In this series of articles we look at who is involved in BBE, why they joined and what they do.
Blood Bikes East is managed and serviced entirely by volunteers. Every person has their own life to lead, yet finds the time to help their community in this very important way and in so doing helps to save lives, both directly and indirectly.
In this first interview article of the year, we talked to Albert Fagan. A long-standing BBE volunteer who is highly committed and seen on the roster very regularly:
Q1: Hi Albert, let’s start with what you do for a living?
I am a practicing solicitor working as in-house counsel for a large development company based in Dublin.
Q2: What do you do for BBE?
I am a proud volunteer rider and complete at least two shifts a month. I also help fundraise when we have events on.
Q3: When did you join BBE?
I joined BBE in March 2015.
Q4: What prompted you to join BBE?
I love helping people and I love riding motorbikes. So when I heard about BBE I thought this would be a great way to combine both passions. I found out more about BBE at the motorcycle show in Dublin in 2014 and signed up on the spot and have not looked back since!
Q5: What is your most memorable moment while on shift so far?
It was my first cross-country link up with another blood bike group, Blood Bike South. In the middle of the night I collected some special medication from Temple Street for a young girl who needed the delivery as soon as possible. We usually have quite standard blood samples to collect in anonymous boxes marked for the target hospital, but this time the patient’s name was on the outside of the package and it hit home then more than ever that what we do as volunteers really does make a difference for people’s lives. I met at a halfway point for the handover of the package and it was safely delivered to the hospital in Cork in the early hours of the morning. That night I carried that child with me as I rode!
Q6: What does being a BBE volunteer mean to you?
Knowing that what we do, quietly and behind the scenes, makes a difference to people’s lives, not to mention the substantial savings to the HSE by BBE providing the service free of charge. I love the camaraderie and craic that can be had with people at the fundraising events who share this common passion. It’s also a great change to have a chat about bikes!
Q7: How long have you been a biker?
7 years, I was a later starter, though I always had a desire to ride ever since my brother and I had a go as pillions on the back of a little Honda 50 when we were kids!
Q8: What was your first motor bike?
Unlike a lot of people in BBE who have ridden for 30 years or more, who started on far less powerful bikes, my first bike was a Honda VT600
Q9: What’s the funniest/weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while out riding?
I was coming up to Dublin after a day out on the bike. The traffic was heavy but flowing I was overtaken by a little hatch back who was in the outside lane – nothing unusual about that except the passenger in the front seat was a white goat with his head stuck out the window catching the breeze!
Q10: What bike do you own?
I now own a Triumph Tiger 800 ABS from 2014. A really great all-rounder that puts a massive smile on my face.
Q11: If you could buy any bike today, what would it be?
How much time do you have?? My list seems to be getting longer each year! I have always fancied one of the newer generation Yamaha FJR 1300s for some long distance touring. There are also some lovely Ducatis out there like the new Monster 1200S or the Multistrada 1200. If only my pockets were deep enough!
Q12: When you’re not on shift and riding for pleasure, what’s your favourite road/route?
There are some very enjoyable roads in Wicklow, Kildare and Carlow – the Wicklow Gap and Sally Gap are fun on a summer’s day, though it can get very busy on Sunday mornings!
When I can, I love taking a day spin down from Dublin to Wexford, passing along the old roads through Ballycanew, Kilmuckridge, Blackwater and Curracloe. I try to vary the route each time avoiding the motorways when possible.
Thanks Albert, it’s great to have you with us and we thank you for your dedication to BBE. We hope your pockets get deeper so you can buy your dream bikes 🙂 In the meantime, stay safe on the roads.