Blood biking in Mid Wales
As many of you know, I like riding motorcycles. I thought I needed to do my bit for the community. So, having looked at various options, decided that Blood Bikes Wales (BBW) was a perfect fit.
I applied, filled in all the paperwork and then had to be taken out and have my riding assessed to see if I was safe and competent. This was slightly amusing because before you can ride a blood bike you have to have an advanced motorcycle qualification such as a ROSPA or IAM advanced pass.
For the last 18 years I have been the IAM’s motorcycle examiner in Mid Wales and assessed many of the people riding the blood bikes at the moment.
Having passed the test I was eligible for my first shift.
Octobers rota was sent out asking for volunteers for the shifts and I put myself down for four.
Monday evening was my first shift starting at 5pm. At 2.30 the phone rang and it was one of BBW controllers. She asked me ‘Are you available to start now, I have a job that needs doing?’
‘Of course I can’ I said. It was my first job how could I turn it down. Duty calls and all that.
Soon after I was walking into the path lab at Bronglais Hospital. Having picked up the urgent blood samples I was off to meet another BBW bike in Rhayader who would take them on from me.
I was contacted by my controller while I was in Rhayader with another job, collecting and delivering medication from Bronglais. As I was collecting that I was given a third job collecting and delivering another batch of medication from Llanilar and delivering it.
Talk about a baptism of fire. All went well and I got home for my tea at about 7.30 which was very welcome.
I want to point out that everyone who works for BBW, volunteers to do the work. The riders, the controllers, the people who come out and raise the money to keep us on the road all give their time for nothing. We do not get expenses for mileage, food or anything else.
All the money raised goes to fund the purchase and running costs of the bikes. BBW is the largest BB organisation of its kind in the world. It is the only country wide BB group in existence.
To give you an example of the costs involved. Last year BBW motorcycles covered in excess of 440,000 miles. Petrol, tyres, servicing the bikes all cost a vast amount of money and it all come from donations.
So do me a favour, when you see a collection tin for BBW please spare a bit of change, you never know, we may be carrying your samples to the lab or medication to your house one day. Oh yes and when you see a BBW rider walking into a cafe soaking wet and looking for a cup of tea or coffee. Go up to them and say ‘I’ll get that’, it helps to raise the spirits and feel appreiated after a long shift riding in all weathers around this area we call Wales.
Here I am with Myfanwy, she was donated to Aber Blood Bikes by a local man who purchased the bike for us in memory of his late wife.