Tandem Yellow Guernsey Award
Two students are proving that double the leg power is better than one and cycling is the way forward, have been presented with the 'Yellow Guernsey Award' from the Health Improvement Commission.
Teenagers Joseph Blake, 18 and Thomas Dorey, 17, are adamant that their journey to and from school on an old tandem is by far more fun, quirky, quicker and better for their mental and physical health than taking the car, as well being better for the environment. Clearly always up for a challenge, they borrowed Tom’s uncle’s tandem bike from the back of his shed last year and took part in a fundraiser to take on Guernsey’s first ever ‘slow hill climb’ between the Fairy Ring and Portelet Harbour.
‘It was fun, so we thought why don’t we ride the bike to school one day as a joke?’
They discovered they arrived in town faster than his mum and sister travelling by car, they had some great reactions from other people and so started a change of routine and new form of transport for them on the school run. Tom lives near Beaucette Marina, and then goes to pick up Joe who lives nearby before they head to Elizabeth College.
‘I find now arriving by bike, I’ve woken up and am ready to go, far more than if I was in a car or even if I had had a cold shower, people smile when they see us in our suits, we look quite comical I think.’
One barrier that presented itself was the need to carry things to and from school. To overcome this, the boys put out a plea to see if anyone had an old child’s trailer. This was successful, and now the boys can carry their school bags and even wetsuits, dry robes, instruments and anything else they need for the day.
Tom is the senior eco prefect at school and acknowledges that he wants to practice what you preach.
‘We know that young people can make a difference, so that’s what we are trying to do. It’s also positive to see more staff coming into school on a bike and see bike racks that are full, and with more dedicated bike parking planned for the school.’
Joe has uncovered a few challenges, but overall, has found the change of routine uplifting.
‘The biggest barrier I think is your mentality. I can understand that some people have a physical barrier, but bikes come in all shapes and sizes and no-where in Guernsey is much more than half an hour on a bike. It’s about trying it though and changing your routine and we are at the perfect age to start and reinforce good habits.’
The boys hope to engage with other students who might want to give cycling a go and are planning to support activity during Alternative Transport Week this May. They were presented with two yellow Le Tricoteur Guernsey’s by the Health Improvement Commission’s Be Active team, who’s goal is to encourage more people, to get more active, more often.