A Volunteer's Perspective
Longtime Cascade volunteer Gary Fujioka shares his experience working with the Club over the years
Pictured above: Gary came across this gorgeous sunrise about 5:15 a.m. en route to his volunteer shift at the Flying Wheels starting line, June 1, 2019
If you love riding your bike, you’ll love volunteering for Cascade Bicycle Club. That’s because volunteering your time to Cascade has the same positive benefits as cycling itself: a healthier, happier you; fun new experiences; and making new friends. All this while giving back to your community and contributing to the level of operational excellence that is Cascade’s hallmark.
Volunteers play a big role at Cascade, supporting staff in virtually all departments. Over the past year almost 800 volunteers donated 36,000+ hours for in kind value of $915,000. This translates further to:
- 2,500 Free Group Rides throughout the Puget Sound region
- 100 Major Taylor Project students riding the STP
- 33,000 major riding event registrations sold
- 10,308 rider packets stuffed
- 21,000 Let’s Go! students impacted
There is a volunteer role for everyone. Typical opportunities include event support such as packet stuffing, packet pickup, start line, finish line, and route duties. In fact, you’ll find volunteers everywhere the rubber meets the road for the Club: managing parking lots and loading baggage at big rides, monitoring intersections and railroad tracks, route safety crews, ride leaders, instructors, staffing community booths, shepherding happy children at bike rodeos, and much more.
If you’re handy with a wrench and enjoy bike assembly or maintenance, you might try helping out at maintenance and assembly parties, bike fleet tune-ups, or education classes. Any route you choose, you’ll find yourself welcomed with open arms.
The Cascade Outriders are a highly skilled and experienced volunteer group that provides ride support on Cascade events. The group provides course support for logistical, mechanical, traffic, and minor medical incidents in addition to providing information and moral support to riders.
If you have skills that aren’t requisitioned in the volunteer portal, there’s still a very good likelihood you can serve your Club. Currently members are volunteering in support roles for the administrative, education, policy, and communications teams.
Cascade makes managing your volunteer shifts easy and convenient. After you’ve signed up, Volunteer Coordinator Ali Smith will send you an email listing volunteer opportunities as they come up. You can then log onto the CERVIS volunteer portal online, find out the specifics (time, date, location), and accept your shift(s). You’ll receive an email confirmation, and an automated reminder as the date approaches.
Service to others is its own reward, but being a Cascade volunteer has some secret benefits too. These are things that I wasn’t told but learned along the way:
- Volunteers are well fed. If your shift is at the Magnuson office, there’s often Chipotle or Pagliacci or something similarly awesome. If you’re at a starting line at sunrise, somebody from the staff has already been to the store for coffee, pastries, and fresh fruit.
- Volunteers sometimes get special bib numbers. Ride numbers 1-25 are reserved for volunteers. Number 1 goes to the Volunteer of the Year who gets to display it for every Cascade ride that year, and rides at no charge.
- Volunteers get lots of free t-shirts. You’re given “Cascade Volunteer” t-shirts to help you stand out at events. They kind of add up.
- Volunteers get a special party once a year. Yes, with live music, hors d’oeuvres, Italian sausages, libations, and drawings for cool prizes. You may catch sight of a white Ortlieb pannier with the green Cascade logo. They can’t be bought at any price. If you’re a volunteer and attend the annual party, you just might win one.
- Volunteers get all the leftover swag. You know all the ride souvenirs the Club distributes to finishers? At the above-mentioned party, the volunteers get to help themselves to all the goods.
Cascade’s staff are pros and will not put you in a position to fail. They’re smart, they solve problems on the fly, and they will outwork you no matter how hard you try.
Volunteers earn credit for the hours donated. These credits can be applied to the cost of Cascade rides.
The friendly faces I encounter on Cascade rides often belong to people I meet while volunteering. Cascade’s diverse community is a wonder to behold, and volunteering has given me the perspective to appreciate something that I might have otherwise missed.
Commit now to making Cascade Bicycle Club even better by sharing your time as a volunteer. Visit the Volunteer Portal here.
Have a talent the Club can use? Contact Ali Smith, Volunteer Coordinator.