Richard Volet, Principal Flute

Richard Volet

Photo by Michael Byrne

Ride distance one-way to the Royal Theatre: I live 3 km from the Royal Theatre and it takes me 8-9 minutes to bike. It takes the same time by car, so I’d rather bike if I can—then the pedestrians don’t have to worry about me trying to run them over in my car, of which my wife accuses me.

Frequency: I bike to work when the weather permits, probably around half the time. A light rain is OK, but I don’t feel safe in a downpour or in snow and ice. I also rarely ride in my dress clothes, although I usually go to Symphony Splash on the bike.

What do you enjoy about biking to work?

I like getting a little exercise and some fresh air, and at the same time saving money and burning a little less fossil fuel. And it’s fun! Often, after a two-rehearsal day I’ll go for a ride around Dallas Rd and circle around through Oak Bay just to re-energize.

Any biking stories to share?

One cold morning a few years ago I fell on some frosty ice a block from home even though I was going slowly. I limped home and Carol took me to rehearsal in the car; I was stiff and hurting, and broke the crystal on a vintage watch (which kept running fine), but nothing too serious.

Anything else you want to say on the topic?

I’ve got two bikes, both made and acquired used in the 80’s, so I’ve had them for around twenty five years. One is a Marinoni, which frequently attracts a “NICE BIKE!” from the cognoscenti. The other, equipped with fenders for the rain is a Miele I got for $80 at a garage sale. Good deal. I do most of my own regular maintenance.

I used to tear around town like a maniac. In my old age, I’m more careful; balance, reflexes and vision are not what they used to be. I used to race former trumpeter Erik Murphy down the Foul Bay hill coming home from UVic, but a little while ago I was going down that hill and just decided I didn’t feel secure enough anymore, so now I go down Dean, parallel to Foul Bay—not as steep and away from the cars.