International motorcycle adventurer Charley Boorman recently launched the first St John Wales ambulance motorcycle at its headquarters in Cardiff Bay. St John Wales provides voluntary first aid support to tens of thousands of people annually, as well as first aid training and patient transport services from hospital to home. The BMW R1200RT has been purchased after five years of fundraising efforts, thanks to public donations and BMW contributing half its retail price.
Boorman has close links to BMW bikes, thanks to his ‘Long Way Round’ circumnavigation of the world with Ewan McGregor in 2004, when the two actors rode BMW R1150GS Adventure machines. Boorman also participated in the 2006 Dakar Rally on a BMW F650GS, before linking up with McGregor again to ride the Long Way Down from John O’Groats to Cape Town in 2007—this time on the formidable R1200GS Adventure.
With best-selling books, TV shows and DVDs documenting all of his adventures, Boorman has been touring the UK and Ireland with a special live show about all of his travels. The busy adventurer took time out of his 30-date tour to check out St John Wales’ latest lifesaving tool—the BMW R1200RT fully kitted out with lifesaving first aid equipment.
As a keen and experienced motorcyclist, Charley was delighted to show his support in launching the responder bike, which he believes will make a real difference to the community and could even save lives: “It’s fantastic because it can get to places quicker and can avoid traffic if there’s been a big crash. I think it’s really necessary to have a motorcycle in the fleet of St John Ambulance in Wales. The more bikes that are put into St John Wales, the more lives can be saved as a result,” he said.
The BMW R1200RT is the definitive sports touring machine and is bought by many riders wanting to travel long distances at high speeds in comfort, thanks to its excellent ergonomics, weather protection and fuel-efficient boxer engine. It is extremely well balanced with a low centre of gravity, which makes it easy to ride at slow speeds and in traffic.
The special R1200RT will be a vital asset to St John Wales and will enable volunteers to respond to incidents ranging from cardiac arrests to accidents in remote rural areas. It is also versatile enough to be used to reach emergency incidents in heavy traffic, and in congested areas it can transport blood samples and essential medical documents to and from hospitals.
Anthony Hughes, a member of St John’s Cardiff City Division that purchased the BMW R1200RT, will be providing first aid cover with the motorcycle at the forthcoming London Marathon on April 25. He thinks that the special R1200RT will enable St John Wales to treat casualties’ at large public events.
“It’s fantastic in heavy traffic and is extremely maneuverable, making it suitable for park environments such as marathons,” he said. “It is safer in heavy traffic and can access areas which a normal ambulance may struggle to get to.”
The first aid equipment on the bike includes defibrillators, oxygen cylinders, bandages and dressings. St John Wales is hoping to have a fleet of ambulance motorcycles and is currently fundraising to make this happen. The organization currently has more than 4,500 volunteers who treat more than 10,000 people every year.