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.
This time we talked to our first and longest serving couple, Eryk & Dorota Rawicz-Lipinski. They have both volunteered since the early days of BBE in 2013 and have been at the heart of our charity since then:
Q1: Hi Eryk and Dorota, let’s start with what both of you do for a living?
Eryk: I’m the lightning rod between the client, builder and the local authority. Otherwise known as an architect.
Dorota: I work in a local supermarket dealing with pricing, orders, labels, signage, etc. However, I studied Russian language and literature back in Poland, so perhaps one day I might be a translator.
Q2: What do you do for BBE?
Dorota: Riding and shaking buckets. I really like doing the collections, that’s when my retail training kicks in lol, I like chatting with people, telling them who we are and what we do.
Eryk: As it says on the tin – I ride the motorcycles
Q3: When did you join BBE?
Eryk: At the very beginning really. We saw the BBE stall at the Bike Show in the RDS. We filled in the forms and managed to take part in the BBE Launch already as active volunteers.
Q4: What prompted you to join BBE?
Dorota: Both Eryk and I are members of the Civil Defence as well as being keen motorcyclists. In a way, it started when the Civil Defence Headquarters were thinking of organising a bike unit. Some training was done, but then, to our disappointment, the whole idea was abandoned. So when we saw Blood Bikes East recruiting, we thought ‘why not do this instead?’. The rest is history.
Q5: And how did you both ended up joining BBE?
Dorota: Well, he wouldn’t leave me on my own with so many handsome guys in leathers, would he?
Q6: What is your most memorable moment while on shift so far?
Eryk: For me it was when I was flying along Mount Anville Road at 4am one morning, towards St. Vincent’s. Suddenly, just over the summit of the hill, the Dublin Bay vista burst in front of my eyes. That was a moment of absolute biking heaven! Yes, obviously I love the fact that we are helping people, but that sunrise made the early call-out totally worth it.
Dorota: Well, I’ve already shared this one on air with whole of Ireland on the radio. It was one winter’s morning while I brought the bike back to the depot after my shift. I happened to stop on a patch of ground covered with black ice and I suddenly realised I couldn’t get off the bike as my legs were going from under me and the Deauville was going sideways! Another volunteer, Paulie, was starting his shift and came to the rescue and saved the damsel in distress.
Q7: What does being a BBE volunteer mean to you?
Dorota: Being a part of a great bunch of people and hopefully doing something good too.
Eryk: Yes, I agree, hopefully I’m doing something useful.
Q8: How long have you been a biker?
Eryk: Ah now, in real terms it’s just over 10 years. But mentally, ever since my grandfather took me to the speedway race at the age of 6. I was hooked and knew that some day I would be a biker!
Dorota: I’m a late bloomer. I always wanted a motorcycle, and even got a Harley-Davidson tattoo when I was 18! But I only started to ride 9 years ago, in Ireland.
Q9: What was your first motor bike?
Eryk: An amazing 49cc Piaggio NRG mk.2! An absolute demon of speed, but only downhill!
Dorota: I had a Yamaha Virago 535, a hand me down from my husband 😉
Q10: What bike do you own now?
Dorota: I now have a Honda Deauville. The same as the ones BBE use in the city, so I feel really at home when I’m on shift. Eryk has a Triumph Bonneville SE. We call it his midlife crisis motorcycle.
Q11: If you could buy any bike today, what would it be?
Eryk: That’s easy! A BMW R9T Cafe Racer.
Dorota: I am a creature of habit, I hate change and so I only replaced the previous bikes out of necessity as they were old and falling apart! so I would probably get another Deauville. I’m nearing 40 and studying accountancy, so the ‘Dullville’ suits me just fine. LOL!
Q12: When you’re not on shift and riding for pleasure, what’s your favourite road/route?
Dorota: I Won’t be too original here; Wicklow mountains, the roads are just lovely!
Eryk: Yes, Wicklow to Brittas Bay in nice weather is amazing, But to be honest, any time on the road is an absolute joy!
Q13: So Dorota, are people surprised when you get off the bike and see that you are a lady biker?
Not so much now, but I do get some extra smiles and praise. ‘It’s nice to see girls doing that too!’, kind of stuff.
Thanks to you both for answering our questions. Thanks also for your long service and dedication to BBE.