Most of Farian Te Awa's friends walk to school but he is biking this year and says it's faster.

Farian has had his mountain bike for two years and but only started riding it around town this year. His whangai dad Willie Robinson insisted he learn the road rules first.

The school helped out. Last year Farian did a two-day course there and passed the theory part of the New Zealand driver's licence. He also passed the practical, which he said was quite easy.

So this year he's been using the shiny black bike to get around town. There's the 10- to 15-minute ride from Gonville to school, trips to Springvale Park for kapa haka practice and trips to the Aramoho Boat Club for waka ama practice.

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Farian also plays basketball, ki o rahi and a bit of rugby and touch. Fitness was no problem but he still has the sore bum of a novice cyclist.

He hasn't tried using the bike off-road, but said mountain biking with his outdoor class at Te Araheke Mountain Bike Park near Lake Wiritoa was fun.

He has found you have to be more careful on a bike. He'll get off at the Alma Rd roundabout, for example, where the cycle lane becomes a footpath then reverts to a cycle lane.

There aren't too many others with bicycles in the racks at his Whanganui City College, but he doesn't mind. He doesn't have to pay for petrol or make exhaust fumes, and bicyles are easier to fix than cars.

"It gets you from A to B faster and it's good exercise and it's fun," he said.