Personality of the Month - Jonathan Alexander, Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Jonathan Alexander

What is your job or other main activity that involves cycling?
I work as a Paramedic for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust in Sheffield where I set up and developed the Cycle Response Unit in the city to show that a hilly area is no obstacle.

The Cycle Response Unit is an initiative where ambulance staff ride specialist bicycles equipped with blue lights, a siren and life-saving equipment to navigate through city centres swiftly and safely providing treatment to patients in built-up city centre locations.

How long have you done that?
The Cycle Response Unit in Sheffield began in October 2008; just in time for winter!

Where do you live?
Very close to the top of one of Sheffield’s many hills.

What most encourages you about cycling where you live?
Seeing the wide diversity and popularity of cycling in Sheffield which is, on the whole, down to organisations like Pedal Ready Co-op, Heeley Development Trust/Recycle Bikes, CycleSheffield, our superb CTC Cycle Champion and the many cycling clubs here, (or should I simply say – “my downhill journey to work”).

What most discourages you about cycling where you live?
The lack of a ‘Cycle Park’ with a Velodrome, BMX track, MTB trails, road circuit etc, (or again should I simply say “my very uphill journey home from work”).

YAS equipped bikeJonathan with bikeHow would you describe yourself as a cyclist?
A sprinter masquerading as a Work/Utility Cyclist who longs to be a sprinter again but on a bike weighing less than 90lbs.

What is you earliest cycling memory?
My older brother Pat and I used to race around our street when we were infant/junior school age pretending we were at Mallory Park or Snetterton just like our Motorcycle racing father.

Where is the best place you have ever cycled?
Around the Scottish Borders with my wife on our tandem.

What is your greatest achievement, in terms of encouraging more people to cycle?
I set up a Bicycle Users Group at my Ambulance station to encourage others to commute by providing resources and advice.

What single thing do you think would do most to encourage more cycling in the UK?
Forcing Local Authorities to work with other agencies/organisations/clubs to provide all manner of infrastructure/facilities, which would make cycling an ordinary/easy/fun thing to do at any time of life/day/year and for any purpose.

What has been your favourite cycling experience?
Any chance to ride with my brothers Pat and Ian, which is all too rare these days.

What was your worst cycling experience?
Being threatened by an irate and clearly jealous van driver who tried running me off the road, while I was on duty, because I kept overtaking him in queues of traffic as I made my way into the city centre one morning.

What is it about using your bike that you like the most?
At work, the surprised look on 999 caller’s face when I show up at their incident within a minute or two while they are still on the phone to our control centre (who tend to then hear them say “ooh, there’s a man on a bike here already”)

The answers given are the opinion of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of any organisation they may represent.


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