Are you interested in volunteering?
Below are the answers to the more common questions we often get about joining and becoming a member of the Freewheeler team.
Volunteering to Join Freewheelers
Volunteers are our lifeblood. If you want to volunteer for Freewheelers EVS, whether as a rider, fundraiser, or telephone co-ordinator, this page contains information about what you can expect. If you like what you read and want to get involved then please use our contact form to get in touch.
Check out the area we cover – if you are outside of this area take a look at the National Association of Blood Bikes for other groups around the country.
- We all operate as separate groups and have slightly different requirements for joining.
- We work closely with other groups via NABB to fulfil the same aim.
- There are new groups setting up all around the country and not all are yet part of NABB. Often a quick search on the Inter-web thingy will find a group close to you.
We do have a waiting list which is patch specific therefore we can advise you on the current status for your area when you contact us, however you can still join us as a coordinator and fundraiser to get familiar with what we do until the riding option is open again.
We want whatever time you have! Or whatever time you feel you can give.
- Many of our volunteers have full time jobs. Most of our volunteer work is outside of the usual office hours.
- Some volunteers even find time to partake in their local bike groups as well.
- We also have a merry band of volunteers that are now retired from their day job.
- Don’t forget its not all about riding – we also have volunteers who just love fundraising and others that just answer the phones!
Its all about Riding For Life. We want to encourage continuous development of your riding skills as well as make sure you are able to ride our bikes safely.We also want to make sure you know what to do when you get that first call from the coordinator to make a collection and delivery.
Our Motto “Riding For Life” is just that. We want to promote safe riding at all times and expect our riders to ride in a manner that portrays a positive image of motorcycling.
We do appreciate that you may have just passed a test, but we want to see how you might ride our bikes.
It may have been some time since you took your test, so we may be able to help develop your riding ability further.
We want to make sure that you are confident in handling our bikes. It is quite different riding a marked up bike – other motorists react in a different manner to a marked bike.
We need to provide training on certain requirements and legalities:
- You will be handling items that are considered “hazardous”. We will explain how this works and make sure you understand the requirements.
- We may ask you to join us on a live shift to tour the area using your own bike – this way you can see it all in practice and find some of the more obscure entrances to common locations.
- You are expected to adhere to Charity Rules – so you will have the opportunity at this point to become familiar with these.
All our members are expected to participate in fundraising. Dont worry it's easy to get started as you get to hear us talk to the general public and tell them how it all works.
We are often invited to ongoing events and we already have an ongoing programme of events, but we are always looking for new ideas. If you fancy getting yourself sponsored for a task, or standing outside your local supermarket then you can always arrange your own event.
Any ideas you have to approach local businesses or even your employer can often provide an opportunity for advertising of both Freewheelers and the local business that has made a donation.
We are often outside a supermarket with a motorbike and a few stickers...and of course a bucket. Plus it's a great opportunity to have a chat or some banter with other members.
Fundraising and Coordinating the Riders
Its not just about riding a bike. We also want your help with fundraising to run the bikes
It is essential that we have someone to answer the phone calls from the hospitals and coordinate the riders – Its great fun telling all the riders where to go!
If you have got this far, you already know that we are a Registered Charity. All running costs are paid for by donations raised by the team.
- You will be expected to attend 2 fundraising events before you can ride our bikes. And we ask that you help out with at least 2 events each year. Without this income we can’t ride the bikes!
- We have a rolling programme of regular events that you can attend.
- We are always looking for new ideas. You can set-up up your own events or fundraisers. We will help you with any experience we have.
- Ask your employer if they have any donation schemes – many of our riders receive a regular contribution from their employer for showing such commitment to a Charity.
- What you do to raise money is only limited by your imagination and desire to help!t
This is the person that takes the calls from the Hospitals and tells the riders where to go and can be very rewarding.
The simple answer is no.
We have fundraisers and coordinators that have no intention of ever riding a bike. Get in touch and we will tell you more.
Eligibility as a Rider
We have a few requirements so that we can satisfy our insurers as well as make sure that you have an appropriate level of ability.
We ride motorcycles most of the time. As a minimum you need a Full (Unrestricted) motorcycle licence and an advanced motorcycling qualification e.g. a minimum of either am IAM pass or RoSPA Silver award.
You also need to have had experience with riding bikes over 600cc. Today Freewheelers has a fleet of 1200CC BMW's which can sometimes feel heavy and cumbersome for some riders
Our insurance policy is quite strict. You must have
- Less than 3 penalty points (this is discretionary with our insurer so please ask us)
- No pending motoring convictions including Fixed Penalties
Our insurers insist on riders being 25 or over.
But that doesn’t stop you helping out with fundraising or answering the phone as coordinator. you only need to be 18 or over to join in the fun.
You will be expected to ride any of our motorbikes.
The Fleet is currently a mixture BMW R1200RT's and Yamaha FJR1300's.
Our bikes are all marked up with full livery to make them a “Blood Bike”.
- All of our bikes are regularly serviced.
- Each has a GPS tracker built in to the bike so we know where it is!
- You will of course be expected to check the bike over fully before use in line with our procedures to make sure that it remains roadworthy.
- AND it is prefered that each bike gets a wash on most shifts!
The short answer is yes. All our riders have taken an advanced test in addition to the standard motorcycle test.
- You will need either an IAM or RoSPA Silver pass
- This will need to have been passed within the last 3 years
- We may accept other similar qualifications (eg Police rider) – please ask us.
- You will need to retake your test every 3 years to demonstrate that you remain at a suitable standard.
You will be expected to regularly attend fundraising events......and even better if you can set up new events and persuade your employer to make a donation.
Without your help we cannot keep the bikes running, and they have to be changed regularly. See the event calendar for upcoming events.
It is also worthwhile acting as coordinator as this gives you a greater knowledge of those hospitals that are in regular contact with us.
Shifts / On-Rota
So how does it work in practice….?
Who does what? – don’t forget it’s not just riders – there is also someone taking the calls “The Coordinator”.
We all lead busy lives and all we ask is you give what you can towards riding, fundraising and the coordinator role. If you are on shift then this will be defined by the shift pattern.
- We have some riders that can only do the weeknights and others weekends due to work commitments.
- Most fundraising events take place on weekend, but the occasional weekday ones can be quite productive.
- On average riders and coordinators choose around 2 or 3 shifts per quarter. But this fluctuates depending on everyone’s availability.
Shifts for riders usually change on a Friday and a Monday to cover the hours that the NHS has no service. You are not expected to be in the saddle the whole time: we do look after your welfare! You either take a weeknight shift or a weekend shift.
For coordinators there are additional shifts on Monday & Tuesday, or Wednesday & Thursday, or either Friday through the weekend to Monday alternatively Friday evening to Saturday evening or Saturday evening to Monday morning
We deliver service to the NHS 7pm to 7am overnight on weekdays
At the weekend 7pm on Friday to 7am on Monday – i.e. 24 hours on call.
Plus if a Bank/Public Holiday falls in that shift then you cover all or part of the full 24 hours.
When you are on-shift your time is committed to this. We don’t know when the phone will ring. Also if there is a fundraising event, then you are expected to attend this for some of your day.
Each quarter we will ask when you are not available. Our Rota Manager will then produce a calendar of who is on which shift.
- At any one time we have 5 riders and a coordinator on shift plus additional support roles on standby
- The Rota is subject to change as we all have unforeseen changes.
- Within the members section of the website there are reports that show you which shift(s) you are allocated too.
- It is your responsibility to arrange a replacement rider or coordinator.
Once you have completed all of the induction requirements:
- You can apply to be included on the next full Rota
- You may have the opportunity to take spare shifts where the existing person is no longer available.
Of course you can; We like your commitment.
You don’t have to be a rider to be a coordinator. We also have several couples in the team where one is out on the bike and the partner is on the phones on the same shift.
Fundraisers are always a help – we welcome new ideas and we also have some well-established practices.
You will need your own mobile phone.
- With most people owning a phone this is the easiest and most practical solution to all.
- As a rider you will receive a call from the coordinator giving you details of the job. You will be expected as a minimum to text them back at the point of collection, on delivery and on your safe return to home. If you like to talk then that is up to you.
- This is half the fun as its an ideal opportunity to have a bit of banter with each other.
- It is difficult to say what is the best phone package, but we do suggest a bundle/package to cover this.
When you are on shift you become the bike “owner”
- Your first job is to complete a full check of the bike and submit your report to our fleet manager to confirm you have the bike and it is operational.
- You keep the bike at your home address – we do ask that you take care of it and make sure the bike and its contents are secure.
- You will need to arrange handover between the previous / next rider. How you do this is entirely up to the two riders involved. Note that pillions are not allowed on Blood Bikes – most bikes are actually single seat!
- The bikes experience a higher than average mileage and as a result are often in the workshop to attend to their regular maintenance schedule and replacement tyres. You may be asked to help out with delivery / collection if it features during your shift.