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Healthcare staff beat the traffic with e-bikes

Volt e-bikes

Volt e-bikesHealthcare workers at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust have been beating rush-hour traffic with the introduction of a new e-bike scheme.

The team at Derriford Centre for Health and Wellbeing (DCHW) have implemented a new loan scheme which has already had great take-up by staff.

The investment in ten new e-bikes is part of the Trust’s Green Travel Plan. DCHW Manager Paul Phillips said: “The cross section of Derriford staff who have been using the bikes has been amazing; from nurses and medical secretaries to hotel services staff, consultants, radiographers and our emergency teams – and everyone loves them.

“We’d like to get more people to try cycling as it’s better for your health, and it relieves traffic congestion”, he explained.

The fleet of electric bikes are available for staff to borrow for a month at a time. Paul added: “This is a great way try e-bikes before investing in one.

“People see the hills around Plymouth as a barrier to cycling, but with the assistance you get from e-bikes on hills, it’s much easier.”

The Volt bikes have eight gears and the ‘v wave power system’ has four levels, meaning riders can travel up hill at 15 miles per hour. The battery charges in an hour and provides power for up to 60 miles.

“Another barrier to cycling is people’s perceived fitness”, said Paul. “If staff don’t think they’re fit enough to cycle, we are offering a two-month programme where they use our gym for free for a month and a standard bike for a month so they can increase their fitness levels and gain more confidence, subject to grant approval, but with the power of the e-bike, it really does take the pressure off.”

Claire Goulding is a Cancer Nurse Specialist who lives in Plymstock and occasionally cycled the 14 mile round trip to work using her mountain bike but found it tiring.

She said: “When I saw this scheme, I thought it sounded fantastic and absolutely jumped at it. The bikes are high quality and they got me up every hill. You can work as hard as you want, and I found it very freeing going through the countryside on my route through Saltram; it de-stressed me and allowed me to process the day.

“It was empowering. I saved money on petrol, didn’t have to think about traffic and got home quicker than going home by car, in just 35 minutes.

“I highly recommend e-bikes to keep you fit. Even if we can get one car off the road, that’s brilliant.”

As an employer, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust also loans cycling helmets and high visibility jackets. UHP staff who want to join the waiting list to loan an e-bike, can email m.henry2@nhs.net.

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