First-aiders are being asked to get on their bike to help save a life.

St John Ambulance wants to set up a Sussex-based team of specially trained cyclists who can help out at major events in the county.

When ambulances and other large vehicles find it hard to reach medical emergencies at crowded events it is easier for bikes to get through, meaning first aiders will be able to give patients the vital treatment they need more quickly.

The charity has used bikes at festivals and other large gatherings before, but it does not have a dedicated team in Sussex.

It means the charity has to bring in volunteers from outside the county to cover, and demand for services are increasing.

The charity plans to train seven volunteers later this month to join the team.

Each specially trained cycle responder rides a mountain bike kitted out with enough equipment to make it effectively a mini ambulance on two wheels.

Peter Leach, South East regional operational cycling officer for St John Ambulance, said: “We already have a small team of cycle responders but there aren’t enough of them to cover the events for which we receive requests.

“We train them up to the Bikeability Level 3 and also carry out some fitness training. This includes a 1km sprint bike ride, immediately followed by doing a full cardio pulmonary resuscitation – the energetic chest compression needed if someone’s heart stops.

“Each bike carries a huge variety of equipment from bandages and aspirin to oxygen and an defibrillator which is also used to restart people’s hearts.

“We are always looking for new volunteers who want to be trained in this role.

“These need to have a reasonable level of fitness, already comfortable on a bike, and who would like to learn how to be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”

The team will be helping out at the Brighton Marathon on April 6 and is also expected to provide support at the London to Brighton bike ride.

Anyone interested in training to be a cycle responder should call 07747 766554 or email