Wheels for our NHS heroes

A bike hire scheme set up by NHS Lanarkshire is the first of its kind to be adopted by a health board in Scotland.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:55 pm
Peter Buckner has been more than happy to take advantage of the Wheels for Heroes initiative.

Named Wheels for Heroes, the low-cost folding bicycle hire scheme is open to all NHS Lanarkshire staff and free for the first three months.

It is has been made possible thanks to a unique partnership between NHS Lanarkshire, Brompton Bike Hire, Getting Better Together and Sustrans.

The project was established during the pandemic to keep healthcare workers moving safely, as well as providing opportunities for staff to enjoy cycling and its many health benefits.

Georgie Stuart, active travel project at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We’re delighted to be the first health board in Scotland to offer such an amazing scheme, in conjunction with our partners.

“Demand for bikes has dramatically overtaken supply during the Covid pandemic and this encouraged us to provide more opportunities for low-cost bike hires.

"By providing top-quality folding bikes, painted in the classic NHS colours, we can keep healthcare workers moving safely, improving their own health and well-being, and in style!”

Peter Buckner, an advanced clinical services pharmacist, is just one of those who has taken advantage of the scheme.

He said: “I jumped at the chance to hire a Brompton bicycle when I spotted the opportunity.

“I’ve used these bikes before and they’re a fun, convenient and deceptively quick way to get around and commute to work in Wishaw, where I can store the bike and access shower facilities.

“With lockdown easing, longer days and better weather approaching, I’m looking forward to enjoying more cycling, getting fitter and avoiding a few traffic jams.”

Julian Scriven, Brompton Bike Hire managing director, is delighted that the initiative, which has already been rolled out across NHS England, is now kicking up a gear in Scotland.

She said: “We’re delighted to partner with NHS Lanarkshire to bring these bikes to key workers in Scotland for the first time.

“We’re overwhelmed by the positive reaction we’ve had from NHS staff.”

For more information on the scheme, visit wheelsforheroes.org.

Prior to Covid-19, only one household in five owned a bicycle in Lanarkshire – less than the national average of one in three.

A 44 per cent increase in participation and surge in demand for bicycles saw local retailers report a 60 per cent increase in sales by the end of last year.