How to stretch the spirit of the season
By Keil Mueller, Stoll Berne
Keil Mueller is an attorney with Stoll Berne with an emphasis on complex litigation, including securities and financial fraud litigation. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-227-1600.
No matter what holiday you celebrate this month, I encourage you to consider ways to stretch the spirit of the season – maybe for a week, a month, a year. In some instances, maybe even a lifetime.
Helping someone enter the world of bicycling is one such gift that can keep on giving.
I’ve always enjoyed cycling, but moving to Portland five years ago was a watershed. Within no time, I began commuting regularly by bike. Several years later, I completed my first Cycle Oregon.
Cycling also proved to be a natural way to become more involved in the local community. In 2010, I began volunteering with the Community Cycling Center. I was impressed by the center’s work with underserved communities. Though Portland is known for being among the best, if not the best, bicycling city in the United States, those perceptions do not represent everyone’s reality. There are complex and interrelated barriers – including cost, safety, and education – that put bicycling out of reach for many people living on low incomes and people of color.
The center doesn’t just provide access to bikes or tell people they should bike. It works with local communities to find ways to eliminate barriers and increase opportunities for people to ride bikes as a way to improve and maintain good health, spend quality time with their families and help heal the planet.
I first became involved by helping to refurbish kids’ bikes that the center provides in its annual Holiday Bike Drive, and by volunteering at the event itself. Watching hundreds of local children, families in tow, receive instruction on safe riding, pick out a new bike (in most cases their first bike) and set out on their first ride through a short skills course is incredibly moving. To me, it is one of the best non-profit events of the year, and it made me want to deepen my involvement with the organization.
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