Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WILSAR) formally launched their mountain bike section at one of their training exercises at the beginning of February in Savernake Forest.
WILSAR have been developing the use of mountain bikes in search over the last couple of years, and are one of the first Lowland Search teams in the country to do so. A recent donation from Kennet District Council has enabled them to purchase four high-tech bikes for the teams’ use.
The grant of £4,540 was spent on full-size, full spec, folding bikes which allows the team to easily transport and deploy the bikes to any location within the search area.
The bikes were purchased from Montague Bikes, UK in Petersfield, Hampshire who are the UK and Ireland distributors for such bikes. Jim Griffiths, Director of Montague Bikes explained that the bikes were one of only a few available types in the UK that combined full size with high spec and that they were also in use by other emergency services such as Hampshire and Metropolitan Police and St John’s Ambulance.
Steve Upton, Chairman of WILSAR continued, “ whilst Wiltshire, like all Lowland Search Teams, are predominately a foot-search team, we also develop the use of other methods of searching as search demands dictate. To this end, we have, for a number of years, had a kayak capability to search the rivers and canals in Wiltshire. It also became apparent a couple of years ago that there was also a need to develop a faster mode of searching in some of our search areas such as woodlands and downland and as such we have worked on using mountain bikes to meet this requirement. We would like to say a huge, “thank you”, to Kennet District Council who’s kind grant has enabled WILSAR to buy these bikes.
More information on Wiltshire Search and Rescue can be found at www.wilsar.org.uk