The Parliamentary Cycling Group - 'Riders on the Hill'
'Riders on the Hill' news :::2012:::
As winter rolls on with the Riders braving sub-zero temperatures for much of the pre- and post-winter break rides, many of the Members have been very active supporting a range of charitable riding events.
Bernie Ripoll's Brisbane2Ipswich was again a great success raising around $75,000 for their chosen charities in Queensland, Tony Abbott's Pollie Pedal again raised $xxx,000 for Carers Australia and Luke Hartsuyker has been busy in August supporting his local community in the Coffs Cycle Challenge.
Above: Luke Hartsuyker, Tony Abbott, Greg Kachel, Andrew Plumley and ? at the Coffs Cycle Challenge in early August 2012.
Parliament may be in its Christmas break, but Senator, the Hon 'Sports Fan' Arbib (and new member of the Parliamentary cycling group Riders on the Hill) has been busy welcoming Australia's first ever professional cycling team GreenEdge to Parliament.
In Canberra for testing and its first group get together, the team assembled with the Minister for Sport and the ACT Minister for Sport, Andrew Barr, on Wednesday, 7th December for a ride from the AIS to Parliament House.
The occasion provided a great photo op on the forecourt of Parliament House and heralds and exciting year ahead for all fans of cycling now that we have our own team to follow in all the major races including Tour de France, Paris Roubaix, Milan San Remo and other major Tours like in Italy and Spain.
The team will start its season at the Bay Crits in Victoria, Cycling Australia National Road Cycling Championships in Ballarat and Tour DownUnder, all of which are in January 2012.
Above: The entire team, both men and women, posing in front of Parliament with Mark Arbib and Andrew Barr.
Above, L-R: Mark Arbib, Stephen, Gerry Ryan, Andrew Ryan, sponsor and Director of GreenEdge respectively.
The year is nearly finished for Riders on the Hill, but the weather is getting warmer and riding is a pleasure in the clear conditions in Canberra. Greg Kachel, Julie Owens, Stephen Hodge and Mark Dreyfus out for one of the last Parliamentary rides for the year.
Riders on the Hill supported Ride 2 Work Day in 2011. Mark Dreyfus rode to work with the Dept of Climate Change's riders and enjoyed a breakfast in the centre of Canberra at Glebe Park. Other Riders on the Hill rode to work and joined with the Department of Parliamentary Services team at their breakfast in the formal gardens of Parliament House.
Above; Bernie Ripoll, Julie Owens and Stephen Hodge with DPS for Ride2Work breakfast.
September 2011 - Active Transport for Sustainable Cities Parliamentary Dinner
In a first for cycling in this country, the Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) organised the Active Transport for Sustainable Cities Dinner in Parliament House Canberra. Hosted by Riders on the Hill, Bernie Ripoll MP and the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, the dinner in Parliament was held on Wednesday evening, 21st September.
The event was extremely well supported with 19 Members of Parliament, Senators and senior advisors attending, including Cabinet Secretary Mark Dreyfus QC, Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews and senior advisors.
The CPF, with Stephen Hodge as MC, was able to present unique perspectives on the benefits of increased cycling from the UK, China, USA and Australia from four international and national key note speakers we flew in direct from the Asia Pacific Cycle Congress in Brisbane. Prof Haixao Pan, Shanghai; Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong USA; Phillip Darnton, UK and Mark Cridland, Associate Director General Qld Transport and Main Roads all gave their perspectives on some of the success stories from around the World in getting our cities moving and addressing issues such as transport congestion and quality of life in our urban areas.
Hosts and guests at the Active Transport for Sustainable Cities Parliamentary Dinner on 21 September.
September 2011 - Ride 4 Life
Riders on the Hill were active in September supporting Phillippa Seldon and Gary Lilley in their Ride 4 Life, raising money for suicide prevention.
The Hon Mark Butler MP was at Parliament House on the morning of the 25th August, along with Riders on the Hill (Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, Hon Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, Hon Kevin Andrews, Bernie Ripoll MP, Julie Owens MP, Greg Kachel, COS to Senator Williams, Andrew Taylor, Stephen Hodge, Cycling Promotion Fund and organiser of Riders) to see Gary & Philippa off on their seventeen day journey through to Brisbane. “Our route is based around visiting Lifeline centres in Wollongong, Sydney, Newcastle, Tamworth, Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and the Gold Coast before arriving into Brisbane on Saturday 10th September to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day”, Philippa said.
Statistics show that suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 and women under the age of 35 in Australia. Six people die by suicide every day in Australia. In September, 2009 at just 35 years of age, Philippa’s eldest brother ended his own life. The reason why will never be known. Dale was a devoted son, brother, uncle, partner and mate. He touched the lives of so many people whose paths crossed with his. Philippa says, “If you had Dale as your mate, you were lucky. I am fortunate to have Dale as my brother.”
The loss of a loved one by suicide has such a profound effect on so many people. Philippa’s experience with suicide motivated her to make a personal difference which is where Cycle 4 Life began.
Life is precious, but at times can be full of challenges. It is how we face and overcome these challenges that ultimately determines our happiness and emotional wellbeing. At times we need a little help and support along the way which is where the truly unique and vital organisation – Lifeline www.lifeline.org.au is so important. Lifeline provides help and crisis support for thousands of Australians, 24 hours a day, year after year.
L-R: Greg Kachel, Julie Owens, Stephen Hodge, Hon Mark Dreyfus QC, Hon Kevin Andrews, Gary Lilley, Hon Tony Abbott, Phillippa Seldon.
The new year has seen a strong return of our regular riders and an appearance from Barnaby Joyce who impressed all with his strength and fitness. As the weather cools all will be tested but the Riders on the Hill team issue kit should help keep everyone warm. A stop for coffee is increasingly seen as a critical step in ensuring everyone is primed and ready for the long day ahead. We are reliably informed that several bi-partisan motions have got up on the strength of the coffee alone!! :)
Looking forward to catching up with everyone following the autumn break. Stephen H.
A new session is underway and Riders on the Hill is back again. Riding every Wednesday in sitting weeks, the Parliamentary cycling group continues to offer a relaxed and enjoyable ride for those members, senators and staffers who like to ride and enjoy the fantastic Canberra environment before diving into a big day's work inside the House.
On Wednesday 27th we welcomed a new Rider, Andrew Lamington, to the group. Joining with a growing group of members and staffers from all sides of politics, we are sure he will enjoy the group rides and coffees with the group.
2009/10 has seen a good Riders on the Hill group settle in for some enjoyable rides before work on Wednesdays during sitting weeks. Several riders have got significantly fitter and the group is steaming along and now enjoying a regular coffee stop at the end of each ride. We have welcomed Luke Hartsuyker and David Garner to the Riders in recent times, both of whom are likely to cause increases in average speed!! George Mina is now leading the bunch following a) some long service leave that allowed him to spend serious time riding and b) the purchase of a new very fast racing bike late last year.
Winter weather is upon us, but the Parliamentary Cycling Group, Riders on the Hill, is bigger and better than ever. New members, great kit to show off, and a real team identity. Coffee also seems to be adding to the atmosphere when the weather is not too cold! Here is the latest 6.30 departure from APH.
Thanks to the Member for Oxley Bernie Ripoll for supplying the photo. Pictured from left to right are Mark Dreyfus QC MP, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, Julie Owens MP, Bindi, Ray, Stephen Hodge, The Hon Tony Abbott MP and Andrew.
Riders on the Hill is alive and kicking with a new team kit, new members and a rapidly growing taste for post-ride coffee!!
Here is the new design for the Parliamentary cycling group's jersey and a photo of its first outing.
Several Riders made it to South Australia for the Tour DownUnder and the Lance-festival. Bernie and Marg, Julie and Co., Kevin and Marg have all been enjoying the spectacle of the Pro Tour event in SA this January.
New 'Riders on the Hill' Kit: it has arrived and a time will be found to have a little hand over in the first week back. Check for emails from Bernie for details. It looks great.
First Riders on the Hill date for 2009: Wednesday 4th February!!!
Let Stephen Hodge know if a bike or assistance is needed to get started again in Canberra. Mobile 0411 149 910, work 02 6290 2760, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last ride for 2008 was held in glorious warm sunny conditions, and for the first time this year a halt was called to enjoy a café together and engage in some bipartisan chat. It was a great way to end the Parliamentary year.
The first ride back will be on Wednesday, 4 February 2009. Don't forget to bring your bikes and any new pollies you can muster. It will be the occasion to model the new Riders on the Hill cycling kit which should be ready by then.
Left to right: Ben Battission, Bernie Ripoll, Mark Dreyfus, Julie Owens, Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews, Stephen Hodge.
There has been a lot of action throughout the federal electorates in the latest break from Parliament. Many of the Riders on the Hill particpated in the Pollie Pedal raising money for prostate cancer this year, well done again Tony Abbott with a total of over $1m raised since you started the ride eleven years ago. Others have been running their own rides such as the Mall to Mall in QLD (Bernie Ripoll), and undoubtedly more of you are trying to fit in some R&R (recreation & riding) before coming back to the budgetary process in the middle of May, when exercise will undoubtedly be hard to fit in.
Don't forget that Riders on the Hill has a weekly ride in sitting weeks, departing each Wednesday at 6.30am from the Members entrance and returning by 7.30. All are welcome, and the route will be determined as a function of the level of those that turn up. No one is too slow!! If you do not have a bike in Canberra, give Stephen Hodge a call (0411 149 910) to see if he can arrange to bring you one on the day. Stephen can also help you source a reliable second hand bike to buy if you would like to have one in Canberra and not have to bring it with you every time you fly from home.
See you soon in Canberra! Regards, Stephen Hodge
Riders on the Hill is back on for 2008, and all members, senators and staffers are welcome whatever your standard.
The group meets each Wednesday morning in sitting weeks, with the first ride on Weds 20th Feb. Simply bring your (roadworthy) bike and helmet. More details: contact group coordinators Bernie Ripoll or Julie Owens, or email Stephen using the contact form on this website (contacts page).
Here are the inaugural Riders on the Hill for 2008!
Download the full resolution photo (477kb jpg): click here
As you can see there is plenty of room for more members and senators to get out and about in the beautiful Canberra surrounds and start the day with plenty of energy and good humour. The first riders were: Bernie Ripoll (convenor), Julie Owens (convenor), Sussan Ley, Kevin Andrews, Stephen Conroy, Mark Dreyfus, Ben Battisson (ride helper, ASADA) and Stephen Hodge.
Following some major changes in the federal parliament we wait to see how many new cyclists Riders on the Hill may gain. To Phil Baressi, one of the founding members of Riders on the Hill, our comiserations and best wishes for the future. To the riders who are now on the other side of the house, good luck with your new responsibilities or good luck with a bit of extra time to go riding!!!
Stephen will be back in 2008 if there are pollies who want to ride. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
The Riders are back in action for 2007. Completely non-denominational opportunity for members, senators and staff to come out once a week during sitting for a group ride together. We celebrated the end of 2006 with a ride up Black Mountain, and are now enjoying rides out and about around Canberra. Coordinators for 2007 are Bernie Ripoll & Julie Owens, thanks to Sussan Ley and Phil Baressi and their the good staff for taking the running for the first year or two of Riders on the Hill.
See you Wednesdays, at 6.30am at the members entrance.
23 OCTOBER 06
Preparations for the last sitting weeks.
While you are all back in your electorates, I thought it worthwhile to record some of the ideas we have discussed for our final rides for 2006. Among our goals for the end of year that we plan to achieve are:
- An ascension of Black Mountain (by bike!!)
- Group ride up Red Hill at least once
You have also expressed an interest in a unique 'Riders on the Hill' jersey design, and I am asking a couple of Australian manufacturers for ideas and offers.
We have a strong group of regular riders but would be happy to welcome additional riders to the group. Some of the stalwarts from the establishment of the Riders on the Hill have been notable by their absence, but now that the weather is so nice for riding, check out those tyre pressures, oil the chain and come out with us for a few last rides!! Others will be inviting their spouses along to show them the joys of cycling with the 'Riders' in a sitting week.
Look forward to catching up for the next ride. Regards, Stephen.
5 SEPTEMBER 06
Spring has arrived in Canberra, it is light and warmer at 6.30am, so now is the time to get back on your bike for Riders on the Hill.
Bernie 'Chook' Ripoll (who wants to show off his new all carbon toy), and Julie Owens are currently leading the charge, but Abbott and Farmer are on a mission with multiple guest cycling dates to prepare for, Jacqui can't wait to re-discover something that is less slippery than ice and Kevin needs to prepare for the Round the Bay ride, so watch out!!
Wednesdays at 6.30am during sitting weeks, House of Reps entrance, to go cycling with Australian Olympian Stephen Hodge for an hour or so. Just a few momentos to show you that pedalling pollies are happy pollies ......
14 JUNE 06
Well, it took the coldest day in two years to stop the Riders on the Hill for the first time ever!! Despite a Parliamentary chamber full of action with placards resembling two cent pieces in evidence, claims of gay-bashing and federal interference vs 'marriage rules', and various other matters, the real action was via sms and semaphore hand signals across the chamber.
Bi-partisan agreement was the order of the day as both sides of the house agreed to stay in bed and not brave what turned out to be the coldest minimum temperature of recent years. Stephen was kept entertained until the wee hours of the morning deciphering the various updates from a phalanx of mobile phones without the fainest idea which of his proteges was sending the messages, but the outcome was certainly welcomed by all.
12 MAY 06
The next Riders on the Hill ride will be on Wednesday, 24th May. Budget week was deemed to be a big ask for members to want to rise early for a ride the 'night after'!!
15 FEBRUARY 2006
Back bigger and better than ever!! Regular rides are back on during sitting times. Two rides have already been held so far this year, with a great turn out to date. It seems that everyone is getting a lot faster with racing bikes now the bike of choice.
21 NOVEMBER 05
Some of you are preparing for the Hartley Challenge, good luck! Otherwise, we will see you all next week. I hear Mal Brough has a serious sprint on him, its about time he came out with us to show it off the the Riders on the Hill.
31 OCTOBER 05
Just a note to let you know that our regular ride will be on a Wednesday in sitting weeks. Please contact me for any additional news or information. Regards, Stephen H.
3 OCTOBER 2005
The Senate is sitting this week and all Senators and staff are invited to join the Riders on the Hill Parliamentary Cycling Group for a morning ride tomorrow (Tuesday) starting at 6.30am - 7.30am.
Stephen Hodge will accompany you for a relaxed morning ride with some tips on skills at the same time. For those new to the group, you need a roadworthy bike, helmet and appropriate footware.
1. RIDE PROGRAM & GOALS
There is a ride each Wednesday in sitting weeks.
I undertake to organise a ride for each of these weeks. The ride:
- will provide you with a fun ride each week as a group
- will not be at a hard level, we ride at the speed of the slowest and see how we go
- can be used to make you fitter and prepare you for a goal event or two at the end of the year (Hartley/Brindabella/something in your electorate)
- Some time on the first ride may be taken up checking your bikes for safety etc.
- are on a Wednesday morning in sitting weeks from 6.30-7.30am leaving from the Members' entrance.
Ride Program: every Wednesday in sitting weeks.
Goals: Possible goals we can prepare you for are;
- the Hartley Challenge ride (Three day team-based fundraising ride from Canberra to Kosciusko, held around late November each year),
- the Brindabella Challenge (early December each year) see http://www.brindabellachallenge.com.au/
Membership to 'Riders on the Hill': federal members, senators and their staff, spouses etc are welcome.
Bikes: All riders will need their own machine in road worthy condition, an Aust Standards approved helmet, and appropriate clothing. I am able to investigate sourcing bikes either for members to buy second hand, or the best option in a reasonable road bike.
Convenors of the group: In 2008 Julie Owens and Bernie Ripoll have offered to act as the ‘convenors’ for the 'Riders on the Hill' cycling group, past convenors include Sussan Ley and Phil Baressi.
3. OTHER EVENTS
Riding events: in addition to the Hartley & Brindabella Challenges mentioned above, there are many across Australia each year. Talk to me if you don’t know how to find out about them.
4. NEXT STEPS
- CONTACT ONE OF THE CONVENORS TO RECEIVE INFORMATION ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DO or Stephen Hodge (email using contact form on this website).