They don’t look like typical riders, with a penchant for leather and intimidatingly tough-looking motorcycles.
But these riders are part of a unique “gang” of sorts: they’re an unknown but essential group of volunteers for England’s National Health Service.
As part of their work, they carry much needed medical supplies — blood, vital organs and even baby’s milk — around the U.K., saving the NHS money and time and being unsung heroes in the process.
Director David Hayes has crafted a short doc — produced in association with Contra, a production company in London — that pays tribute to these “blood bikers,” who do vital and necessary work, often in the dead of night.
With a mix of perceptive interviews and dynamic camerawork and editing, this short documentary is a composite portrait that puts a face on the men and women criss-crossing the country, masked under the helmets and flying by on their bikes.
The film follows many of them as they receive calls, often in the dead of night, and then make their way as quickly as possible to hospitals with their supplies, criss-crossing the countries and cities of the U.K. on their life-saving errands.
The bikers have several different reasons for being involved: many have stories of loved ones who were hospitalized, and wanted to give back as a way to express gratitude. Others themselves found themselves in critical medical condition and were saved by transfusions and transplants.
What emerges is a composite of a small but essential community, often working in the middle of the night, alone and invisible, powered by a sense of altruism, gratitude and service to ideals that are bigger than themselves.
We often talk about “making a difference, but when we deconstruct the phrase, we realize what it truly means is understanding that the smallest role or action is vital to the larger system or whole. What “Blood Bikers” does is make this idea visible and concrete, celebrating the often overlooked contributions of a small but heroic group of people with insight, intelligence and respect.