Donations flood in for bike first aid service

By Katie Holland, katie.holland@dailypost.co.nz


Mountain bikers are banding together to help buy first aid equipment to be kept at Mountain Bike Rotorua.

The bike hire and guiding business based at the Waipa car park has seven staff qualified in pre-hospital emergency care who know the trails and access points and, because of its location, is often the first to hear of accidents in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

That means every couple of weeks - more often in summer - its staff will head out into the forest to help injured riders to safety or treat them until an ambulance arrives.

Unfortunately resources are lacking, as local mountain biker Wendy Ardern discovered. About two weeks ago Mrs Ardern came across a rider on the Challenge trail who had fallen, breaking his ribs and complaining of a sore back. An ambulance was called and a trained Mountain Bike Rotorua (MBR) staff member arrived, but when it began to rain they could do nothing but hold a plastic bag over the man's head to try and keep him dry.

"I thought that's not right, they need someone to do something," said Mrs Ardern.

She approached MBR and Multi-Day Adventures director Tak Mutu and together they drew up an equipment wish list.

Mr Mutu said at the moment MBR had "one old rickety backboard with a broken handle" and a basic first aid kit.

"It's enough to get by but it's not the best," he said. "For what's been happening here we need more of a paramedic response kit."

He said collarbone and rib injuries were the most common and his staff often had to extract riders from the forest, last year taking five out on a backboard. As a result they would benefit from new stabilisation equipment as well as pain relief such as oxygen, something to shelter injured riders and ideally a defibrillator.

None of that comes cheap - Mr Mutu said the necessary equipment will cost $6000 to $7000 - but the fundraising has got off to a flying start.

Mrs Ardern and husband Alden, MBR and Multi-Day Adventures gave $100 each and within an hour of putting the word out through the internet, $1000 had been pledged by local mountain bikers and businesses. Peak Safety, who trained the MBR medics, also offered to source the equipment.

"I was blown away with the response," Mrs Ardern said, who has continued to receive emails offering donations.

Mr Mutu said the equipment purchased would not be the property of MBR but would be community gear kept on its premises. He and Mrs Ardern plan to work with the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club on an even bigger goal.

"The dream will be to have a dedicated volunteer bike patrol, similar to a ski patrol, which will be separate from the business," he said.

To make a donation for first aid equipment email Mrs Ardern at alden.wendy@gmail.com.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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