BELLS are ringing, high vis is flashing and there's an excited burble from children waiting for the green light to put their feet down and pedal away.

Rather than a tired struggle at the end of the week, for some pupils at Shawlands Primary School Friday is their favourite day - because that means bike bus day.

Glasgow Times: The Strathbungo to Shawlands primary school Bike Bus pictured on Pollokshaws Road  Picture: Colin Mearns

At 8.25am, cyclists big and little gather in Strathbungo to make the 20 minute journey to school by bike or scooter.

Weaving their way along Moray Place, pupils follow the designated lead cyclist while a "sweeper" looks after those at the back... and pick up the odd dropped shoe or bag.

Inspired by a similar initiative in Barcelona, Shawlands Bike Bus is the first in the city and was set up by parents Jo Wright and Gareth Johnson.

Glasgow Times: The Strathbungo to Shawlands primary school Bike Bus pictured making their way to school  Picture: Colin Mearns

The couple had been visiting friends in Denmark and enjoyed being able to safely travel around by bike.

Gareth said: "When we came back, every week our son Owen would ask if we could bike to school and we had to say no because it's not safe.

"We were in a funk about the infrastructure - or lack of it - that we have. Then I was on Twitter and saw the Barcelona example.

Glasgow Times: Owen Johnson Wright age five  Picture: Colin Mearns

"We asked people if they would get involved if we set up our own bike bus and there was a really positive response."

Started just before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, for the first few weeks the group "largely made it up as we went along" and the route has changed organically over the past few weeks as they learned what worked and what didn't.

Glasgow Times: Gareth Johnson Picture: Colin Mearns

Sticking mostly to local roads, there is a section of the route where the bike bus turns on to Pollokshaws Road, a busy main thoroughfare.

But drivers are surprisingly supportive, some honking their horns, some waving and all of them keeping well out of the way.

Glasgow Times: Jo Wright and Gareth Johnson with their two year old son Callum Johnson Wright outside Shawlands Primary school Picture: Colin Mearns

While it has been a mainly positive experience, Gareth said that hasn't always been the case.

He said: "We used to come round the back roads as the main roads seemed too busy.

"But people were more aggressive due to rat running whereas on the main roads people expect to get stuck in traffic at that time of the morning and are more patient.

"It's been 99% positive from drivers.

"We've been really surprised that people step to the side and give us space to get by."

Adults go ahead of the children and block the traffic while the grown ups also cycle on the outside of the bike bus to protect the junior riders from traffic.

Gareth added: "The kids really enjoy it, I don't think any of them would prefer to be in a car.

"Any anxiety on the road is absorbed by the adults.

Glasgow Times: The Strathbungo to Shawlands primary school Bike Bus gather on Titwood Road  Picture: Colin Mearns

"We were nervous at first but we have grown in confidence week by week.

"We have lots of roles and plans in place. We didn't have any of that when we started.

"Now we've learned the kids need someone to follow and if that's their one job - to follow the person at the front - then they know that's what they have to do."

During the ride, the children are oblivious to any sense of danger from traffic and wheel freely along the road, chatting away to their friends.

At one point a FirstGlasgow bus driver flashes his lights and waves, receiving a few waves back from the cyclists.

Grant Maclean's family are keen cyclists and car-free, so his children are used to travelling everywhere by bike.

Glasgow Times: The Strathbungo to Shawlands primary school Bike Bus makes their way along Pollokshaws Road to Shawlands Primary school  Picture: Colin Mearns

But, he said, the bike bus has been a huge boon for children who otherwise wouldn't have the chance to travel by cycling.

said: "I saw the same video of the bike bus in Barcelona and then Gareth posted a message saying we should do that here.

"When I was a child my mum organised a walking bus but this has been much more fun and a really positive experience - it gives my child the chance to cycle on the road and build up more confidence on the road.

"A lot of kids don't ever get the chance to do this because it's too dangerous or scary.

"When we started, a lot of the parents didn't have a working bike at all but they've seen how easy it is to get around by bike.

"My daughter looks forward to going to school on a Friday more than any other day of the week."

While there is a political point to reclaiming the roads for active travel, the group weren't all avid cyclist to start with.

Glasgow Times: The Strathbungo to Shawlands primary school Bike Bus pictured arriving at school Picture: Colin Mearns

Gareth said: "The interesting thing is none of are what we would call activist cyclists.

"Some of the parents didn't even have bikes when we started and would hire Nextbikes to take part.

"I think only one of us would have called themselves a cyclist.

"Some of us did come from a more political space, where we wanted to take up space on the road, but that wasn't the motivation."

The draft Glasgow City Council Active Travel Strategy highlights bike and walking buses as a priority for schools in the city and outlines support for setting them up.

Shawlands Bike Bus has played host to local councillors looking at how the scheme works.

As well as setting an example for the rest of the city, Gareth is hoping the bike bus will continue to expand at Shawlands too.

He added: "It's amazing, the sense of achievement and infectious joy.

"The next question is how do we get bigger and invite more people?"