Bikes for the World

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Featured Volunteer: Jeff Davis

This guy knows bikes. And he's no stranger to teaching kids either. So mentoring volunteers at King Farm during our Rockville Youth Bike Project days was a perfect fit for this month's Featured Volunteer Jeff Davis.

Jeff has been involved with Bikes for the World since we popped up in the Rockville landscape, first at King Farm and also over at the Twinbrook warehouse location. He used to help Mike (blast from the past) working with the kids at King Farm who were there earning SSL (student service learning) hours necessary for graduation.

Jeff's past as a bike mechanic coupled with his experience with kids as a teacher in the Montgomery County school system were great assets to Mike, who regularly had his hands full out at King Farm.

But the help didn't end there. Neither sleet, nor rain, nor snow stopped Jeff when it came to BfW. During one snowy MLK Jr. Day, Jeff helped collect bikes during a service project at our Twinbrook location. He was a huge help working with kids there to earn SSL hours.

Jeff retired from teaching in the schools, but kept that skill going while volunteering with Bikes for the World. And he kept his mechanic skills honed by working in the bike shop at REI.

"One of the best parts of mentoring other volunteers was helping them learn how a bicycle worked. Taking parts off or moving them around let the 'newbies' get their hands on the parts and see how they worked," said Jeff.

This is a sentiment shared by all of us at BfW. Teaching kids AND adults how to do simple maintenance items on a bike could keep them safe on the road. Explaining how to use basic tools during our prep sessions is a good introduction to getting your hands dirty on a bike.

Jeff is constantly tinkering on old bikes and building up frames from parts he collects in his travels. We aren't sure how many bikes he actually owns, but he regularly collects bikes at work at REI for BfW and drops them by from time to time.

For some of our old vintage bikes (think Schwinn Stingray) he takes those, gives them a tune up, and helps us sells them to owners here who may be drawn to them out of nostalgia. Jeff also knows and swears by the older frames and technology that have held up over the decades. Some of those old Schwinn kids bikes are a much higher quality than what you find today. And if you see one driving around on a bike rack in Montgomery County, that could be Jeff. He's sold a few bikes by just driving around with a For Sale sign on them.

"I do here what bike mechanics do in foreign countries when they receive donated bikes. I take the hopeless and make them usable and desirable. I firmly believe in repair rather than replace. I repaired a cracked aluminum frame with corrugated cardboard, carbon fiber strands and epoxy," said Jeff. See, we weren't joking, this guy knows his stuff!

1 comment:

  1. That picture of Jeff in the snow was taken at our Twinbrook storage site on January 19, 2009--the service day the day before President Obama's first inauguration. Jeff was a big part of that. We did a bike drive, had more than 40 volunteers receiving, prepping, and moving bikes, and press from Norway, Germany, and other countries.

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