A free roadside bike repair service has been launched for NHS key workers to encourage them to keep on cycling to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The Bike Medic Scheme is operated by charity Forth Environment Link,and is in response to a surge in the number of NHS Forth Valley staff commuting by bike or electric bikes.
Nearly 80 health professionals are currently borrowing electric bikes and bikes from Forth Environment Link’s bike lending library; with a further 300 cycles available to key workers for free through the charity’s public bike share schemes, nextbike Stirling and Forth Bike.
The free call-out repair service covers the Forth Valley region and operates in a similar way to car breakdown recovery, with bikes being repaired at the roadside or taken away for repair. Onward travel will also be covered, so if a bike can’t be easily fixed cyclists will be offered a courtesy bike to allow them to finish their journey or receive a lift to work.
The charity’s Active Travel Co-ordinator, Ray Burr, said: “It all began when a local nurse approached us at the beginning of lockdown for help fixing her bike. We offered her an e-bike from our free lending library while her bike was in for repair and that snowballed into us providing 75 electric bikes for key workers, as well as wrap around cycling advice and support. Since lockdown began, we’ve been inundated with enquiries from key workers wanting to ditch the car and get in the saddle and we’ve been only too happy to support them to make that change a reality.”
NHS Forth Valley’s Medical Director Andrew Murray added: “This scheme recognises that not everyone may be comfortable with fixing a puncture or chain in the rare event of a breakdown. The creation of the bike mechanic role offers a strong degree of comfort, safety and support which we hope will be a deciding factor for people to get on their bikes and cycle to and from work and for leisure as we move into autumn and winter.
“Feedback from our staff so far has been really positive with staff telling us their fitness has improved, but also the bikes have helped their mental health and wellbeing too. At such a challenging time as this, this is very encouraging.”
Find Out More
NHS Forth Valley staff can contact our Forth Valley Bike Medic on 03333 208635 between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday for free roadside assistance. If you have any queries regarding the Bike Medic repair service then please email: email@example.com.