Meet Richard Chumbley, Active Devon’s New Cycling Project Officer

Richard Chumbley recently joined the Active Devon team as the new Cycling Project Officer. Richard explains how he’s keen to champion the passion for cycling, and work in communities to inspire and support people to ride more.

Cycling Has Always Been a Big Part of My Life

Six and a half years ago I set off from Los Angeles. One month later I arrived in Times Square, New York having cycled the 3,211 miles. Despite feeling exhausted, worn down and very cold, this is where my passion for cycling properly started.

It was a once in a lifetime trip that I was lucky enough to be a part of. And it played a huge part towards who I am today.

I took up the challenge of a coast to coast bike ride across America whilst in the process of applying to be a Royal Navy Clearance Diver. I knew this lengthy process was going to be both mentally and physically demanding. So, I decided to test myself to prove I was ready for what lay ahead.

It turns out cycling 100 miles a day for a month is as good a test as any.

All the hard work had been worthwhile, and a couple of tough years later I finally became a Royal Navy Diver. I was immensely proud to be in this role for five years. I met some incredible people, saw some amazing places and even had a close encounter with a killer whale!

However, for all the places I’d been and sea life I’d met, I always longed to be back on the sandy beaches and rolling hills of Devon. Then, whilst looking at a possible move to North Devon, I came across Active Devon’s new Cycling Project Officer position. I applied and was super excited to get the job and join the Active Devon team.

Inspiring and Supporting People to Cycle More and Enjoy Riding

The role has a real emphasis on getting more people out and about on bikes.

I have seen first-hand how an active lifestyle has positively impacted people’s physical and mental health, as well as the wider community. And I feel extremely passionate about helping others reap the rewards and simple pleasures that riding a bike can bring.

I’m also looking forward to showing people you don’t need an expensive bike, or wear Lycra to start pedalling.

With a key focus on North Devon, Newton Abbott, Exeter and Cranbrook, I would love to engage with local communities and groups. I’m keen to fully understand and listen to what people have to say about cycling in Devon. Plus, how we can work together to make it more accessible for all.

Working in a combined role with Active Devon and British Cycling, and in collaboration with Devon County Council, I really feel now is the time to fully exploit the positive shift happening around active travel and social prescribing.

I truly believe that anyone has the ability to ride a bike. Now it’s about making sure we all have the opportunity to give it a go.