Meet Rob Butler, volunteer ride leader with over 20 years’ experience

A man proudly displays a certificate in front of a green hedge  Photo by Reading CTC
Rob Butler of Reading CTC proudly displays his silver Lifetime Achievement Award from Cycling UK. Photo: Rob Butler
Long-time Cycling UK member Rob Butler from Reading CTC has been recognised for more than 20 years of volunteering with a silver Going the Extra Mile Lifetime Achievement award from Cycling UK

Rob has been taking part in group outings with Reading CTC since 1998. In recent years, he has also coordinated the very popular Tuesday rides for the more senior members of the group.

Nominating him for the award, fellow club member Morris Dowding said: “Rob has an encyclopaedic knowledge of cycle routes, which has been of great service to countless numbers of participants. This knowledge includes not only understanding what the roads and lanes are like for recreational cycling throughout the seasons, but also keeping up to date with suitable venues for coffee/pub/lunch stops.

“Rob’s rides range across Berkshire, south Oxfordshire, south Buckinghamshire and north Hampshire. Since retirement, he’s concentrated on organising the Tuesday rides, particularly focused on appealing to cyclists of more mature years. Almost 60 riders are on the Tuesday group list, attracting an average of 17 riders on each Tuesday throughout the year.”

A man with a certificate in front of a group of smiling people
Rob with other members of Reading CTC and Jaz Morse of Cycling UK. Photo: Reading CTC

Regular Sunday road rides

“Notably, during Covid restrictions, Rob continued to arrange Tuesday rides to keep the group engaged and active, modifying the rides to meet the social-mixing guidelines that prevailed during that period. Much advance planning, scheduling and communication goes into it all.”

Rob added: “From 2000 to 2014, I led regular Sunday on-road rides. I was also the leisurely Sunday rides co-ordinator for a number of years during that period – trying to attract new or nervous cyclists by offering shorter rides.

“Nowadays, I organise Tuesday rides where people make their own way to and from a lunch location – usually a pub! So, it’s basically telling people where we are meeting, collecting numbers and booking us in at the pub.”

A huge surprise

On being presented with his award during a ride to the Loddon Brewery in May, Rob modestly said: “It was a huge surprise for me to get this award and I am very conscious that there are several other people in the Reading group who also deserve the same recognition. 

Nothing was better when leading a ride if a new cyclist came up afterwards and said how much they had enjoyed themselves and that they would certainly be coming out again

Rob Butler, Reading CTC, ride leader

“It was great that Jaz Morse from Cycling UK took the trouble to come out (by bike) to present the award to me. I have gained a great many close friends by being a volunteer and nothing was better when leading a ride if a new cyclist came up afterwards and said how much they had enjoyed themselves and that they would certainly be coming out again.”

Rob with his silver Lifetime Achievement certificate and Going the Extra Mile medal. Photo: Reading CTC

Making good friends

When asked if there are any downsides to being a volunteer ride leader, Rob simply said: “The weather!” He added: “It can also be a challenge finding pubs prepared to take a group of around 15-20 cyclists for lunch. Some have closed, some no longer do food on Tuesdays and some just don’t have the staff.”

However, the benefits outweigh any negatives: “I most enjoy the camaraderie. I’ve made a lot of good friends over the years.” He advised finding a very good deputy for when you’re away, adding that his deputy is “excellent!”

Celebrate the volunteers you know

Our Going the Extra Mile award programme is a great way to show your appreciation for volunteers you know who truly work hard to bring happiness to others through cycling. 

We have a range of certificates and badges on offer, depending on the level of commitment shown:

  • Thank you certificates
  • Certificates of Appreciation
  • Lifetime Achievement certificates: 
    • Bronze for 10+ years
    • Silver for 20+ years
    • Gold for 30+ years 
    • Platinum for 40+ years

To nominate an individual or a group for an award, just drop a line to saying who you would like to nominate for an award and why. Don’t forget to include an email address where we can contact your nominee/s.