Tom Campbell has been riding a bike for most of his life, and Pedal Power ACT has been lucky to have him as a member and Ride Leader for many years.
Can you tell me a bit about being a Ride Leader?
I enjoyed the way the Drivers organised things, and happily agreed to lead rides when asked by Anne Marie.
One stands out. I did Sunday rides starting at the Acton Ferry Terminal. One ‘normal’ Sunday I fronted to do a favourite ride through parks and treed areas in North Canberra. The normal ten or so Pedal Power members appeared, but also about 20 or so from the South Coast who had come to Canberra for a few days of riding. It was late Spring and all was perfect, as I particularly enjoyed travelling along Miller St in O’Connor, where the trees arc right across the road as a tunnel. In the winter there are no leaves and the contrast is tremendous, so it was a great ride at that time.
Another memorable ride occurred when only half a dozen turned up for the start on a bitterly cold wintery day. All riders were from northern suburbs, so a decision quickly made to ride almost directly to Dickson shops, find the warmest café, and enjoy the consequences. Very short and sweet.
I’ve heard mention of your history-themed rides
I normally rode to a theme. As I was working in religious history, one theme was ‘Let’s Get Religion’ around the north side, as there are about 30 different faith communities, and most riders have no idea they are there. For example, the Quakers, the Tibetan Buddhists, the Ukrainian Orthodox and Uniate churches, the Hare Krishnas.
Years ago, a Pedal Power ride was published that was federation-related. Done by Luke Wensing, Michael McGurk and Kim Young. In 2008 Sep Westerhuis pulled one together on historical buildings, and shared it with me.
How do you impart all this information on the ride?
We’d stop every now and then, often to collect people together, particularly on the social rides. You just pick a couple of spots where you stop, and say “Oh by the way, that’s the Ukranian Catholic Church, as opposed to the Ukranian Orthodox Church that’s down in Turner.” Just little things, you don’t stop and make a big noise about it.
When you started at the Acton Ferry Terminal, and go across to the National Museum, the first thing you’d see was the enormous statues of the Bogong Moths. You’d stop and ask if people had ever thought about the ribbon sculpture, that links the Museum to Uluru. You’d ask who knows where the large fibreglass statue of Winston Churchill is? Who knows of the replica of the device Australian scientists and engineers developed and used to rescue the Chilean miners from hundreds of metres down? Who knows we have a piece of the old German wall? Who knows where is the memorial to the scattering of the ashes of Stanley Melbourne Bruce along the Lake?
Interested in becoming a Pedal Power ACT Ride Leader? Find out how.