Shoreham cyclist channels 'covid spirit' by spelling NHS in cross-town bike ride

A Shoreham cyclist has harnessed what he has dubbed the 'covid spirit' in an imaginative tribute to the NHS.

Adam Bronkhorst, 45, cycled a route from west to east across Shoreham that spelled out 'NHS' on a map as a thank you to the frontline workers putting their lives on the line every day.

The photographer, who started the 12-mile ride from his home near Buckingham Park, said he wanted to spell out 'key workers' but that was, understandably, extremely difficult.

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But the gesture was a marker of the way all of society had come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

Adam Bronkhorst's cycle across Shoreham, plotted on the Strava app

"We've had the Blitz spirit and I really think we are seeing a covid spirit now," said Adam.

"I would like people to look back and remember the covid spirit, and think 'oh remember when everyone had rainbows in their windows', or when everyone was sharing their spare things. There's a lot of sharing, people checking up on their elderly neighbours and everyone coming together. It's a wartime spirit."

For his 54-minute cycle, Adam set off from Buckingham Park and completed half of the 'H', before heading west to cycle the route of the 'N'. Incidentally, he said the 'N' was the most difficult route to plot, going through a few iterations on his planner before he settled on the final journey.

From the 'N', which began along Cecil Pashley Way, traversed the River Adur on the Old Toll Bridge and headed south and north east into town, Adam then completed the second half of the 'H' in central Shoreham before moving east for a long 'S' that ended near the Holmbush Centre.

Adam Bronkhorst

A keen cyclist before the pandemic, Adam is a member of local cycling group Shoreham-By-Cycle, which aims to promote the benefits of safe and responsible cycling in the area.

He said he hoped the recent surge in cycling's popularity, as people looked for new ways to fit in their daily exercise during the lockdown, would trigger a shift in attitudes beyond the span of the current crisis.

"The great thing about cycling is there are so many fewer cars on the road that cycling around Shoreham feels so much safer," he said.

"We are seeing so many new people on their bikes, some who have clearly just got their bike out of the shed, a 20-year-old mountain bike or something, and are cycling around with smiles on their faces. Everyone says hello, everyone's being friendly and showing that covid spirit.

"Cycling's great for exercise and for your mental health, so hopefully more people will realise they don't need a car as much as they thought."

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