As I sit here and write this I am sad to realize that autumn, or fall to you in the USA, is well on its way. Outside my window the rain is pouring down and a strong wind is blowing leaves from the trees, still green but now discolored and lacking vibrancy. Still can’t complain can I, after all at least I don’t have to suffer hurricanes and the like.
In situations of adversity human beings are amazing. We can put up with conditions that are life threateningly dangerous, ones that could make us despair for anything ever being right again, ones that push us both physically and mentally to the edge. That resilience is to be admired and celebrated but then there are people who go that little bit further and lay it all on the line to help a stranger in their time of need. These are great people and they always appear when disaster strikes, thank the gods!
However there are also people who will go the extra mile when things are not so bad, the guys who stop at the side of the road to check you are ok for instance. As motorcyclists we are used to this sort of action. Regarding it as normal would be ungrateful but it is unsurprising. As bikers we know that part of what makes our lifestyle special is that we look out for each other. On the other hand society generally labels us as irresponsible hooligans at best and organized psychotic criminals at worst so it is great at times to prove them wrong.
Enter the Blood bikes, not some crazed vampire motorcycles (although there is a film about that). These are groups of bikers who deliver emergency blood and other urgent medical supplies throughout Great Britain. In the United Kingdom and Ireland it is a network of registered charities, whose members are all unpaid volunteers, which provide blood bike courier services.
Yep, you read that correctly, these guys are UNPAID, they do it for free, 24/7 and 365 days a year. Most of the groups are represented through the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB).
The first group was set up in 1962 and was the brain child of Margret Ryson and her husband. This original group no longer exists but many, many others have sprung up because of their inspiration. The groups co-ordinate with their local health authorities to make pickups, and between each other to relay their life saving parcels all over the country to where they are needed. They ride bikes equipped with blue lights and sirens but at the moment they have to abide by all the rules of the road. No speeding, no traffic light jumping, no excuses. This however might change soon because the government is looking at giving them special exemption, just like fire, ambulance and police services, providing they go through the same training. If that legislation goes through the groups say that they will be able to provide an even quicker and more efficient service than they do now. Why are they quicker and more efficient? At the moment they are the quickest way to get a life saving medical supply across the country because of a bikes ability to cut through the UK’s congested traffic system. Being voluntary they are also the cheapest, every £1 that is donated to one of the charities saves the National Health Service £5 in courier or other fees.
So ok, yes we are idiots at times, ok, we are the best at being idiots at times, but we are also rather good at being caring and useful human beings and that should be recognized as well!