Tour de Fat Report

Day’s Verse:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30

OK, so yesterday was Tour de Fat, and I “worked” all day — which makes today feel like Saturday, except that we’re going to church today. And I took Friday off, which made yesterday feel like Monday, which would make tomorrow Tuesday. Except I have tomorrow off, too. Very confusing.

Tour de Fat! I didn’t bring my camera, and I’m pretty glad I didn’t. Hauling that thing 17 miles each way along with all my other treasures. Here are some Flickr pictures that capture the tone of the event.

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-32

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-7

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-3

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-20

tour de fat
By lamppost

By ebis50

By ebis50

Tour De Fat Seattle 2010-2

I put a picture of a cruiser bike last because I’ve never seen so many cruisers all in one place before. It was astonishing. Anyway, from my perspective, Tour de Fat involved a bunch of people walking by the Bike Alliance tent. Some of them stopped, and I or one of the other volunteers at the table talked with them. We encouraged people to win a free messenger bag, and lots of them entered the drawing. We encouraged people to become members, and two people did, which isn’t much but it’s something. We also received a few cash donations. People in strange costumes rode by, usually on strange bikes. Hours passed. The wind stopped blowing our papers and tabling supplies around, which was a relief. The sun came out in the afternoon and I finally stopped feeling chilly. My head got hot and tired of wearing my winged helmet, no matter how cool it looked. I got to see most of my coworkers in absurd costumes, which was quite worth the bike ride. But overall, for me, it just felt like another tabling event. I’m grateful I don’t have to do another tabling event today (the Bike Alliance is making an appearance at the WA State Individual Time Trial in Tenino today, but thankfully other people are covering it). Actually, the best part of Tour de Fat for me was getting a free copy of the Chinook Book, which normally costs $20.

After I dragged myself home and showered, a couple friends and I met up at the Redhook Brewery for dinner. It was a lot of fun. We left when the live music started up and we couldn’t hear each other anymore.

Today I plan on being a homebody and doing chores around the house, with maybe some napping thrown in for spice.

What I Tell AmeriCorps

Day’s Verse:
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 4:4-5

To facilitate happy feelings and empower me, AmeriCorps requires that I periodically get to write reports documenting my activities. These reports may also have something to do with their need to show their grant-suppliers that the money is going towards good things. These reports have handy-dandy little pre-set sections to help categorize members’ work. The categories are:

  • Restoring Watersheds,
  • Land Management,
  • Educating Students,

  • Increasing Volunteerism

The sad part about this form is that my project doesn’t fit into any of those categories. You might think “Increasing Volunteerism” could cover my work, but creating a volunteer program, while ultimately intending to increase volunteerism, is too far upstream to fit into their paradigm.

So I get to write a little short essay — “short” being the operative word — to show I’ve been using my time wisely, and not blogging and looking at potential homes on work time. Here, for the sake of posterity and spreading the suffering around, is the entirety of my Site Report essay.

My goal since January has been to learn everything I could about volunteer programs. When I started, I had no real idea of where to go with the project. Now, after interviewing a senior HR manager and 8 volunteer coordinators from all around the country, conducting extensive research, listening to input from the staff and volunteers, and absorbing the Bicycle Alliance culture, I’m starting to envision the skeleton of a volunteer program for the Bicycle Alliance.

The skeleton includes working with staff to create and document policies, procedures, a volunteer handbook, volunteer job descriptions, and to create an outline of the overall volunteer program (which is continually under revision; the latest version is attached). The digital component, comprising the website and database, is another key component, and I’ve been working with the appropriate people for each of those to ensure that whose digital pieces will come online before the end of my term.

At the same time, I’ve created drafts of a training module, including a handbook, lesson plan, and other helpful checklists, for how to represent the Bicycle Alliance at tabling events. To learn about tabling, I tabled for the Bicycle Alliance at 9 events, including Bike Expo, and talking to about 2,300 people. I’ve also created two other training handbooks, one on how to do financial batching and the other on how to do map mailings. To improve my teaching ability, I’ve co-taught four bicycle related classes and completed my League of American Bicyclist Instructor certification.

Additionally, I organized the attendance of 50 Bicycle Alliance volunteers and staff members at the Mariners Salute to Volunteers game (one of the few games the Mariners have won this year) on April 20th, 2010.

Finally, to help facilitate using bikes as transportation, I worked closely with a volunteer graphic designer to create a brochure titled “Go by Bike!” (attached). We received 2,500 of the brochures at the end of March and have distributed 1,300 of them to date.

There. Does that sound like an achievement, or what? I sure hope so, ’cause I’ve theoretically spent 548 hours on my internship (not to mention the 116 hours of AmeriCorps training or 68 hours for KDOG), and I’d hate to think those were wasted. Really, it’d break my heart.

Mariners Salute to Volunteers Game

Day’s Verse:
Then maidens will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

Jeremiah 31:13

I’ve been working on and off for the last month planning a volunteer recognition event: Taking the volunteers to the Mariners Salute to Volunteers game on April 20. This involved:

  • Compiling a complete list of all the people who had volunteered for the Bike Alliance in the last year (the Bike Alliance didn’t have anything like that);
  • Emailing all those volunteers with an invitation to the Mariners game;
  • Compiling a list of RSVPs, including how many people wanted tickets for somebody other than themselves (we charged $8 per ticket per extra non-volunteer, a total steal, even for nosebleed seats);
  • Purchasing the tickets (my first large purchase on the Bike Alliance credit card — almost $450. Frustratingly, I had 11 no-shows. At $8 a head, that’s a good chunk of money for a cash-strapped nonprofit);
  • Organizing and confirming that staff people got food and drinks and extra cash;
  • Providing all the details the attendees needed to make it on time, plus of course accommodating last-minute requests and “can’t meet then” difficulties;
  • Wrangling the attendees on the day of, including receiving the money a few of them owed and passing out tickets to each individual;
  • Herding all those cats into one group for the big parade walk to Safeco Field. I encouraged people to wear bike helmets to look like a group, but most people were too self-conscious to actually do it.

Here’s the photo summary of what I achieved:

Mariners Game: Safeco Field

That’s 49 Bicycle Alliance volunteers and staff, already enjoying themselves before the game even started. I deem it a success.

All the pictures are here.


Day’s Verse:
I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:4

Once again, I get 15 seconds — if that — of fame, this time in the Bicycle Paper. I mentioned that the Bike Alliance won the Bicycle Paper Peoples’ Choice Award. Little did I know that we would get our picture in the paper. Of course, this is the paper that ran an article on a bicycle hearse, so I’m not sure how auspicious this mention really is…

My Life Is Full

Day’s Verse:
There was a man named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea, captain of the Italian Guard stationed there. He was a thoroughly good man. He had led everyone in his house to live worshipfully before God, was always helping people in need, and had the habit of prayer.
Acts 10:1-2 (context)

So I’m sorry if you had something else you wanted me to think about. My memory and processing power are all used up, and you’ll just have to wait until I complete some tasks and free up some space.

What’s filling my brain? Why, thank you for asking!

  1. House hunting. Holy mackerel, there’s a lot to think about with purchasing a home. We landed with Linnea Jones as our realtor, and one hour with her convinced me that she’s going to be a huge asset in our house hunt. She’s an expert we can rely on, and I’m really glad to have that resource.
  2. Financial details. In addition to paying for the home we choose (yesterday we got a pre-approval letter from Cobalt Mortgage, the financial people Linnea recommended, and somehow seeing those numbers on a piece of paper makes it feel so much more real), we also have to think about details like the fact we don’t actually have any furniture.
  3. Bike repair. Of course, the struggle to obtain money from Hertz to repair my bike continues. I haven’t heard anything since the adjustor came by last Thursday, even though I called the Hertz guy Monday morning. I also have to choose a shop to do the work, which is tough since I don’t have relationships with any shops like I did with Landry’s.
  4. KDOG activities. Yesterday evening I picked up 750 free KDOG door hangers printed by Leatherback Printing. Now I have to organize volunteers to distribute them all — before the Big City Council meeting on April 6th.
  5. AmeriCorps activities. Of course, I can’t leave out AmeriCorps! I’m working with another intern to plan the Pod meeting that takes place in Othello on April 2nd. Also, on Friday Every and I have a site meeting with the gal in charge of the interns, and I have to have a self-evaluation filled out by then.
  6. Internship activities. Let’s not leave out my job; I have a new volunteer coming for training tomorrow, and another prospective volunteer to prepare materials for, and training materials to prepare, and a commute brochure to finalize and get printed, and a 10 to 12 minute REI commuting seminar to prepare for early April.
  7. LCI activities. I’m co-teaching a Traffic Skills 101 class in late April, and of course that requires serious prep… If I can squeeze it in among all the other stuff.
  8. Church volunteering. I’ve agreed to start volunteering at Journey Church at some point. I’m assuming that will start in the next month or so, too.

All that said, I think it’s clear I may be feeling a little stress and that the chaos may be getting to me. However, I’m blessed with a commute that soothes many ills.
East towards Bellevue 2

For Reals!

Day’s Verse:
Hear and pay attention,
do not be arrogant,
for the LORD has spoken.

Jeremiah 13:15

At work, I’ve been doing research on policies for “hiring” and “exiting” volunteers. The Bike Alliance doesn’t have any such policies even for staff that I can find (caveat: I’ve looked, but they could exist somewhere I’d never search. Asking staff for help is on my list), so it looks like I’ll be writing them myself.

In my research, I came across a web site whose first sentence said, and I quote,

The fist section should contain consice and claer information about the purpose of the policy and its limitations must be clearly stated.

Frankly, I’m not sure I should trust that web site’s volunteer policy advice.

No Wonder

Day’s Verse:
Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

Proverbs 1:7

Now I know why my throat was sore after Bike Expo: Assuming I spent 30 seconds (probably a little long) talking to each visitor to the Bike Alliance booth for the entire 15 hours I spent at Bike Expo, I talked to 1,800 people.

On a totally different topic, check out this awesome road sign. It shows up at every intersection the 520 Bike Path crosses.

The sign:

The context:
Splat: The Whole Story

Now, I’m no urban planner, but I’m gonna guess that there’s something inherently wrong with the design of the path if, every time the path crosses a road, the cyclists are in such danger of being hit that they need a sign warning them about it. However, I also have a natural prejudice against paths that have you cross in crosswalks, since the first time I was hit by a car, I was riding across a cross walk. In fact, riding on sidewalks is 2.5x more dangerous for cyclists than riding on roads, even though sidewalks feel safer.

Today I put my clipless pedals on the Xtracycle and it felt like a whole new bike. I feel so much better about riding it longer distances now that I can get in and out without struggling with a stupid imprisoning toe clip at every intersection.