Volunteer spotlight – Richard Ashton

We're shining some light on our amazing volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring our most popular events, like United Energy Around the Bay, to life. 


What motivated you to start volunteering on Around the Bay?

In 2009 as part of our younger daughter's studies at VU Footscray, she had to volunteer for an event and chose United Energy Around the Bay. She asked if I would be interested in joining her and I jumped at the chance. By being with the start line team, we knew we would see the participants at their freshest! 

Tell us a bit about your role on the start line team

The role is to ensure all cyclists leave the start area in their designated times and do it safely. It also means we "control" the flow of cyclists attempting to prevent them from becoming tied up in a log jam not far from the start point. We also act as responders to questions from the cyclists about any topic they can think of.

The role has changed over the period, in the first couple of years we were responsible for setting up the metal barriers near the horse trough in Alexandra Avenue, (a difficult assignment at 4.30am) and then packing them up when the riders had departed.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

To see the variation in attitudes of the participants – ranging from the calmness of the seasoned veterans to the excitement of the new riders. And in all honesty, and not brown nosing, to see how Lauren* does it. She is a brilliant and committed organiser and I love seeing her in action.

*Lauren is one of the event team members and volunteer coordinators at Bicycle Network – famously high energy and well organised!

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

In the first year the start was moved from Alexandra Avenue to Linlithgow Avenue, the street lights failed to operate. It was a monumental effort of organisation, carried out with loud voices and total cooperation from the riders to enable them to start without injury or damage.

What have you been doing to keep busy during lockdown?

I actually retired from work in late August so all our travel plans were scuttled. The lockdown has enabled me to concentrate on reading of Australian Military history books which I have really enjoyed  and to spend more time in the garden. 

Thank you Richard! We hope to see you back on the start line soon.

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


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