Robin’s top tips for Bike to School Week
While other teenagers in his class get the bus or catch a lift to school, Robin makes a 20-mile round trip from his home in Gatehouse of Fleet to Kirkcudbright Academy on his mountain bike every day.
Robin has been riding a bike since he was a toddler and is passionate about environmental activism and experiencing nature.
Next week, schoolchildren, parents and teachers across the UK will give travelling to school by bike a go during Bike to School Week.
Here are Robin’s top tips for cycling to school:
Think about why you want to cycle
Are you doing it to get more exercise? For mental wellbeing? To enjoy your surroundings? Focus on what makes it enjoyable for you.
Remember it’s not a race
Cycling to school isn’t about how fast you can go or whether you’re speedier than your friends. Appreciate the journey and be thankful for the exercise and fresh air.
Be a courteous road user
Keep a positive attitude with other road users. Stay alert for vehicles, make sure you are seen and be clear when you signal.
It really wakes you up in the morning. It uses up my energy going to school but improves my energy when I am in school.
Robin’s favourite thing about cycling to school is that it makes him feel energised and ready to take on the day. “It really wakes you up in the morning,” he said. “It uses up my energy going to school but improves my energy when I am in school.”
He also enjoys stopping to appreciate the nature around him: the views of the Galloway hills and coastline, and the sounds of the skylarks.
One of his pet peeves is when other people get competitive about the miles they have racked up or how quickly they can pedal. “The worst thing that happens is when people are competitive about how fast they are and boasting about how far they have travelled,” he said.
The only times Robin avoids taking his bike to school are during the first days of frost or when he is transporting his bagpipes. He also helps with the Wheels of Fleet bike project, including at their local Big Bike Revival events, and attends rides with the local youth group.
Robin encourages those around him to cycle and is an inspiration to many local people, who are regularly impressed at how courteous and friendly he is with other road users during his school run.