Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service (EVS) is a blood bike charity based in South West England. Founded in Weston-super-Mare in 1990, It is funded 100% by public donations and 100% of members are unpaid volunteers.
|Focus||NHS motorcycle courier|
|Somerset, Bristol, Bath, West Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire|
|£153,282 (year ending 31 Mar 2017) |
|148 (January 2019)|
The aims of the Charity are as below:
1. To provide an out of hours courier service for the transport of medical items to NHS hospitals in the Somerset, Bristol and West Wiltshire areas.
2. To provide support to local authorities in the Southwest in times of major disaster or National emergency providing the first aim is not unduly compromised.
3. To encourage safe riding practices within the group and in the wider motorcycling community.
4. To promote a positive image of motorcycling to the general public. 
Association with other groupsEdit
Freewheelers EVS are a founding member of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes (NABB) which acts as an umbrella charity for all blood bike groups. Assistance and advice has been provided to help a number of similar groups to start up in England, including White Knights EVS in West Yorkshire. Neighbouring groups include Severn Freewheelers,SERV, and Yeovil Freewheelers, which started in 1978.
The charity operates in Somerset, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and western parts of Wiltshire. It is used by NHS in the area, including major hospitals such as Bristol Royal Infirmary, Southmead, Weston General, the RUH in Bath, and Musgrove Park in Taunton. Minor Injury Units, GP Surgeries, Care Homes, Hospices and patients' home addresses make up the other destinations often visited.
Coordinator and ridersEdit
Freewheelers operates outside regular business hours from 19:00 to 07:00 during the week and 24 hours at weekends and public holidays. On any given shift there is one coordinator and four riders on duty. The riders are spread across the area of operation. In general one is on East Patch in the vicinity of Bath, one on North Patch in the vicinity of Bristol and one on West Patch in the vicinity of Taunton. The fourth rider is known as the Relief and can be used across the area to assist when particularly busy or if one of the riders is in need of a break. All the riders hold an advanced motorcycling qualification, such as an IAM or RoSPA test pass. There is also a requirement to retake this assessment every three years to maintain a high standard of riding. This partly due to insurance purposes but also tied into the 3rd and 4th aim of the charity to encourage safe riding and promote a positive image of motorcycling.
The charity's volunteers transport blood for transfusion, blood samples for pathological or microbiological analysis, drugs, patient notes, x-rays, scans and medical equipment. It has also carried more unusual items such as antivenom and artificial limbs. Since 2010, Freewheelers has also been transporting human breast milk to and from the breast milk bank at Southmead Hospital.
As of 2015 a daily delivery of O negative blood to Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (with GWAA also latterly taking delivery of Fresh frozen plasma) has been undertaken 365 days a year. This has enabled their critical care paramedics and doctors greater ability to stabalise patients to transport them to a hospital major trauma centre. This has been found to result in significantly improved patient outcomes.
Beyond the areaEdit
If jobs require transport beyond the Freewheelers EVS area of operation there is coordination with neighboring blood bike charities to relay items and pass them on at pre-arranged handover locations. This goes for items leaving the area such as a consignment of milk to Cornwall and items destined for the area. Most notably samples often require transport to NHS Blood and Transplant Filton, which is the largest blood processing facility in Europe, capable of processing 1 million units a year. The site also houses the International Blood Group Reference Laboratory (IBGRL), one of the world’s leading laboratories in rare blood identification. Hence with such analytical capabilities, pathology samples often pass through Freewheelers on the final leg of their journey from across the country.
Freewheelers currently owns and operates a fleet of blood bike liveried Yamaha FJR1300 (7), BMW R1200RT-P (2) and BMW F800GT (2) motorcycles fitted with blue lights and sirens. A liveried Piaggio MP3 was given by a donor who could no longer ride it, and is used for fundraising events and sometimes on jobs when in and around Bristol.
The latest Yamaha FJR1300 motorcycles are the first to be purpose built for Blood Bike duties through an arrangement between NABB and Yamaha with equipment designed and fitted by Woodway Engineering . Freewheelers, like many other groups, have adopted these as their standard motorcycle with FJR1300s being purchased as old R1200RTs are retired.
Freewheelers EVS is 100% funded by public donations. Money is raised through a variety of avenues with events highlighted on the website.[better source needed] These events range from bucket collections at supermarkets to giving talks to local groups.
In 2010, the pupils of All Hallows Preparatory School near Shepton Mallet staged a number of fundraising events, including a sponsored bicycle ride from John o' Groats to Land's End by two parents, to buy a new BMW R1200RT motorcycle, which was presented to Freewheelers on 1 July 2010. One of the pupils won a competition to name the new bike "The Flying Crane"—the school's logo is a Crane.
On 2 June 2008, Freewheelers EVS was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award that can be given to a voluntary organisation in the United Kingdom and equivalent to an MBE.
In The People's Project 2017, West Country East, Freewheelers EVS was voted one of the winners and awarded £30,000 of lottery monies to purchase 2 new FJR1300s 
- "Charity Framework". Charity Commission. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
- "Bristol FreeWheelers keep the blood flowing". Bristol Evening Post. 15 August 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "About NABB". Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes. 9 September 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- Himelfield, David (7 February 2008). "Emergency Dispatch!". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- "Charity works nights for the NHS". BBC Gloucestershire. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- Machin, Nigel (September 2008). "Yeovil Freewheelers celebreate 30 years of saving lives". BBC Somerset. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
- "Freewheelers hoping for a helping hand this November". North Bristol NHS Trust. 16 October 2006. Archived from the original on 6 July 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2008.
- Bolton, Adam (August 2007). "Blood Brothers" (PDF). Motorcycle Sport & Leisure. Mortons Media Group Ltd: 46–50. ISSN 1478-839X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- "South West's first milk bank up and running". North Bristol NHS Trust. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- "Hospital's new service aims to help mums give babies best start". Bristol Evening Post. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- "The future of blood" (PDF). The Biomedical Scientist. March 2009. p. 218. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "History". NHS Blood and Transplant. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Bailey, Penny (21 October 2014). "The man with the golden blood". Mosaic. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "NABB 2017 News Letter" (PDF).
- Ltd, Jamie Allsop, Creare Communications. "Case Study: Midland Freewheelers' blood bikes". News & Updates. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
- "All Hallows fundraising takes shape for Freewheelers". This Is Dorset. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- "Dads' big adventure buys charity a bike". Mid Somerset Series. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- "2008 Winners, South West". The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The Cabinet Office. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "BLOOD BIKERS GET NOD FROM QUEEN". Bristol Evening Post. 3 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "Top award for volunteer couriers". BBC News. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "Chairman congratulates 'unsung heroes' who help transport blood to injured patients". Press Release. Bath and North East Somerset Council. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2010.[permanent dead link]