If you ever meet Will Harris, expect him to be pedaling. For the past two years he’s been a Spin instructor at Sacramento Pipeworks. As a member of the Pipeworks Bike Club, he bikes 50 to 100 miles most weekends. And he bikes to his day job as a geologist at the California Geological Survey, about a 10-mile round trip.
“It keeps my butt from getting soft,” says the 44-year-old Sacramentan.
While Harris is bike-centered, he’s not self-centered. Earlier this year he was instrumental in setting up a bike cooperative program for residents of Quinn Cottages. The transitional housing for the formerly homeless is right across the street from Pipeworks.
Harris got the idea while on the weeklong Cycle Oregon ride in 2004. Many volunteers and volunteer groups help to organize the annual ride, including folks from Portland’s Community Cycling Center. Harris learned of the CCC’s annual bike collection drive that puts bikes in the hands of Portland’s disadvantaged youth. Harris and fellow Bike Club members transplanted the idea to Sacramento and, with the help of the Quinn residents, modified it. They set up a bike “library,” where bikes can be checked out by any Quinn resident. The Quinn folks call it the QuinnWorks Bike Corral.
The Pipeworks Bike Club collected 25 bikes from gym members, friends and coworkers for the Corral. They fixed the bikes up pretty and raised more than $1,000 for more bike repair and general operating expenses.
“Quinn Cottages is just half a mile from the American River Bike Trail,” Harris says. “We wanted the Quinn residents to be able to take advantage of the beauty and recreation the trail has to offer, and we want them to have bikes for general transportation. Sacramento is so flat—it’s ideal for bike commuting.”
The Corral opened this past spring with a group ride on the trail — a “non-Lycra ride,” says Harris — and included a dozen Bike Club members and 17 men, women, and kids from Quinn. In the Corral’s first week, Quinn residents checked out bikes more than 40 times.
Harris was back on the Cycle Oregon trip this past September, a 500-mile loop starting along the Columbia River and through the Blue Mountains. He was joined by Pipeworks Bike Club members Scott Clark and Kent Gillis. They rode with about 2,000 cyclists, stopping and staying in small towns in central and eastern Oregon. The visits extend the tourist season for those rural communities just a bit longer. Cycle Oregon provides an opportunity to get to know good friends better and to meet new friends, all while riding through beautiful country, says Harris.
And you never know what kinds of neat ideas might present themselves along the way.
Labels: community, cycling, members, Sacramento Pipeworks, Touchstone Bike Club