Published on Fri 29 May 2020 08.06 BST
A chance to clear the head after a stressful day; a safe and speedy means of travel in these anxious times; the opportunity to explore a longer-term lifestyle change: bicycles mean many different things to the frontline workers in Edinburgh and Perth who have taken delivery of hundreds of so-called hero bikes.
The Bike Station, a pushbike recycling charity, launched a scheme offering free bikes to NHS staff and other key workers in mid-April. It then had to temporarily freeze applications after receiving 1,600. The charity is now calling for more donations of unwanted bikes from businesses and the public as its team of six mechanics work round the clock to renovate the initial stock.
Sarah Dickinson, an in-patient nurse manager at Marie Curie hospice in Edinburgh, says: “At the hospice, we’re on the frontline providing nursing care and support for dying people with and without coronavirus. Being outside really helps to clear my head after a busy day at work. I was keen to get some exercise in the fresh air when I saw The Bike Station were doing this initiative.”
Dickinson had not been on a bike since she was a teenager, and was unsure about what type best suited her needs. “I was grateful to get all the advice,” she says. “It’s been great building up my bike confidence again.”