Volunteer profile – Hester Wells

This article was published in 2016, in Newsletter 126.

Hester on the Reach Ride a couple of years ago.
Image as described adjacent

Tell us about you and your cycling journey.

I cycled a bit as a child, but didn’t come back to it until I was in my mid 20s. I started taking an evening class, and there wasn’t enough time for me to walk there after work. I couldn’t afford a car and the bus times didn’t work for me. Cycling was the fastest way to travel, so that’s what I did. Taking those evening classes helped me get a new job, so cycling was actually a part of my career progression! The new job was further away, so since then I’ve commuted by bike, and I’m cycling most days.

When and why did you join Cambridge Cycling Campaign?

I learned about the Campaign when I went on the Reach Ride one year, and joined just afterwards. For many years I was a silent member, but decided to get involved after I was disappointed in the result of a cycling road scheme. I’d meant to respond to a consultation but didn’t get round to it. Although my response alone wouldn’t have made a difference, I took it as a sign that I could hardly complain since I had done nothing to help!

What volunteer activities have you been involved in?

Initially I volunteered for isolated tasks, such as helping tidy up the route the day before the Reach Ride, then marshalling on the day. I attended a number of monthly meetings and learned about what the Campaign was working on. When I heard there was space on the committee I volunteered to join. I’ve written Campaign consultation responses, manned the stall at public events, written newsletter articles, counted cycle users on certain routes, met with councillors, officers and developers, talked about cycling to sixth-form students, organised social events and more.

What has been the best thing about volunteering with the Campaign?

I feel that I know a lot more about the city in which I live! It has taken me to parts of the city I don’t normally visit, and I’ve discovered places I wouldn’t otherwise have known about. It’s made me aware of how our city is growing and changing, and how that change happens.

What would you like to happen in the future of the Campaign and cycling in Cambridge?

I’d like to feel I could take my niece and nephews cycling anywhere in Cambridge and it would be safe and fun! I want a city where children can have independence on their bikes, and be active and healthy. And I want to be pedalling an e-bike or trike in safety long past the point where I can keep up with traffic!

What would you say to others who are considering active involvement with the Campaign?

Start small: there are one-off tasks and events where you can instantly feel you have achieved something. You never need to do more if you have limited time, but, if you want to, get more involved. I felt comfortable taking on more complex tasks after having helped out other people.

Sarah Rodger