Ben, one of the people we support, has long harboured a dream to ride on a motorcycle and this dream came true towards the end of the summer when, after Optima Care investigated ways to make this happen, a member of a local motorcycle group offered to take Ben out in his sidecar.
Prior to this, riding pillion was considered but subsequently ruled out once an assessment of Ben’s physical health was carried out. Undeterred Optima Care’s Operations Director made enquiries via the Kent Motorcycle Group about the possibility of Ben being taken for a ride in a motorcycle sidecar unit. This led to a reply from member Derek, who is also part of the BMW Airheads Fellowship, a social group for enthusiasts of air cooled BMW motorcycles.
Derek knew of retired engineer Ken: a fellow member of the Airheads who owned and maintained a BMW 60/6 with bullet sidecar attachment (pictured below). Ken was happy to support Ben’s dream.
A comprehensive risk assessment and plan were completed, signed off by Ben, the setting manager, Ben’s care manager, family and Optima Care’s senior management. A contingency plan was also completed in case of inclement weather or ill health.
The day of the ride arrived. The plan was for three bikes to ride in a group and the setting would provide a company vehicle and wheelchair as an escort vehicle. Ben practiced getting into the motorcycle protective clothing and was ready with is new crash helmet.
A final dynamic risk assessment was undertaken and then staff supported Ben to enter the sidecar using a hoist.
The first half of the ride took the riders in a loop back to the setting. This was to check Ben’s stamina for the event and give him a chance to pop into the setting for any reason. It was a beautiful sunny day. The group rode along the seafront, drawing attention from the beach goers – the star attraction was Ben in the sidecar unit. The ride then went into the Kent countryside, before heading back to the setting.
After a pit stop, the second journey ended up at Reculver, where the group stopped for a drink at a café, near Reculver Castle. The group then headed back to the setting.
It was a successful 3 hours of riding. Ben and the group enjoyed themselves. The icing on the cake was a mug and high viz jacket with the BMW Airheads emblem, given as memento for the day, to a rather tired but elated sidecar passenger!
Optima Care would like to thank Derek and Ken for their willingness to ride up from Eastbourne to help make this dream come true for Ben. Also for the professionals and family of Ben, for being willing to support this event. This is something we will all remember for a long time.