Blood Bikes Wales provides a courier service, free of charge, to the NHS. It is funded entirely by public donations and business sponsorship and has no salaried staff, all are voluntary.
Though referred to as blood bikes, we do so much more: transporting test samples, documents, X-rays, frozen breast milk for premature babies and other essential medical supplies. If it will fit on the bike, we take it! The provision of this service results in several thousands of pounds of annual savings for the NHS, as the only alternative is the expensive use of taxis. As this service is free, NHS staff do not have to balance cost against urgency before making a call out. In the last year alone, Blood Bikes Wales has made 4,728 call outs, with 338 of those carried out in the last 3 months.
Here in Aberystwyth, we now have 19 ‘Riders’ and a number of ‘Controllers’ as well as a large group of very important members who help with fundraising, which is vital to keeping the service running. Overall, Blood Bikes Wales now has 15 motorbikes, each bike costing at least £3,000 a year to run. Aberystwyth area has been wonderfully generous in the last year and donations came to about £16,500. This included the fantastic cheque for £9,000 that Aberystwyth Lions gave us for the purchase of a brand new Triumph Trophy. We also have great support from Cambrian Tyres, who have helped us out with the provision of a second bike, a Triumph Tiger, and we are a partner of the Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service, the trophy currently being housed in the new Aberystwyth Fire Station.
The ‘Controllers’ are the first point of contact for the service. There is a single dedicated phone number that NHS staff can use in order to contact the Duty Controller with a request. The controller then organises a local Duty Rider to proceed with the call out. There is a rigorous receipt system for the item being transported. The Rider has to be 25 or over, have at least two years riding experience, and have a class ‘A’ licence with Advanced Rider qualification. The Aberystwyth area serves the small hospitals and health centres that work with Bronglais. These include Tywyn, Machynleth, Llanidloes, Newtown, Tregaron, Aberaeron and Cardigan. We can also be called to Carmarthen,on a relay with another areas’ Rider, or even further afield if required.
Here we have a Duty Rider on call for a couple of hours every weekday evening from around 5pm. This is to provide a solution when an outlying hospital needs something after the daily NHS van has set off on its ‘rounds’ from Bronglais. On the weekend, we run shifts from Friday evening right through to Sunday evening.
You can find out more about Blood Bikes Wales at Or visit the Aberystwyth group page at