What a year! As 2020 continues to have us spinning our pedals backwards the committee has taken advantage of the lull to develop new initiatives to take VetRide into the future.
In keeping with the intent to spread the VetRide ideal and broaden our footprint, Queensland and Victoria have developed a joint strategy to increase our membership. An initial recruiting focus in the Townsville and Brisbane regions seeks to add to our membership from currently serving ADF personnel.
A direct request to the Federal Member for Herbert, Mr Phillip Thompson OAM MP, has seen an in principle agreement to support our efforts. Phillip is an ex-serving member of the ADF; serving with the 1st Battalion he saw service in East Timor and Afghanistan. Severe injuries from an IED in Afghanistan saw return to Australia and a long road to recovery. Since the move from the Army to civilian life he has worked to champion mental health and suicide prevention. In 2018 he was awarded his OAM for his significant service to the welfare of war veterans.
A further focus on current and recently discharged ADF members has seen the commencement of negotiations with a large group of cyclists from the now disbanded Soldier On Cycling. Despite the many generational differences it is pleasing to see the common ground we share in terms on interest and intent.
Mountain Biking in Australia has been on of the fastest growing sports over the last few years. The committee has discussed how we could support this discipline within VetRide more than we have in the past. There are many challenges in achieving this; not the least of which is the risk of alienating current members through the fear of ‘not keeping up’ or ‘I can’t do that’. The same fears could be present among those coming from MTB to road or gravel.
Another growing area of cycling, not only within a Australia but also worldwide, is the advent of electric bicycles particularly pedelec (PEdal ELEctric Cycle) in the MTB world. Advances in battery technology and decreasing costs means that these bicycles are a viable solution to many of the concerns mentioned above. The uptake of these types of MTB has Specialized predicting that production of conventional mountain bikes will cease in the future.
There are also numerous bolt on kits that can be used to convert those old bicycles we no longer use to a pedelec; of course, having a couple of old GT’s lying around this is what I have done; stay tuned for a further post on how I went about this.
In the mean time stay strong ;there is light at the end of this pandemic tunnel and we are sure to see a return to normalcy – however gradual it may be.