Story Bikes was built on the idea of riding locally and thinking globally. This led us to create our company mission of enhancing the way people commute while helping those in need. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we knew we had to take it a step further. It is safe to assume that everyone knows a frontline healthcare worker; whether it is a close friend, a family member, or even a casual acquaintance. Healthcare workers have been top of mind for us all since the pandemic struck.
We heard stories of frontline workers self-isolating from their family and friends for months on end to keep themselves and others safe. We also heard stories from those who contracted the virus but found the courage and strength to still go back to work. All while they were witnessing the tragic impact of the pandemic firsthand on their patients. It became apparent these weren’t just healthcare workers – they were healthcare heroes.
As days turned into weeks and stories of health care workers became front page news, we wanted to do something to give back. Transportation was becoming an issue for many medical professionals across the USA and we were fortunate enough to be able to help. This is how the Healthcare Heroes project was born.
Getting to and from work was becoming an issue for healthcare workers across the United States, especially in areas where people rely primarily on public transit.
In New York City, the subways were shutting down consistently to be sanitized. Even places where public transportation remained up and running, medical professionals were wary to expose themselves to potentially unsanitary conditions and exposing their patients. Bike shares were becoming less popular as hundreds of people touched communal bikes per day.
We knew e-bikes would be an invaluable gift to healthcare workers in need. Our bikes have a 45 mile range and can go up to 20 miles per hour, allowing workers an alternative to cars and public transportation. We decided to raffle off free e-bikes to healthcare workers in need.
We opened the Healthcare Heroes project up to national nominations, allowing individuals to nominate healthcare professionals they knew who would benefit from an e-bike. We were shocked to see hundreds of submissions from all across the country flood in almost right away.
We asked our Instagram community to nominate friends and family members working on the front lines across the country. These nominees would be entered into the weekly raffle.
It is truly impossible to overstate how incredibly moved we were by the stories we heard throughout this process. Learning the amount of courage it took to face this global tragedy head-on – day after day – was truly inspiring.
We were not just receiving one time nominations either. People became incredibly impassioned about the healthcare heroes they knew personally, and soon large groups of people were running campaigns on behalf of loved ones. Some healthcare heroes received over 100 nominations.
We heard stories of healthcare workers making incredible personal sacrifices to serve their communities. A New York healthcare worker, Michelle, had close to 150 nominations. She worked a 12-hour shift at a busy hospital. On top of this, she walked 90 minutes to and from work to avoid exposing herself to the virus on public transportation. Fortunately, Michelle won the first week of the giveaway which lowered her total commute to just under 30 minutes!
The stories, however, were not the only thing inspiring about the campaign. We were also moved by the sheer enthusiasm that came out of it. Friends, family members, and even acquaintances of frontline workers poured onto social media to sing the praises of healthcare heroes across the country.
A Sense Of Community
The Healthcare Heroes campaign exceeded our wildest expectations. It did not just help workers in need. It gave people across the country something small to look forward to every week.
Every Friday, we would go on Instagram Live to broadcast our raffles. The response was humbling, to say the least. Friends and family members of frontline workers would watch the raffle together via Zoom calls. Healthcare workers would schedule their breaks around the announcement to cheer on coworkers they hoped would receive a bike.
We were frequently tagged in videos of people watching, and were blown away by the collective support and enthusiasm. The most humbling part of the experience was receiving feedback from both the nominees and nominators. We were trying to thank them for putting their lives on the line, yet they were thanking us for thinking about them and their families.
One message we received constantly from the Story Bikes community was that – in a time of incredible anxiety, sadness, and fear – Healthcare Heroes brought some love and hope into people’s daily lives.
Thank You To Our Heroes
What was intended on being a one week giveaway, ended up being a 6 week project and at the end of the campaign, we gave away eight bikes in total- one in Tennessee, four in New York and three in Southern California. While we wished we could gift a bike to every nominee, we were so happy for those who received their bikes and could now ride to and from work safely while having a little bit of fun.
The pandemic is ongoing, and no one is sure how long it will take for things to return to normal. Our healthcare workers continue to make sacrifices every day to make our communities safe. Story Bikes is proud we could do our small part to help, and we hope to continue to find ways to give back in the future.
In the meantime, we would like to offer our gratitude to the healthcare heroes on the front lines every day. Thank you for your service.