooperative welcomes volunteers

Great Lakes Brewing Company and Village Bicycle Cooperative volunteers spent a March day refurbishing bikes together. Photo by Donna Wilson

Do you know what truing is? Ever heard of a shadow board? Know how to inventory bikes?  

Neither did the seven volunteers from Great Lakes Brewing Company but by the end of an evening at Village Bicycle Cooperative, they did.

On Tuesday, March 10, employees from the Great Lakes Brewing Company visited the VBC shop in the Bay Village Community House to learn more about our homegrown organization. Lexi Lindway, GLBC community relations assistant, stated that the company has started an in-house volunteering program and what interested her about VBC was its sustainability policy and the impact biking has on the environment.  

VBC volunteers Colleen Bumba and Bob Piccirilli showed Katie Simmons and Mike Boddar how to refurbish bicycles for the Fix-It-Forward program. They learned how to "true" a wheel to prevent it from wobbling. This is one of the items on a repair checklist that volunteers are instructed on to ensure each bike's quality. Truing a a wheel requires patience and attention to detail.

Great Lakes volunteers Lexi Lindway and Sandra Brezo were on shadow board duty, which keeps tools in order by outlining in black marker the shape of each tool on the board.

Carl Gonzalez, another VBC volunteer, showed Sam Min how to inventory a bike by placing a numbered sticker on it and recording the number in a records book to keep track if the bike is sold or donated.

Gary Allie (VBC) and Jerry Long (GLBC) worked to rebuild a bike together. Jerry was very pleased with what he was learning and appreciated Gary’s extensive bike knowledge. Our mantra for volunteers is don’t be afraid to break something, that’s how we learn!

“Volunteering at VBC doesn’t require experience, cash or a lot of your time and it will help you give back to your community and spend time with good people, said VBC President Jennifer Smillie. "You don’t have to be a bike expert to volunteer.”  

Carl Gonzalez and Bob Piccirilli are founding members of VBC and shared heartwarming stories of their volunteering experiences. Carl, along with volunteer Dick Dillon, collaborated with the Dwyer Center to educate senior citizens about the joys and health advantages of riding adult tricycles. Bob was instrumental in developing VBC’s Fix-It-Forward program which focuses on donating bicycles to people in need.

VBC is excited to build upon this program and others in 2015. We need more volunteers to help so we continue with our mission to offer bicycle education-based workspace and advocate for bicycling to foster a healthier, safer and more sustainable community. Visit for hours and stop by to visit.  

Many volunteers at VBC also contribute in non-mechanical ways such as Rebecca Krueger who is working to plan the upcoming History Mystery Tour on April 25 and Patrick Newman, who assisted in the creation of flyers. Registration for the family-friendly event is available on the VBC website.

Read More on Local News
Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 9:52 AM, 03.17.2015