Volunteer Spotlight – David Purdon

We're shining some light on our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring our most popular events, like the Great Vic Bike Ride, to life. 

Meet David:
What motivated you to start volunteering with Bicycle Network?

As I approached retirement, I recognized that, after working at a flat-out pace for many years, it was important to keep active during retirement. I determined to exercise and to be socially active. It was a long time since I had ridden a bike regularly but I joined a group of recreational riders – Dandy Bikers, part of Dandenong U3A. I loved my return to riding and this motivated me to check out the web. I found myself on the Bicycle Network site and was attracted to the idea of helping to support major Bicycle Events. I applied to become a volunteer.

Tell us a bit about your role on the Route Services team.

I was invited to join the Route Services Team. I had really no idea what to expect but Bob Cater, the Route Services Team Leader invited me to join him at the workshop in Sunshine and ran a valuable induction session. Of course, the only way to really understand the role is to do it. My first Volunteer event was the Great Vic Bike Ride 2018 and my role included:

  • Driving a 3-tonne box van stacked with all the required equipment for each rest site
  • Early morning rises to ensure that the Route Services Team were on the road in sufficient time to prepare the rest site for the first cyclists
  • Unloading/loading equipment at nominated rest sites
  • Assembling the rest site and ensuring that all equipment is correctly located and setup
  • Rest site bump-out including careful repacking and storage of all equipment
  • The priority role is to ensure water supply means that the main water tank (bartlett) needs to be filled with water, ready for the first cyclists.
  • Site preparation includes the setup of an area for the medics
  • and
  • (like any other Position Description) anything else that is requested!!!

Given my background in project management, I like to recognise the need for continuous improvement and always provide a “Lessons Learned” report after each event.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering? 

The support and friendship from volunteers is magic. I have made many new friendships and I find myself excited as each new event approaches. The bike riders are also quick to acknowledge the support of volunteers adding to the general good feeling. The Bicycle Network staff are always there to provide support. They work tirelessly and yet always seem to have a smile. 😁

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

I arrived a Rest Stop early one morning. The portable toilets had been delivered. My colleague and I prepared the bartlett and then, courtesy of the water tanker, received 3000 litres of water in readiness for the day ahead.

Not long after that we were approached by the neighbouring farmer who identified themselves lived in the house next to our site. He asked who had given us permission to setup in this location as we were on their land!

An explanation was offered that we were under the impression that all permissions had been sought and obtained but were now in a difficult position as we could not easily lift 3000 litres of water or relocate the toilets. We suggested to the farmer that perhaps this could be an opportunity to sell some of his produce. He declined but did agree that we could stay at the location.

I requested the Event Leaders to speak with the landowner and they did. As they had received permission from the council it could only be assumed that a mistake had been made but they promised to follow up.

Diplomacy won the day 🙊🙉🙈

What advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering?

New friendships, fun trips, opportunity to help people. Give it a go and you won’t regret it.

Thank you David! We hope to see you back on route in 2021!

If you or someone you know would like to get involved, you can learn more here.

Learn more about volunteering