Blood Bikes is a national association of volunteers that transport medical essentials such as blood, biological samples, medical notes, e-rays and scans on their motorcycles to support our wonderful National Health Service, totally free of charge .
This year, the amazing volunteers at Blood Bikes have played an incredible part in assisting the NHS in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Their resources are being stretched to the limit and their fundraising opportunities have been reduced, so they need our help more than ever. 5% of revenue made from Moto products this weekend will be donated to Northumbria Blood Bikes and SERV Herts and Beds Bloodbikes - both of which have Beeliner volunteers - to help them keep up their outstanding work.
SERV Herts and Beds Bloodbikes
SERV Herts and Beds Bloodbikes operates in the “three counties” area just north of London. Between their 90 riders, they complete 2,500 jobs a year; saving the NHS approximately £90-100 each time. One rider, “Mr Wilson”, has done over 170 jobs so far this year! Working with hospitals, hospices and milk banks, they will transport anything from a blood sample to a bag of donor breast milk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Beeliner Roy has been an active Blood Biker for a little over two years, having been inspired by a couple of friends who were already involved. There is no “typical drop”, he says, but all of them will start with a call from the shift controller (another member of the group, who is in charge of organising the volunteers) who will tell riders what needs collecting from where, and the priority level. In “urgent, patient waiting” drops, time is critical and riders will safely filter through traffic in the hopes of contributing to a positive outcome for the patient and their family.
For Roy, each delivery he does “means something”, but there is one particular collection that stands out. It was for “a newborn baby with critical health issues and wasn’t expected to live. I collected a box from Colindale Blood Centre for a local hospital and made best speed to get it there. I was greeted by nurses in order to get the box to the right people in the quickest time and the gratitude from them made my small contribution feel very humbling. I later learned from my controller that the baby had survived. That’s why we do it.”
With a fleet of just four motorbikes and petrol costs paid for by the riders themselves, are able to keep their costs as low as possible, but still require £20-24,000 a year to carry out their vital work.
Northumbria Blood Bikes
Covering everywhere from Berwick to Teeside to Cumbria, Northumbria Blood Bikes is the largest Blood Bike organisation in the UK in terms of geographical area, and is right up there in terms of the number of jobs too.
With a fleet of 19 vehicles (cars and motorcycles) to maintain and insure and fill with petrol, Northumbria BB requires £5,500 a month to cover their costs. With the huge added challenge of coronavirus this year, the NHS has needed their services more than ever and Northumbria has seen the number of jobs they are asked to take soar. At the same time, their fundraising opportunities (often through talks or at events) have been severely limited. They need us!
Beeliner Ian has been volunteering his time with Northumbria Blood Bikes since 2017, having first heard about it at a motorcycle safety course. At first, he wasn’t sure how he might fit shifts around his full-time job but soon realised just how flexible Blood Biking can be; he can do as many or as few shifts that fit around his work schedule.
Ian says, “as our name suggests, we transport packs of blood safely stored in blood boxes. But we also transport other types of packages such as samples, paperwork, equipment and even healthcare staff (although we don’t put the staff in the boxes, and only in the cars!)”. As a rider and a shift controller, Ian sees the whole service end-to-end: from the moment that the phone call arrives from the GP surgery to receiving confirmation that the potentially life-saving item or information has arrived at its destination.
Riders never know what they are transporting, beyond a vague description like “blood sample”, and never get to meet the patients for whom their work means so much. But a “thank you” or a free coffee from members of the public who spot them on their shifts (often having received support from Blood Bikes themselves in the past) reminds riders of just what an incredible difference their work makes.
Ian loves what he does and suggests that, if you have been inspired by learning about NBB, “you could also get in touch with your local Blood Bike charity (there’s loads of them all over the country) who would love to hear from you and welcome you as part of their family of volunteers.”
(If you’d like to read Ian’s full blog, you can check it out here).
We will be donating 5% of our Beeline Moto Black Friday weekend (Friday 27th November to Monday 30th November) revenue to these two Blood Bikes organisations to help support the fantastic work that they are doing.
If these stories have inspired you to become a Blood Biker yourself, you can find out more info about getting involved here.