Prame Chopra has been riding his bike in Canberra since he arrived in 1976. He joined the Pedal Power ACT Council in 2013 and has made a significant contribution to the direction and professionalism of Pedal Power in a short space of time. We asked him five key questions.
Why did you become a volunteer with Pedal Power?
I decided to join the Council because I’ve benefited from the hard work of so many other Pedal Power volunteers before me. When I first came to Canberra in 1976 and bought a bike from Geoff Emerton Cycles in Northbourne Avenue, I was quick to make use of Canberra’s first off-road cycle path, from the ANU to Dickson. Since then we’ve seen an enormous growth in cycle paths, on road cycle lanes and cycling facilities across the city, due in large part to Pedal Power’s never-ending efforts to keep cycling infrastructure in the minds of various ACT Governments and their transport planners. It’s a wonderful achievement and now I think it’s my turn to try and ‘give something back’.
What’s the best part of the job?
It exposes me to the full range of Pedal Power’s activities. There’s plenty to think about and get my teeth into and, as a newcomer, there’s an opportunity to think outside the square. Sometimes there are good ideas just waiting to be thought of but most of the time it’s more about trying to find a tweak here or there for things that already work very well.
If you could do one thing to make Canberra more cycle-friendly, what would it be?
Get more people cycling more often! Eventually there’ll be enough cyclists on the roads that drivers will get used to all of us and be more considerate. My wife and I have done quite a lot of cycling in France where bikes are more commonplace on the roads and drivers are much more courteous and considerate.
Describe what sort of a bike rider you are
I commuted by bike throughout my working life and didn’t do much recreational cycling but now I’ve morphed into retirement, recreational cycling has become a large part of my life. I’m typically out on Canberra’s wonderful bike paths and on local roads in NSW at least four times a week. My mates and I cover 200km or so each week. I’m not at all interested in racing. For me it’s more about me and my machine against the hills and dales rather than a competition against others.
You have two hours to spare for a bike ride on a fine Canberra summer’s day. Where would you go?
Out to a café in Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, Gold Creek, Queanbeyan, Mount Stromlo or anywhere in between with a few mates. If there’s a bit more time then it’s hard to beat a ride from Civic past Lanyon to Tharwa and back along the Tidbinbilla Road and Point Hutt Crossing. It’s a beautiful quiet road with lots of great scenery and bird song that you never hear in a car.
If you have a keen interest in developing all types of cycling in the ACT, why not nominate for a position on the Pedal Power Council? The AGM is on Tuesday 18 February. More information on the Pedal Power website.