SAMS news room

Student using pedal power to attend energy conference

Thomas Webber will join scientists from the University of St Andrews on a 300-mile cycle challenge.
Thomas Webber will join scientists from the University of St Andrews on a 300-mile cycle challenge.

A PhD student from SAMS is joining academics from the University of St Andrews on a 300-mile sponsored bike ride to an environmental conference, while raising money for a cycling charity.

Thomas Webber from SAMS, a partner of UHI, will attend the Environmental Impact of Marine Renewables Conference in Kirkwall, Orkney on 15th April. In the days leading up to the event, he will join a team leaving from St Andrews’ Sea Mammal Research Unit to raise money for the Adaptive Riders Collective.

The charity was set up to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the benefits and freedom of nature through off-road adaptive cycling. Their recent short-film, 'Three Wheel Drive', documents the challenges and successes experienced by a mixed riding group as they undertake a multi-day cycle challenge in the Cairngorms - and was awarded the Community Project of the Year in the Scottish Mountain Bike Awards 2023.

Thomas said: “I’ve previously done a lot of off-road cycling but since coming to study at SAMS I’ve been keen to do more road cycling – maybe I won’t be so keen after this challenge.

“I’d love to raise as much money as possible for the Adaptive Riders Collective, as it does fantastic work in getting more people involved in cycling. I watched the charity’s short film and was inspired by the challenges people can overcome with the right support.”

The sponsored cycle will use Sustrans cycle routes between St Andrews and Orkney, accompanied by an electric support vehicle.

As well as fundraising for a good cause, the scientists hope to promote awareness of climate change and the need for renewable energy as part of a low carbon future.

Thomas’ PhD research, funded by the SUPER DTP programme, uses underwater acoustics to study cetacean distributions, ecology and behaviour, specifically investigating the spatial and temporal distributions of Risso’s dolphins in Scottish waters.

You can sponsor the team here:

Two UHI Masters students based at SAMS recently cycled across the continent in between semesters on a European aquaculture course, ACES-STAR. Read more: