The feature on ecologically sound lubes and cleaners in a previous What Mountain Bike magazine got me thinking about our impact on the landscape.
As cyclists, we can be pretty proud that our hobby exudes green credentials. But does it really? Dig a little deeper and most of us can admit to: driving to the majority of trailheads; using public transport or our cars to commute to work, riding full suspension bikes that use large quantities of non biodegradable suspension oil and disc brake fluid. As for the solvents used in degreaser, well, don’t go there.
Most of us are obsessed with the latest designs, but do any of us actually consider how green the manufacturer is, as well, before we buy? No, me neither.
Back in the day, things were a lot simpler. My first proper Mountain bike, the Joe Murray designed Kona Explosif Pro had rim brakes and no suspension. I also lived around the corner from my local trail. The Suntour chainset did thousands of miles, unlike our throwaway modern equivalents. In fact, the only real damage to the environment was caused by a very small amount of grease and chain oil applied when needed.
Modern culture is obsessed with getting the next best thing, and it is a constant strive to keep up. But, come on, let’s stop and think and take stock.
As keen readers of this blog will have noticed, a new kitchen went in at home recently. But part of the old one is now in the garage, being put to use to house bike bits and gardening tools, instead of taking up room in the local landfill.
If we delve into the back of our garages, sheds and cellars, we may find our long forgotten old bikes, and half used lubes and oils. When we dig the old bike out, all those memories come flooding back of happy times on the trails, with only the tyres’ natural suspension between us and the trail. A project is forming in my mind to get my old bike back in to top notch condition, and ride my local trails on it now and again, in an attempt to reduce the carbon tyre print that my full suspension bike makes.
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