Welcome to the very first Bike Education Volunteer Spotlight! Every few weeks I would like to electronically introduce you to one of Bike New York’s Education Volunteers. This week, I had a smoothie with Joseph, a cycling fanatic and natural teacher, as well as a newcomer to the volunteer world and New York City.
Name: Joseph Grgic
How do you pronounce your last name? GUR-GICH
What do you do? I am a Freelance User Experience Architect
What is that? I do design technology and interfaces so that they can be used by people.
Where are you from? Well…everywhere. I was born in Mississippi, lived in Iowa, Missouri, but I claim Pittsburgh as my hometown.
What is your first bike memory? I was two or three and I had a blue 10” kids bike with training wheels. I eventually broke the training wheels, fell a lot, but then I was riding. Pretty soon I was building jumps. I remember taking apart the gas meter on the side of our house to build a jump. Luckily my mom smelled the gas and discovered what I’d done so we didn’t die. That was good.
How would you describe your relationship to bicycling? It’s my life. You could say we’re joined at the groin. I guess my motivations are political, emotional, and health related. It was even my job for a bit when I was a bike messenger.
How did you get involved with Bike New York? I am a member of New York Cycle Club (NYCC) and I saw a post on the blog and decided to join.
What is your favorite part about volunteering? Helping people learn to do something that I already know they can do and providing tips that I had to learn through falling…haha. After you see someone learn to ride, it’s like a whole new world has opened up for them. They no longer have to rely on public transportation, cabs, or walking. Instead they can ride everywhere they go. I think they get a great sense of accomplishment and a new-found freedom. It’s also nice just meeting new people and hearing their stories.
One interesting fact: I fractured my spine riding a motorcycle backwards, doing a stunt called a switchback.
One thing on you NYC summer bucket list you’ve yet to do: Swim in the ocean.
Favorite biking in New York story: When I first got here I was staying with a friend in Brooklyn and my bike hadn’t yet arrived. I spent TWO WEEKS without my bike! When it finally came I immediately took it out for a ride. It didn’t matter that it was a torrential downpour. I rode across the Williamsburg Bridge and I was the only person on the bridge. I remember being completely drenched, and looking out at New York thinking how much fun it’s going to be biking in the city…even if it’s a torrential downpour!
Inspired by Joseph? Want to join the volunteer corps? Send an email to Francesca at email@example.com
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