John Cotter was awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2018 at our annual Solstice Soirée in December. He has been our youth volunteer at the community workshop for over a year.

John’s journey with GObike started with a membership he received as a birthday gift. His aunt reached out to the community workshop and thought her nephew would be interested in coming in to start working on bicycle projects. John immediately came to love the workshop. Whether he is focused on his own projects or helping the staff with things that need to be done, John continues to come in to help any chance he gets.

John is currently 14 years old and a freshmen at Kenmore West High School. So far, he has amassed a collection of 17 bikes — all of which he has restored! He favorite restored bike is his completely customized Bianchi, which was donated to GObike and purchased as a project. When I asked him where he sees himself as a cyclist within the next five years, he says he plans to finish high school and work at the GObike community workshop as a mechanic.

His enthusiasm has inspired those around him to share his interest in cycling. He has used the knowledge and experience he’s gained from the workshop and his general excitement for the cycling world to involve his whole family. He has restored bikes for his mother, brother, and sister and has encouraged them to participate in Slow Roll.

John offered some advice (and words of encouragement) for those who are interested in getting involved in bicycle mechanics: “When something becomes complicated, don’t give up and always know that there is someone close by to help. And don’t let stripped bolts discourage you because everyone makes mistakes.”

For those who are interested in getting involved in volunteering at our workshop, please visit our GObike Community Workshop Facebook page for more information.