Meet Ben, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member and rockstar volunteer. Every Wednesday at 11am, Ben shows up at our office to pick up packages, then spends the next two or three hours biking around our beautiful city to deliver them. Ben is one of the over 1,000 active volunteers who donate their time to keep our advocacy rolling. We snagged a little time with Ben between deliveries to talk bikes, advocacy and volunteering.
How did you get involved with the SF Bicycle Coalition? What motivated you to start volunteering?
I am still relatively new to San Francisco, and I was looking for a way to meet more people interested in bikes. And since I use my bike for 95% of my transportation needs, it was impossible not to notice how the city’s bike infrastructure improving, even in the short time I’ve been riding here. The highly visible sharrows in The Wiggle, the protected bike lane on JFK in the park and the much-needed buffer for the bike lane on Fell are some examples of recent changes on my daily routes that make riding safer and more enjoyable.
At the same time there is still a lot of work to be done. The Bike Coalition is pushing hard for improvements to Market St., and they are desperately needed. The Bike Coalition works daily to make city riding better for anyone who is willing to give it a try. Volunteering was a way for me to give back to an organization that has done so much for me as a cyclist and a way for me to help make San Francisco one of the world’s premier biking cities.
What kind of volunteer projects do you usually work on?
I tend to run a lot of errands for the Bike Coalition during office hours. It’s been fun hauling some large items and using the different trailers that the Bike Coalition has. I’ve recently changed jobs, so soon I will have more evening and weekend availability. I am looking forward to helping out with the bike valet program in the future, another service of the Bike Coalition that I have found to be invaluable.
What’s been your favorite volunteer project so far?
The lead-up to Winterfest was a lot of fun. I started volunteering just as the preparation was ramping up, and picking up the donated raffle and auction items kept me busy several days a week for almost a month. It was great to see and visit all the local brands and retailers who wanted to support the Bike Coalition.
What do you do when you’re not donating your time to the SF Bicycle Coalition?
Of course I enjoy longer bike rides when time allows, especially bicycle touring or bicycle camping trips. I am an avid hockey fan and I try to make it to at least a few Sharks games each season. I also just started working for Strava, which is a really exciting place to be as a cyclist.
What advice would you give to folks thinking about volunteering?
No particular advice except “go for it”. Look on the volunteer page, pick something out, and go. Stop thinking about it and give it a try.