NHS Ride of Thanks To take place across Staffordshire

Over 12,000 motorcyclists have pledged to honour NHS staff and key workers for their vital role during the Coronavirus crisis with a large number of simultaneous "NHS Rides of Thanks", which will take place across the UK on July 4th 2021.

The idea for an NHS ride of thanks was first floated via a Facebook group by Dave Colton of Polperro in Cornwall. It was not long before the idea was taken up by the bikers of our area and many others.

The motorcycling community is always quick to respond to the need to support charitable activities, and the ‘Toy run’ and the ‘Easter Egg run’ are annual events in the Staffordshire area.

We bikers sometimes have more experience of the NHS than we might have wanted, which gives an extra edge to our support for NHS workers. These people have put their life on the line and have worked a ridiculous amount of time to help people and save lives.

The original idea was for a couple of hundred participants for a single mass national ride, but from the moment it was announced there was an immediate explosion of interest all over the UK. So the plan was changed, now individual admin groups will be organising co-ordinated rides in their local areas on July 4th 2021.

In Staffordshire, eight local biking groups, including Free Spirits MCC and North Staffordshire and Moorlands Bikers, are working together, co- ordinated by Steve Edwards, of North Staffs and Moorlands Bikers.

Even as early as the beginning of April, well over 120 riders are already committed to joining the ride. The eventual number taking part may be as many as four or five times that.

The planned route will start from the Stoke City ground, going through Stoke on Trent, to join Hartshill Road. It will then turn left to pass in front of the Stoke Royal Hospitals. Bearing left onto the A34, heading towards Stafford. No doubt many riders will give a friendly wave to people watching from the Greyhound inn at Yarlet, a well known meeting point for bikers. Arriving in Stafford, they will take the Inner ring road (A513) to the A518 roundabout close to Staffordshire University, but more importantly, passing Stafford Hospital. The ride will finish at Stafford Rugby Club.

Steve Edwards said "I would like to see people lining the streets waving blue and wearing blue. It’s about the country coming together.”

In addition to showing our thanks for everything that our NHS does for us, the ride will raise money for three charities. Firstly for the hospital charities of the United Hospitals of North Midlands, and also for "Docbikes" also known as Luke's Legacy, which aims to equip motorcycle riding medics with the equipment to perform an extremely rapid response to victims of accidents. The third charity that the ride will support is "Blood Bikers", the local team of specialised couriers who transport vital transplant organs, and , of course, blood between hospitals.

It will be a sight and sound to remember, flags fluttering, steel and chrome, leather and plastic, to the rumble of the big American V twins, the vroom of the four cylinder bikes, the buzz of the scooters, and the cackle of two strokes.

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