“My name is Steve Petch, I started working for the NHS back in 1994 when living in Oxford and have been a qualified Mental Health Nurse since 2003.
Over the years I have worked in differing areas of mental health including acute inpatient nursing and community settings. Currently I am based at the crisis hub based at Callington Road Hospital, Bristol, working within the triage team.
Traditionally I have always used a car as my main choice of transport. This for me was always considered as the easiest option of getting about. However, in recent years a car was no longer my first choice due to various reasons.
Most of us are aware of the notorious Bristol traffic! Whilst working in one of my community roles this became ever more apparent. There is only so much one can take when running late for an appointment whilst stuck in traffic on a hot sunny day watching people whizzing past on their bikes. I think most people have experienced this scenario!
So how did I move on from the car to the bike? Well I think my hand was forced to a certain extent. In 2015 I was diagnosed with T3 prostate cancer. This was a bolt out of the blue on the news. At 45 it was unimaginable. So a radical prostatectomy (removal) and treatments followed. During the recovery period I was able to reflect on how I was going to move on in regards to my physical and mental wellbeing. I have always maintained some level of fitness, however, my recovery felt very restrictive in what I could actually do.
So, 5 months after the op I returned to the work place. My new Manger on return to work, Abe Chipuriro, had informed me that he had just sealed a lease deal for a fleet of Giant electric bikes with Sustainable Travel Solutions (STS). In conjunction with Occupational Health, Bristol Mental a Health and STS it was agreed that I would benefit from the use of the Giant bike as part of my ongoing recovery.
This was the best news I had in a long time. To think that after the diagnosis and following surgery and treatments I had now been provided with the answer to my recovery needs. Of course there are many other benefits to this. I noted my weight gain post op dropping away after just two weeks. My general fitness started to improve. Yes the bike is electric but you still have to put the pedal power in! This allows me to attend meetings and client contact without the use of a car and all the health benefits that go with cycling and no being stuck in traffic on hot sunny days! You would also be amazed by the interest that riding around on an electric bike attracts.
In just over a year I have covered over two and half thousand kilometres! I’m certain that I would never of manged this or even contemplated covering this distance on a regular bike. There are no motor expense claims, no car parking issues and of course healthy for the environment. STS remain involved at all times. So if I even get a puncture or a mechanical niggle they will come out immediately to resolve.