A Job He Doesn’t Tire Of: An Interview with Chris Opie, Green Bike Coordinator

Chris Opie, a current Junior at Bates, has been working as the Green Bikes Coordinator for the college since Freshman year. “I found out about the job during my first year at school through the website. It was a perfect match. I hadn’t so much worked with bikes before the Green Bikes program as I did live with bikes,” Chris explained, “My other jobs have included wrenching at a local shop, managing a bike fleet for a summer camp, and, during one interesting summer, riding an adult tricycle up and down a local bike path and giving out free flowers as advertisement for a flower shop.”

From what Chris remembers, the application process was pretty simple- “resume, interview, follow-up and all that jazz. My boss, Julie Rosenbach, was super great throughout the entire process. I remember being pretty nervous before my first interview, but Julie morphed the process from being an intimidating single-sided evaluation into a cooperative exploration into what the program could become.” Before the interview, Chris had wanted to apply because the job had the word bike in the name, but after, he was more excited for what he could do with the bikes than the fact that he would get to work on them.

Every Monday from 4-5, Chris spends his time in the bike barn behind ten Frye blasting “some (school appropriate) tunes with Sam Mark, my sophomore coworker, and figure out what needs to be done for the week.”  Early on in the semester Chris’ job focuses more on scheduling and emailing, tasks which can occasionally be “fast in the dreaming but regrettably slow in the completion. Later on in the semester this means actually fixing the bicycles themselves” Chris says, “We’re better at that part.”

When asked if there are any funny or interesting stories that have occurred during his time working in the bike barn, Chris replied with an enthusiastic “Yes! Every single green bike has a name on it, and behind each name is a funny, interesting or downright powerful story. There really isn’t enough time to tell them all, but safe to say that somewhere between Nemo, Commons Crush, Bobkitten and Dora there is enough drama, intrigue, laughs and spills to satisfy…well, at least a bike mechanic, if not a college.”

In previous years working as the Green Bike Coordinator, Chris’ favorite part of the job was working on the bikes. “And though I do still enjoy the physicality of a repair job in the midst of a week of papers and tests, I now find that the best part of the job for me is the fact that this program is now helping students get to field placements all around Lewiston.”

Through his job, Chris has learned to distinguish between the aspects of working at the bike barn that make it a job, and those that make it a hobby. “I guess you could say that I’ve learned that professionalism is a necessary, learned quality even in a job which one already loves” Opie states. Because of this, Chris now will “certainly try to bring a level of professionalism to whatever job I end up choosing after school…and as for bikes, they’ll always be there in some way shape or form.”

The green bike program exists under the Office of Sustainability “and through working with the EcoReps and Julie, I have had the opportunity to learn TONS about the awesome behind-the-scenes work done at Bates to improve sustainability,” Chris exclaims. “Carpools, the new Green-Certified program, tag sales, recycling- you name it, Julie and the EcoReps are probably working on it. Being in with this group really is a pretty cool part of the job.” If you’re interested in learning more about the Green Bike Program, feel free to peruse their page on the Bates website: http://www.bates.edu/sustainability/green-bike-program/