IPA Section UK Members launch Cycling Club for Emergency Service Workers

15 Jun 2021

ukcyc2In support of the wellbeing of those who give so much to protect others, May 4th, 2021 saw the launch of the Bluelight Cycling Club – the UK’s first cycling club for emergency service workers.

IPA Section UK member, Metropolitan Police (Met) intelligence officer and Honorary President of the Club, Colin Nye, said: “The work undertaken by the emergency services and partners like the armed forces is unlike other vocations and sometimes sees our colleagues subjected to repeated trauma. Having a community built around a shared interest like cycling is an excellent way for emergency workers to decompress in a safe space. I am delighted to be able to support this initiative in a small way and wish all those involved the very best of luck”.The launch, held at New Scotland Yard, included representatives from a variety of businesses, organisations and agencies, with officers and staff from across a broad spectrum of emergency service providers.

The idea for the club started when three Met officers – Colin Nye, Neil Turner and Dan Bryant – planned a London–Paris cycle ride to raise funds for police charities following the death of a colleague in Westminster in 2019.

Word of the planned ride spread quickly on social media, with the number of people wanting to take part soon exceeding the capabilities of the organisers. The ride was sadly cancelled due to Covid, but that was not the end. With interest in cycling among emergency services personnel growing on social media, a group from different agencies met virtually on a Zoom call in March 2021. It was there that the vision for the Bluelight Cycling Club began to take shape.

IPA Section UK member, Retired Flying Squad Detective Sergeant and co-founder, Neil Turner, said: “The enthusiasm of the co-founders, the original committee and our business partners has led to something truly amazing being created. Dealing with traumatic events and the wellbeing of others while juggling concerns for our families and our own personal safety has been a delicate balancing act. Our aim, going forward, is for the club to actively support wellbeing for those who work in the emergency service arena.”

The cycling club, which is affiliated to British Cycling, is open to riders from the police, the NHS, fire and rescue services, HM Coastguard, the RNLI, HM Prison Service, the armed forces, the National Crime Agency and search and rescue organisations.

The club is a non-profit community interest company and funds raised through membership and sponsorship assist five nominated charities dear to the blue light community: COPS (Care of Police Survivors), Help for Heroes, NHS Charities Together, the Firefighters Charity and the Coastguard Association. The club aims to provide a safe place for emergency workers to come together and enjoy cycling, to promote their wellness and good health, and to give something back to those who risk their own personal safety and wellbeing as first responders in emergency and critical situations across the UK on a daily basis.

Ambassadors for the club who will be joining in on some of the rides throughout the year include Sharron Davies MBE, Eurosport commentator Tom Gaymor, Commonwealth Games sprinter Chris Pritchard and former England rugby player Andy Goode.

Met Police Chief Superintendent Roy Smith said: “I am absolutely delighted to support the Bluelight Cycling Club. We know that across all of the emergency services colleagues are significantly more likely to be exposed to trauma over the course of their careers – responding to the most dangerous, serious and traumatic incidents that many people would run away from. This undoubtedly takes its toll, and we know that there are strong links between physical exercise and mental health – both of which are key for your overall wellbeing. Getting together with like-minded people in a safe space to exercise is a brilliant way of managing some of that stress. Anything that can be done to keep our blue light heroes healthier and happier has my vote.”

The Blue Light Cycling Club is currently open to UK members, but will extend internationally once they get going. IPA Sections UK and France are working with Colin and Neil to support their inaugural London to Paris event now scheduled for 2022, Covid permitting!

More information can be found at - https://www.bluelightcc.co.uk/

Martin Turner, Vice President IPA United Kingdom