As part of our membership initiatives, each year we will be choosing and announcing an Escapee ‘Member #1’. This is an honorary role where we choose someone who has made a valuable contribution to the sport we love and whose values we’re inspired by.
Today, we’re honoured to announce that Richie Porte is Escape Collective’s very first Member #1. Richie has been a massive supporter over the years and has done so much in the background to help us out. In addition, Richie has recently wrapped up a remarkable career that’s demonstrated an incredible work ethic, a ‘never give up’ attitude, and a genuinely helpful character that says far more about him as a person than a bike rider.
When Wade asked me [to be Member #1], it was almost embarrassingly humbling. It is nice to stay up to date with the sport but not have the full-blown, blow-by-blow race breakdown. I like that there’s brilliant stories in there as well.
Richie has helped us make connections to set up interviews, pointed us in the right direction for stories, and even taken us out on the odd bike ride. Even at the height of his career, he was never too busy pick up the phone to do an interview or help us out. He’s also ‘paid-it-forward’ by helping out multiple young cyclists and having a hand in securing quite a few WorldTour contracts. He’s too humble to ever tell you about this stuff – so I will.
I remember the one and only time I ever raced against Richie, at the 2007 Tour of Bright when two unknown riders rode off on the final climb on stage 1, never to be seen again. After the stage I asked some of the guys who they were, and I learned their names: Steele von Hoff (who’d go on to win a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal and a couple of National Criterium Titles) and the young Tasmanian, Richie Porte.
It wasn’t long after that Richie was riding for Saxobank and wearing the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia. The rest is history and it was a pleasure keeping in touch with him thereafter, watching him grow as an athlete and a person.
What will Richie do as Member #1? As I said, it’s a ceremonial position – not someone we dump all our work on. I’m sure the role will evolve as the years go on, and we’ll leave it to the individual to make what they want of it. As for now, Richie being Richie is more than enough for us.
In future years we’ll be soliciting suggestions from our staff and fellow members to find the right person. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a bike racer – it could be an innovator, an advocate, a shop mechanic, a CEO. We want to highlight people that embody our values and align with what we do, and Richie fits that brief perfectly.
Escapees, please welcome Richie Porte as our 2023 founding Member #1.
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