If you’ve ever been on a Bicycle Network event, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Keith Porter or Ray Dowse. Keith and Ray are two of our longest serving and most passionate volunteers who have both notched up more than 30 years of volunteering with Bicycle Network.
Keith first started volunteering on the Great Vic Bike Ride in 1989, when his son’s school took part in the ride which in that year went from Yarrawonga to Melbourne. After joining his son on training rides in the lead up, he decided to sign up as a volunteer where he helped out on the catering team.
“It was great because I got to see him each night” Keith recalls.
Now 31 years on, Keith says that’s it’s the camaraderie between the volunteers that has kept him coming back year after year. “The best part is working with the vollies, I’ve worked with some fantastic people”.
Ray Dowse is one of the volunteers who has been by Keith’s side for many years and they’ve both been a part of the volunteer team since Ray joined just one year after Keith in 1990.
Both have taken on a number of different roles during their time on event, but nowadays, you can find Keith and Ray at the entrance of any campsite manning the gates, directing event vehicles and coordinating the luggage trucks. They are both a part of the logistics team which Keith has been leading since 2014 after many years on the campsite team.
Keith says that it has meant a lot to him to work alongside Ray for so many years.
“Ray’s a really good guy, he’s always willing to help. He’s not a guy to let you down. He must have a special gift to be able to put up with me for so long!”
Keith and Ray’s generosity extends far beyond their involvement on our events and every Wednesday to no avail you can find them at Bicycle Network’s workshop in Sunshine North, where a team of our most dedicated volunteers spend many hours throughout the year building, maintaining and preparing the equipment for our events.
Keith’s favourite thing about helping out at the workshop is that it has kept him busy in his retirement. “It gives me somewhere to go. I think I’ve only missed one Wednesday since I retired”.
Event Manager of the Great Vic, Kahlia Dix, said that the contribution that they have made to Bicycle Network and the Great Vic Bike Ride has been significant.
“They have both worn a number of hats over their Great Vic days … they have influenced and helped develop just shy of 250 campsites”.
“They are a reliable team, always happy to help and are just great to have a chin wag to on event”.
“The Great Vic wouldn’t be the Great Vic without them”.
Keith’s advice to anyone thinking about volunteering is simply to give it a go “they’ll love it”.
Keith and Ray are both valued Life Members of Bicycle Network.
Bicycle Network is celebrating National Volunteer Week from 18 to 24 May 2020. To keep track of all National Volunteer Week celebrations you can follow us on social media and use the tag #NVW2020.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.