Cycling is often considered a very environmentally friendly form of transport, but even we as cyclists can have a negative impact on the world we live in and on the streets, trails and land that we ride.
From the bikes and components themselves to the products we use to maintain our pride and joys, we could all probably do more to be more green. So here are a few suggestions on how to be an even greener cyclist.
1. Look after your bike
Buy to last. Where possible, buy components that can be serviced not chucked out and maintain your equipment so it doesn’t need replacing so often. If you can’t do it yourself your local bike shop will happily swap cash for time.
If any components have come to the end of their life, donate them to charities or recycle on eBay or Freecycle. Carbon bikes can be recycled, too: email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and give your bike a second life.
2. Go easy on the CO2
Use a hand pump instead of CO2 cartridges to inflate tyres, and if you do use a CO2 cartridge make sure you recycle it.
3. Pass on your unwanted inner tubes
Repair punctures when possible and don’t throw your inner tubes in the bin. Inner tubes can be recycled and there are charities who will happily take in your unwanted bicycle parts, too. Inner tubes donated to the Kizevac Project will be stitched into wallets, phone cases and other accessories by trained tailors. These are then bought back by the Krizevac Project to be resold in the UK with any further profits generated used to fund future shipments of its Elephant bikes.
4. Think about your journey
Ride, take the train or at least car share to the trail centre or a sportive, or ride a local trail or route instead of journeying. If you do drive, transport your bike inside your car and not on the roof to get better fuel economy.
5. Build a town bike
Build a town bike and use it for all those local journeys. You’ll be surprised how your fitness improves.
6. Make cycling easier for everyone
Encourage employers to introduce bike commuting incentives, or at least fit a shower/changing room to make the ride to work more comfortable.
7. Green cleaning
Collect rainwater in water butts and use a gardener’s hand pump sprayer to jet wash your bike for free and to save resources. You could also go detergent-free with all of your kit washing by using Eco Balls.
8. Be trail savvy
Avoid chewing up trails in winter. When the weather turns nasty, stick to the man-made trails. If you find some natural riding that isn’t a swamp, don’t brag about it on Facebook or Strava and attract the hoards. You could also join your local trail maintenance group and help combat trail erosion.
9. Don’t litter the trails
Take your litter home. It’s not the dog walkers pooping Torq gels, is it?
10. Use green oil
At the very least, buy lube from one of the companies offering lower impact products (like Green Oil).
11. The old bamboo
Buy a bamboo bike. Pandas’ food of choice is the most ecologically friendly of all bike materials. (That said, we’re not sure how we’d feel about riding an enduro on a bamboo bike.)