Sheffield key workers get e-bike transport boost

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Nursing is tiring at the best of times, says Ian Carey.

“But it’s even busier just now, you’re constantly putting on protective clothing, you get very hot, and you’re very fatigued after a shift. But last night was wonderful.

“I got on my bike after a long day and started to pedal and it was so much easier to get home. I can still get my bike ride in and get the chance to unwind.”

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Ian is a ward nurse at the Northern General, dealing exclusively with patients ill with Covid-19. He borrowed an e-bike thanks to a new scheme from the Sheffield Council-supported CycleBoost programme to loan hybrid bikes and e-bikes to help key workers commute during the crisis.

Nurse Ian Carey with his CycleBoost e-bikeNurse Ian Carey with his CycleBoost e-bike
Nurse Ian Carey with his CycleBoost e-bike

Doctors, nurses, hospital workers and supermarket staff are trying to avoid the risk of exposure to the virus on public transport, said Angela Walker of CycleBoost.

“It’s a fantastic scheme,” said community nurse Ian Fitzpatrick, who has taken on an e-bike to commute to work.

“It’s far more efficient than using a car, you get some fresh air and some exercise that’s not too intense.

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“And I think a bike also mitigates the infection risk, because it’s usually outside in the sunlight, and you only touch a bike in two places really, whereas in a car you touch the door handles, the steering wheel, the gear stick and the radio. And petrol pumps.”

Over 50 bikes and e-bikes have already been loaned out for free but there are still plenty of standard hybrid bikes available for loan, said Angela Walker, for key workers who don’t mind a hilly commute, along with a few more e-bikes “mainly for taller or shorter riders now,” she warned.

Sheffield key workers who are already competent cyclists wanting to loan a bike for work journeys can apply at: .

The bike is loaned out from the CycleBoost base at A Different Gear in Heeley by appointment, maintaining social distancing guidelines.

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Ian Carey says at 59 he was finding his two-mile hilly commute so tiring after a 12-hour shift that he was having to get off and walk up some hills.

“I’d been thinking about driving to work, but the e-bike has kept me cycling,” he said.

“There is an increasing physical and emotional toll to the work at the moment. We are dealing with people who are very poorly and sadly many of them are dying, and their relatives can’t visit. It’s very difficult.

“So after a day on your feet with buzzers going, and having to keep five bits of important information in your head and sort them out really quickly, at the end of the shift it’s lovely to just feel it’s you and the bike and the quiet road ahead.

“It’s 15 minutes just for me with some gentle exercise, and then I get home and put my feet up. It’s lovely.”