How it all began
On the 16th March, Brompton Bike Hire approached St Barts Hospital and NHS London to provide bikes for their front-line staff who wished to avoid being crammed onto buses and trains during the Coronavirus crisis.
As word rapidly spread, over 500 NHS staff registered for the free rental scheme, quickly depleting their hire fleet.
Even though there weren’t enough bikes, interest continued to grow, and it was time to take action.
We wanted to provide more bikes to key workers, and so the decision was made to commit a production capacity of £100,000 and create Wheels for Heroes, our Crowdfunder campaign to fund bikes for NHS staff, both during the crisis and beyond.
The overwhelming amount of support we received from our Brompton community was amazing and inspiring. By the end of the month-long campaign, an astonishing £318,000 was raised by 1,815 incredible individual supporters and generous donations from industry, including British Cycling and HSBC.
Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams rewarded donors with varying tokens of thanks. Those who donated over £250 were able to name a bike – some chose to name bikes after themselves, others commemorated special people in their lives, whilst many chose to name their bikes after doctors and nurses currently working in the NHS, and some got even more creative – one bike being named after a Woody Guthrie lyric written about his nurse, “Your smile cured me”.
Each personalised bike has the name engraved on the serial plate on the mainframe, as well as their name having a permanent place on an honorary wall in the Brompton factory.
There were even a few well-known names that donated to the cause... Virgin Radio’s Chris Evans’ bike was one of the first off the line.
One of the first off the line and look who it is 👀 @virginradiouk Support our crowdfunder and get your name on one of the NHS bikes (link in bio) #WheelsForHeroes
The #WheelsforHeroes campaign spread out beyond just donations – we also saw many different hospitals take action as well. Brompton Bike Hire are now working with NHS trusts to work on a longer, lasting initiative.
To make sure our #WheelsforHeroes initiative lives on and encourages active travel amongst NHS Staff beyond the coronavirus crisis, We are working closely with a number of NHS Trusts to ensure these bikes have a legacy beyond the pandemic and continue to be used by NHS staff to enjoy the benefits of cycling long term.