If I were to ask you what the benefits of cycling on a daily basis were, chances are you’d have a long laundry list of items ranging from physical fitness benefits, mental health advantages, and environmental merits. Indeed, I’m currently undergoing a fitness programme that requires me to cut down on calories and cycle at least 15 miles on a daily basis, and it goes without saying that I’m feeling the results.
As it would turn out, even without the environmental benefits (there’s a lot of debate going around that the manufacturing of bicycles is indeed somewhat harmful to the planet), one can’t deny the numerous benefits of getting out and about on two wheels. This benefit is amplified even further when used with other tasks that are geared towards the betterment of society as a whole. For example, medical personnel in Cornwall, a county in the rugged southwestern tip of England, have been using special cargo electric bikes to provide medical care to those in need, in the comfort of their own homes.
An article by the BBC highlights the benefits of these bikes, not just for patients, but for the medical staff, as well. In the article, specialist paramedic Nic Pendreich explained that he uses the e-bike regularly to visit patients across his shifts. He highlights the time savings as well as the physical benefits he gets from being out and about, as opposed to being cooped up in a car. “If clinicians had travelled in cars, we would have lost approximately between two to four hours in travel time.” Pendreich told the BBC.
Of course, two to four hours of time saved translates directly into lives saved, especially when it comes to providing much-needed medical attention. That said, being on a bike opens your doors, literally, to the open world, and stimulates social interaction as well as physical fitness. The same BBC article highlights that medical staff are enjoying the two-wheeled lifestyle, taking in the sights and sounds of the community around them, as well as squeezing in some much needed exercise when in transit to visit patients. After all, medical staff also need to keep their fitness in check in order to tend to their patients more efficiently.
Medical personnel in the region are “reporting that they are enjoying getting out and about on the bike in Newquay, engaging with the public and benefiting from the exercise that cycling brings.” To make this possible, Cornwall Council’s Travel to Work grant scheme teamed up with a local bicycle shop to secure the funding for the special cargo e-bike. Given the positive outcome of this initiative, it won’t at all be surprising if more and more areas adopt e-bikes for all sorts of purposes other than simple recreation and commuting.