The bike saviours
For many, biking is probably the most beautiful sport in the world. In the Home of Lässig, hundreds of bikers are out and about on the numerous lines and trails every day. For the past five years, the Bike Patrol staff can be found as helpers on two wheels on the mountains in Saalbach and Hinterglemm. They act as mobile first aiders on the Lines & Trails and are responsible for first aid and the transport of injured persons in case of accidents. The Bike Patrol is a unique showcase project that is otherwise unmatched in Austria.
The basic concept of the Bike Patrol
13 employees are stationed on the bike mountains in the Home of Lässig during the summer. They can be found in Hinterglemm on the Westgipfel, on the Zwölferkogel and on the Reiterkogel as well as in Saalbach on the Kohlmais and on the Schattberg. One main rescuer is stationed on each mountain, and the staff take turns in a roster. In addition, there are standby rescuers who can be deployed on call throughout the area. The rescuers can manage a lot on their own, but if they need support, the standby rescuers come into action. The mountain rescue service and the rescue helicopter "Martin 6" stationed in Hinterglemm are also on call.
Many of the "bike rescuers" work as piste rescuers for the mountain railways in winter. They know the mountains in Saalbach Hinterglemm like the back of their hand and can therefore make the best possible decision on how to get to the accident site as quickly as possible. They definitely don't lack experience in first aid, because providing first aid to injured people is their daily business all year round.
The Bike Patrol always has their emergency backpack with them. It contains bandages, universal splints and other useful equipment. It is checked every day at the beginning of their shift to make sure it is complete, so that the rescuers are always fully prepared. Many members of the Bike Patrol also carry a hip bag to store other useful gadgets. A defibrillator is also part of the equipment for worst-case scenarios.
Good equipment is half the battle
In order to get to the injured as quickly as possible, the Bike Patrol was provided with Trek Slash Enduro mountain bikes. Each member of the staff is given his own bike, which is regularly serviced and can also be used in their free time. Helmets and protectors in eye-catching colours, provided by the brand poc, ensure safety and good visibility on the bike. In order to look good at work, a cooperation with Maloja was initiated. Thus, the employees wear stylish and functional T-shirts, longsleeves, jackets and trousers in a lovingly created Bike Patrol design.
"With Trek, poc and Maloja we have found partners with whom everything works really well. Trek is known to build insanely good bikes and the products from poc ensure the highest level of safety. With Maloja you can feel that the individual garments are simply made for biking and outdoor use. When you feel comfortable with your equipment, as we do now, work is much more fun," says Jochen Mitterer, who has been part of the Bike Patrol since the beginning.
From emergency call to rescue
If a biker is injured on a trail and makes an emergency call, this ultimately ends up directly with the Bike Patrol via the mountain railways. On all bike trails there are rescue points, visible by small signs on the edge. These indicate the exact position and thus facilitate the initiation of the rescue chain and the localisation of the caller. With the help of a rescue map, the Bike Patrol knows immediately where the injured person is and how to get there as quickly as possible.
After the alert, the rescuer sets off on his bike directly to the fallen person, whom he usually reaches within a few minutes. Upon arrival, the experienced rescuers can usually assess the situation well. First they take care of the first aid, whereby the Bike Patrol is equipped for all eventualities, from minor abrasions to more serious injuries. This is followed by the most important and usually also the most difficult part, namely the further transport. Depending on the situation, this is done either by quad bike, on foot with the support of the rescuer or by helicopter.
Of course, the human interaction with the bikers in distress is also extremely important. The core task of the bike rescuers is to take away the fear of the injured and to support them step by step until they are handed over to the next rescue vehicle. The best possible care of the injured is the top priority, they should of course feel well looked after despite their predicament.
Beyond the duties
The Bike Patrol staff are stationed at the mountain stations of the respective gondolas and also stay there during the day. They definitely don't get bored, because between duties they help out in a wide variety of areas. From providing information about bike routes and passing on tips and tricks, the spectrum goes much further. As employees of the mountain railways, they also help out with the lift service in between or assist with minor repair work on and off the bike trails. In short, they help to keep everything running smoothly.
No two days are the same, and that's exactly what the Bike Patrol staff enjoy about their work. In their work, many bike rescuers combine their passion for biking with the desire to help others. What is unique about this is that they are out in nature all day and face other challenges every day in addition to their core tasks. As one hears, for many it is a dream come true to be able to do this job every day.