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Meet our volunteers

From 18 to 24 May 2020 we're celebrating National Volunteer Week. Usually we celebrate with special events and parties in our offices, but because of COVID-19 we're doing it a bit differently this year.

We're recognising the amazing work that Bicycle Network volunteers do with some special online stories and celebrations, including inducting new life members and volunteers to our honour board and talking about our history of volunteering.

Now we thought we'd help you get to know some of our volunteers with some Q&A. If you've been on any of our events, from the Great Vic to Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, you probably recognise some of these faces.

Board member and Bicycle Network president

Keir Paterson

What motivated you to join Bicycle Network’s Board of Directors?

I had always been passionate about the power of riding to change lives because I’d seen the impact it had on my own physical and mental health. But I was motivated to get involved after I came off my bike on some unmarked construction works and broke a collarbone and some ribs. For a year, I tried to get the construction company to pay my out of pocket expenses to no avail. I spoke to the Bicycle Network Riders’ Rights team, BN’s lawyers wrote a letter and I was reimbursed within a week. I felt like I should give something back and decided to get more involved at that point.

Tell us a bit about your role as the President of Bicycle Network

First and foremost, the Board is there to represent members’ interests and provide strategic oversight, as well as monitoring risks and finances. We’re also charged with setting, along with the CEO and his team, the strategic direction of BN. As President, I’m a key link between the Board and organisation. I also represent the Board and report to members formally at the AGM, but also at member functions, events and, sadly, occasionally at memorial rides.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

Other volunteers. The best event of the year is the volunteer event, where we get to thank all the volunteer and recognise those who have given up so much of their time. Not only is it inspiring to hear their stories, it gives me a sense of being part of this wonderful community.

What is your most memorable moment of your time with Bicycle Network?

My most memorable moment is as an event participant, not in any official capacity. When my eldest daughter was 13 we did the Sorrento-Melbourne 100km Around The Bay together. Girls get so many negative messages about their bodies and their capabilities, seeing her cross the finish line and knowing the confidence that gave her will stay with both of us for the rest of our lives.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with Bicycle Network?

Do it! You will get more back than what you put in, I can pretty much guarantee that.

Event volunteer

Lisa Kluver

What motivated you to volunteer with Bicycle Network?

I initially volunteered for the Great Vic with a few friends in 2016 as an opportunity to explore new places, meet new people and try something new in between finishing university and starting full-time work.

Tell us a bit about your role on the Great Vic Bike Ride

The Event Control team monitors what is happening on the ride, at the campsite and anywhere in between! We work in shifts to answer phone calls from riders, staff, volunteers and the community who have questions, concerns or queries about the bike ride.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering on the Great Vic Bike Ride?

Every day of the Great Vic I am amazed by the scale of the event, the ‘community’ that is built at each and every camp site and the spectacular new sights and towns we're fortunate enough to explore (so the answer is everything!).

What is your most memorable moment of volunteering with Bicycle Network?

I can’t choose just one, coming from Tasmania volunteering on the Great Vic has been a great way to explore areas of Victoria that I otherwise probably would never have seen.

I volunteered on the 2016 Great Vic with some friends, and the 2019 with my cousin so it was pretty special to be able to share the whole experience with them too.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with Bicycle Network?

There are so many different roles available on the Great Vic, you’ll be sure to find a role that suits you. No matter your age you’ll walk away from the Great Vic with heaps of memories, a great new addition to your resume and a lot of new skills!

Office volunteer

Arthur Humphreys

What motivated you to start volunteering with Bicycle Network?

I’ve been riding bikes all my life – I wanted to give something back.

Tell us a bit about your role as an office volunteer?

I’m a part of the events team and I help with admin duties such as printing, laminating and updating important documents.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering at Bicycle Network?

Working with the events team.

What is your most memorable moment of your time with Bicycle Network?

I have lots of great memories, both on events and in the office. It’s too hard to choose just one!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?

Go for it! There are so many opportunities to get involved and do different jobs – I think I’ve got the best one!

Super Counts volunteer

Peter Panek

What motivated you to start helping with Super Counts?

I am a keen cyclist and so the motivation was 2-fold. Firstly, to give back to the cycling community and to raise valuable funds for my Rotary Club and give back to the community as a whole

Tell us a bit about what you do as a Super Counts volunteer?

I coordinate all of the members of our Rotary Club plus cycling buddies to undertake bike counts, as well as conduct the count myself, and then ensure all of the results are entered and returned to Bicycle Network.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

It gives a great sense of self-worth and of contribution to our society.

What is your most memorable moment of volunteering with Bicycle Network?

The incredible realisation that old people can’t use technology which has brought immense humor to the whole exercise of entering in the data to Bicycle Network

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?

Absolutely go for it and don’t hold back. You will get a great buzz out of it and be surprised what you can achieve.

Tasmania Committee Member

Di Elliffe

What motivated you to volunteer with Bicycle Network Tasmania?

I was a bike rider and environmental activist in my younger years, and when I retired I was again looking for something useful to do in the community. I attended a meeting of (then) Bicycle Tasmania and liked the people involved and the organisational style (just enough formality). I was nominated to the committee by an old friend and I’ve been very active with bike advocacy of all types ever since. I’m passionate about making riding in Hobart and across Tasmania safer and more fun for people of all ages and abilities. People have the right to be offered safe options for transport, and riding is so brilliant for health, social connection and the planet.

Tell us a bit about your role on the Bicycle Network Tasmania Committee

Our State Committee provides support for our Tasmanian professional staff, extending the range of their influence and providing additional services to riders. My first role was coordinating of our Valet Bike Parking program – we provide valet parking for events, and the income generated supports our advocacy work. I was President of Bicycle Tasmania for several years, during which time we negotiated a formal merger with Bicycle Network, becoming Bicycle Network Tasmania. My current roles include coordinating our social rides and our Pedal Power programs, promoting e-bikes as a transport game-changer, and producing curated route maps in our Ambassador Routes program. My latest project is implementing our new Riders Club, which brings RideWithGPS tools to the management of our social rides.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

I guess it would be the camaraderie amongst the committee and our regular supporters. We share such enthusiasms! People get excited and fire off all sorts of ideas, and in the end we bring things together and usually get some sort of useful outcome. We achieve improvements for riders, even though at times it feels painfully slow. If we weren’t here, riders would not be enjoying the paths, parking, group rides, safety improvements, and the sense of being part of a larger biking community, that they enjoy now. We stand on the shoulders of the volunteers who came before us, and we create steps to the next level for future riders.

What is your most memorable moment of volunteering with Bicycle Network?

I think that would be Bicycle Tasmania's merger with Bicycle Network. It was satisfying to consult carefully with our members, to achieve unanimous support for our proposal, and to be part of the AGM where it all happened. Then to watch a new office come into being in Hobart, with new staffing firepower and the capacity to get better outcomes for Tassie riders.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?

Put your energy towards something that you are passionate about, that will keep driving you forward even when things don’t seem to be going perfectly. And find people who you respect and enjoy being with. Mutual respect and kindness go a long way towards making working in groups enjoyable and rewarding.

Team Bicycle Network member

Alison McCormack

Team Bicycle Network rider Alison McCormack
What motivated you to volunteer with Team Bicycle Network?

I had completed Peaks Challenge and was one of only a few women who had completed it, so was actually asked to join to promote women’s cycling to increase participation – from there I have not looked back. 2021 will be my 10th Peaks Challenge in a row and I can not wait!

Tell us a bit about your role as part of Team Bicycle Network.

I am the team captain. The team are here to support riders achieve their goals. We are a team of 22 people, each of us have completed Peaks Challenge at least three times before getting on the team so all have great experience of the ride and what it entails.

On the day the team act as pace setters having groups at 8, 9,10,11,12 and 13 hours (lantern rouge). We host training rides in the lead up, information nights and are there for support. We also host women specific events to increase female participation.

We also participate as ambassadors for around the bay and you will see some of us on other planned rides like the Great Vic.

For Peaks Challenge we lead training rides from November up to the event. The training rides are for anyone to come along to ride with us, they are a great way to understand what Peaks entails and to ask us any questions about nutrition, training, what to wear etc., and also to meet other riders.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

Hands down seeing people achieve their goal! Getting to know people on the journey and to see them cross the finish line is the most rewarding feeling there is. Everyone has a reason for entering Peaks Challenge and to see them achieve their goal is the greatest! We have cried and laughed through the years and I am so fortunate to be a part of it. Every year I complete it with my partner Lee and we have met so many people on the way who have become friends, we are very lucky.

What is your most memorable moment of your time with Bicycle Network?

It is hard to pick a moment as there are so many, the one that spring to mind is my own personal experience as a participant. The first year I entered as my mother had passed away and I set it as a goal, it was such a special moment to cross the finish line.

In 2019 my father actually passed away 10 days before the event. My nephew Jayden had also entered the event and was hoping to ride with Lee and I in the 10 hour group. It was a tough call, Dad was the most amazing man and we were so sad to lose him and unsure if we could ride. However I knew how proud Dad was of my role as the ambassador for Peaks – he would tell anyone he could about it.

On the day it was so tough as always and very emotional. Lots of tears, I was so touched an spurred on by the encouragement from fellow riders many of whom heard and went out of their way to give me some words of encouragement.

Lee and I crossed the finish line in the rain with my nephew in the 10 hour group together, I know that my Mum and Dad would have been so proud, it was a very special moment.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with Bicycle Network?

Volunteering is such a fabulous thing to do and the reward is far greater than the effort. There is no better feeling than to know that you played a part and helped someone achieve their goal. Weather its assisting with setting up an event, planning, handing out food, it all assists everyone to achieve something special on the bike.

The feeling it gives you is second to none and as I said the reward is so great for you and the cycling community.

Workshop volunteer

Dario Scarton

What motivated you to volunteer with Bicycle Network?

I think bike riding is fun and very satisfying. While riding with a casual bike riding club, I noticed new members commenting about why they had not started riding earlier and I realised that many more people would love bike riding as I do if they only gave it a go. Looking for an opportunity to share my passion and experience with others I volunteered at Around the Bay where I could help individuals and families enjoy the event, and perhaps encourage them to do more riding after the event. I have not looked back since.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering at Bicycle Network’s workshop?

The people at the workshop are awesome. I always learn so much when I go and I have a great time. The staff and volunteers are always welcoming and ready to help. I love getting involved in fabricating and renovating equipment and machinery and I love chatting with others about biking events and participating in the event preparation process.

You also volunteer each year on the Great Vic, tell us a bit about what your role is on event?

I am a Support and Gear (SAG) team member on the Great Vic. The role involves helping riders who have a problem by fixing the problem. Sometimes, the problem can’t be fixed so we transport the rider and their bike to the next stopping point or to the camp site. The best part is when we can help a rider with some encouragement, or some water, or a puncture repair and they get back on their bike and finish the ride.

What is your most memorable moment of volunteering with Bicycle Network.

This is hard – there are too many great moments. While volunteering at Peaks Challenge, I had the opportunity to watch riders complete the challenge at the finish line. Experiencing others achieve their goals and sharing their emotions is one of the memorable moments for me.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering with Bicycle Network?

Don’t wait any longer. Even if you don’t love bike riding, volunteering at Bicycle Network will reward you with a great experience in a wide range of fields from working on machines at the workshop to helping feed thousands of riders on the Great Vic. I don’t think you will find a better group of people to volunteer with nor have a better team experience. If you love bike riding then your experience volunteering at Bicycle Network will be even more rewarding, as it is for me.

To keep track of all National Volunteer Week celebrations you can follow us on social media and use the tag #NVW2020.

Click here to see Bicycle Network's volunteer honour board and life members.

Click here to read more about the history of Bicycle Network and the people who shaped us.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable to us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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