Monday, 12 June 2017

The Big Shift at Dulwich College

Across Dulwich College’s five schools we made a dedicated effort in the second week in May to change the way we travelled to school, following the SUSTRANS blue print of ‘The Big Shift’ – an active shift towards more active and sustainable travel.  All staff and boys were asked to make a pledge to make a conscientious effort to change during that week.  It was recognised that many families couldn’t change their means and route to school (as they have to use the Foundation Coach Service or lived too far away) so they were equally valued if they managed to change their travel over their weekend. The pledges for more sustainable and active travel have rolled in and lots of boys have walked and cycled to school over the course of this week (see pledge wall photo here). Such is the commitment that one boy, who lives very close to the school and who normally walks, said that he became more active by 'sprinting' to school instead.

In addition to the pledges we had a number of other events to promote better ways of coming to school and travelling.  In the Junior School and at DUCKS we had a  Bike Breakfast which allowed any boy who had made a difference in their travel to enjoy a pain au chocolat and an orange juice. For example there were many stories of boys cycling with their parents, car sharing, taking the bus, and walking to football club!

At DUCKS there was a bikeability programme for young riders and Dr Bike came to repair and tune the children’s bikes.   Also all the boys in Year 6, and many from the rest of the school, attempted the Rollapaluza static bike racing event. A wonderful burst of 15 – 20 seconds of energy (actually feels a lot longer than you think!) which is the equivalent of racing 250m – i.e. once round a velodrome. There were prizes for the first three boys in each year group.  Also there was a puncture repair competition (the fastest being 1 min 14 seconds!).

We had the Met Police bring in an HGV to show the boys about sight lines from a lorry cab to help cyclists and pedestrians as part of their Exchanging Places programme. They also brought their bike-marking team to help register lots of the boys’ bikes - 29 were done in all.
In several assemblies across the school, Jem Stein from Bike Project talked to the boys about his project of donating bikes to refugees.  By the end of the week 24 bikes had been donated.

Finally, in assembly at DUCKs and the Junior School we heard from 20 year old Abi Von Twisk who grew up training at the Herne Hill Velodrome and is now a professional cyclist with the DROPS pro team. She talked about how she became a professional, the sorts of racing that she does and what life as a professional cyclist with warm weather training in Australia feels like.