Launch of UK’s first ever emergency services cycling club

From L to R) Major Mark Winstanley, British Army; Craig Burne, HM Coastguard; Neil Turner, co-Founder, Blue Light CC; Allan Woodhouse, London Ambulance Service; Chief Supt Roy Smith, Met Police; and Paul McClenaghan, London Fire Brigade. Photographer: Brian Duffy

The UK’s first ever cycling club to support emergency service workers and armed forces was launched at New Scotland Yard in London on 4 May 2021.

Colin Nye, Honorary President of the Blue Light Cycling Club, said, “The club has been created to support all blue light workers, partner agencies and the armed forces to attain the physical and mental health benefits from cycling. The last year has placed an enormous strain on our communities and we sincerely believe this is an opportunity to help our colleagues. They will also benefit from exclusive benefits that no other cycling club can offer.”

Two years ago Colin and two colleagues from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) started planning a charity cycle ride, from London2Paris, in June 2020, in aid of COPS (Care of Police Survivors). Partner businesses supported this venture by providing support and discounts to the original riders. Although this event was cancelled – due to the COVID19 pandemic, as was the subsequent ride in 2021 – due to travel restrictions, interest in emergency services cycling grew on Twitter and various other platforms. This led to a variety of emergency workers from different agencies meeting virtually on Zoom, in March 2021, and the vision of the Blue Light Cycling Club was realised.

The club, which is a not for profit community interest company, will support five charities, each one linked to the relevant emergency services. The launch of the club on 4 May coincided with the launch its website and club kit, along with the benefits scheme supported by David Birch from Endurance Zone. The club has also teamed up with Wahoo Fitness, an international indoor bike trainer and accessories company.

Blue Light CC member benefits include access to hundreds of exclusive discounts with some of sports biggest brands, including Nike, Adidas, Muc-Off, Giant, SIS, Cyclist Magazine, Cycling Weekly, Le Col and Grand Tour Coffee; the club has also secured free unlimited group rides on RGT with no additional costs to members. Most importantly, the website includes a wellbeing and wellness section, with tips, advice and support features; the members area is packed full of content blogs, videos, recipes and much more.

The club hopes to arrange two major annual events, such as the London 2 Paris ride or Coast 2 Coast. Members will also be put into a ballot to enter any Velo29 event free of charge, plus further partner events throughout the year.

The Blue Light CC has the support of club ambassadors, who will be joining rides throughout the year, and include: Austin Healey, Martin Johnson, Matt Stephens, Brian Smith, Phillipa York, Chris Pritchard, Andy Goode, Sam Ward, Ron Keeble, Tom Gaymor and Sharron Davies MBE.

The club will evolve and is fully inclusive for all abilities – from cycling 500 yards for coffee and cake to riding all day, you’ll be able to find like-minded friends. This decentralised approach will allow you as a member to find your best fit within a supportive and safe environment.

Chief Superintendent Roy Smith, Metropolitan Police, 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 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.”

So whether you are a yellow jersey contender with a customised carbon-frame bike, or have just dusted off your old bike from the garage, why not take the chance to cycle just once a week and join the UK’s most inclusive cycling club.