Celebrating National Volunteer Week 2020

Volunteers are at the heart of all social change, donating their time & abilities to causes throughout the world. At the Amy Gillett Foundation, we are privileged to receive the support of many volunteers who are instrumental to our mission for safe cycling in Australia.

This National Volunteers Week, we thank you!

Thank you to all of the volunteers who support Amy’s Gran Fondo, and to all of the volunteers who support events with which we have charity partnerships. Thank you to the partners and friends of our team who step in to help pack merchandise, post out A Metre Matters stickers, and lend us their time whenever they can.

We know you help because you’re passionate about cyclist safety, and we are so grateful.

Day-to-day, the AGF operates with a small team of dedicated staff and one incredible unpaid staff member, Jack Zagorski, who has volunteered in the office & at events, one or more days, every week, for ten years.

Jack rides into the AGF office each week and lends a hand on anything that needs to be done. With a background in education, his assistance on our programs and campaigns has been wonderful. Generous, passionate and a true believer in our mission, Jack is an invaluable part of the team. We sat down with Jack this National Volunteers Week to reflect on his 10 years of volunteering and hear about his favourite places to ride.

What made you want to volunteer at the AGF?

I started with the AGF in October of 2011. I had heard about the AGF previously and, after I retired from teaching, I wanted to become involved as a volunteer with a bicycle safety organisation.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the AGF?

I enjoy being involved with an organisation which is making the roads safer for cyclists. I am particularly happy with my involvement in the A Metre Matters campaign and with helping to develop It’s a Two-Way Street. I enjoy the interaction with like-minded people and my participation in the various events and activities that the AGF runs.

Do you have a favourite memory from your years at the AGF?

My favourite memory is the wonderful friendship and support that I experienced with the riders of the Share the Road Tour in Tasmania on my first-time volunteering at this event. The subsequent tours were also a great experience but this one was quite special.

Why is safety for cyclists important to you?

Since my retirement I have been riding my bike regularly, on roads, two or three times a week. It is important to me that our roads become a safe place for cyclists, not in competition with cars but as an equal road user. Appropriate road rules, adequate driver and rider education and, where necessary, improved infrastructure are needed to enable us to share the roads safely.

In addition to my volunteer work with AGF I also assist in a driver training program, with Nillumbik council, called L2P. This program uses experienced drivers to mentor learner drivers to help them obtain their 120 hours of driving practice. Not surprisingly, I make frequent reference to cyclists and how drivers should pass them safely.

What’s something you’d like to see changed so that the road would be safer for cyclists?

I would like a greater emphasis on sharing roads to be included in driver education and for improved on-road infrastructure, such as separated bike lanes on major transport routes, to be built.

When did you start riding?

As most youngsters I first started to ride at school. Serious riding started in 1983 when I bought my first new bike and started occasionally commuting to school. But my present regular cycling started in 2011 after I retired and shouted myself a quality road bike. Since then I have cycled nearly 110,000 km.

Why do you love to ride? 

When I used to cycle to school I would arrive refreshed and energised to do a day’s work. Now I feel at one with the environment when I ride in the Yarra Valley and I love riding past the stationary cars when I commute to the AGF. Riding up, and down, mountains in Europe and our Alpine regions is a sheer joy. What’s not to like?

Where is your favourite place to ride?

Most of my riding is around Nillumbik and Whittlesea Shires which are full of great cycling roads. Our Alpine region around Mt Beauty and Bright is also a favourite but almost anywhere in Europe especially in the alpine regions is my clear favourite. I have been there on four occasions and would be back like a shot if not for COVID-19.

Article by AGF Media

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