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Ecobike and what is eco friendly cycling

Ecobike and what is eco friendly cycling

Are bicycles eco-friendly? Regardless of the material manufacturers use in production and ongoing discussion which one is better, riding a bicycle leaves 5-7 times less carbon footprint compared with driving the car and is better for the health. Yes, riding no bike at all leaves even less, but I will respect technological progress since bikes are regarded as one of the greatest inventions of humankind (all right it is the wheel, but bicycles are close). United Nations General Assembly declared June 3 as international world bicycle day for a reason. In this article, I explore what is ecobike, accessories, eco friendly cycling and new tech trends in the cycling industry. 

Riding a bike is freedom

Do you have strong base?

Each of us has some feelings attached to cycling, for me, it is memories connected to my early childhood, the feeling of achievement when the support wheels were taken off and the feeling of freedom while driving with friends. I love cycling. Nowadays, I regularly use the bike to commute to work and celebrate each bicycle road that municipality opens to encourage cycling in the city. Although riding a bike is good for the environment in almost any aspect, one must be careful when approaching decision of purchase. 

Ecobike is eco-friendly

Which bikes are most friendly for the environment? Should one look into the production process and materials used, the durability of the bike, or maybe the possibility to recycle it? I suggest that used bikes are the most eco-friendly. Wikipedia states there are 2 billion bicycles around the world and annual production rate of new bikes exceeds 100 million. The durability of bikes well exceeds the tech progress and new offers in the market. I bet there is a good bike waiting for you.

Best Ecobike is used bike

One more reason to acquire used bike is the price. The price of the new bike varies from 50 to 10 000 USD depending on the level of customization. Newly purchased bike loses its value as much as 25% immediately after driving out of the store and depreciates up to 50% annually depending on the intensity of use. It does make economic sense to look for a bike in the craigslist. 

There are 3 categories of bikes in the secondary market: 

Used bikes are almost as good as new. The owner bought a bike, used it for a few times and then left it in the garage or another safe place to collect the dust. There is a term for these bikes – Ridden Once; Put Away (ROPW). These bikes have no obvious signs of wear and tear and bike with the initial store value of 600$ could easily (with little negotiation) find new owners for 200$.

Refurbished bikes are those that have undergone more or less extensive repair. It takes once a year to maintain the bike in good riding condition as well as after 7-10 years the revamp process might be necessary. 

Scrapped bikes are clearly out of riding condition where revamp process has been delayed for too long. In such cases, the bike is mostly used for spare parts or recycled altogether. 

Steel bikes are durable

Steel or wood

I will spare the in-depth discussion about materials used in bike production such as aluminum, titanium, carbon, steel, and wood (bamboo) and state that steel is one of the most durable materials for bikes, carbon is high tech, and wood is most eco. Steel bikes are a bit heavier than other metal materials, but the fact that steel production releases only one-third of CO2 than for other metals is deciding point for me. 

Green choice for accessories

Bike brands are operating in the highly competitive the market, it is hard to come up with new “wow” ideas to improve the experience of riding a bike. Most of the marketing is focused on shiny objects or additional accessories that do not improve much of the basic functionality: brakes for safety, gear count and switch cables for ease of pedaling, chain quality and tires. Focus on functionality parts and it will save you a few bucks. 

Accessories are an important part of cycling, that enhances safety and comfort on the road. To assess the need for accessories one should know what the bike is for. There are three types of bikes: for exercising, for transportation and leisure. For each of these types, the basic gear functionality will differ, however, the most important accessories will remain the same. Here is the list of my choices for the best quality eco-friendly accessories market provides. 

Lock – Abus Granit Extreme the less colorful the locker the better. We did have a bad experience with a pink locker.

Luggage – Vaude cyclist pack 

Waterproof jacket – Vaude WomenVaude Men remember to put the breathable shirt on as sweating is inevitable.

Mudguards and fenders – Portland Design metal fenders go for metal ones. 

Front and rear lights – Cycle torch Shark 500, LED is the way. 

Eco-Friendly helmets are hard to find

Helmet – Thousand eco-friendly and trendy. 

Eyewear – Zeal Optics

Eco friendly cycling

OK, we have a bike, we have gear, now let us pedal. Commuting to work is a great way to prepare for the day, numerous studies prove that physical exercise improves mental well-being, lowers the risk of heart diseases, and has a lower risk of injury as low impact exercise. 

The responsible cyclist has to be aware that he/she is responsible for safe commuting and there are zero excuses in breaking traffic rules, jeopardizing others safety with over speeding and not using sound signals if approaching and another aggressive behavior. There must be a reason we drive bike, and it is not the speed. Using a phone while driving a bike is also a dangerous deed.

The better developed is the infrastructure for cyclists in the neighborhood the higher the quality of riding culture. Europe’s cities such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Oslo have well-established infrastructures for cycling and lead the way in Copenhagenize index. The most cyclist-friendly US cities are Seattle, San-Francisco, Fort Collins, Minneapolis, Portland, and Chicago. Some might argue that cities are not safe and nature is the place where spend the moments on the bike. 

Choose your trails closer to the home

If you are leisure cyclist and want to make your cycling more sustainable, choosing the trails closer to your home is the thing to consider. Be also aware that fuel consumption increases by up to 20 % while driving with the fixed bike on the car. The back of the car is a better solution. 

Technological progress is unavoidable

Regardless of where you like to ride or what your environmental awareness is the technology is progressing. Here are the top 5 tech developments that improve and transform cycling, bringing even greater masses of people to this activity. 

Bike sharing, there is no way you can miss a bike-share these days, it is in every major city in the world. Tourists around the world are using bicycles to see the places they are visiting. 

Smart cities and cycling hand in hand

Connected transport systems in the cities where bikes must be part of. In designing the smart cities and future smart transportation driverless cars will have to deal with cyclists. 

Virtual cycling solutions like Zwift are developing fast. It might partially solve the problem for trail-syclists, but how do you simulate the feel of the breeze on your face? 

e-bike systems, like Bosch and many others. The issue with the environment here is lithium and cobalt metals in the batteries. These metals are finite resources and extracting them from the earth is expensive, the charge length is increasing but there are no clear systems to recycle batteries yet. By the year 2025 11 million tons of lithium-ion batteries will be in the market. Science has yet to find a good answer to this problem. 

Bike tracking systems, like Spybike. Even the best lockers in the world have weaknesses. GPS tracking can help authorities to find the bike.

Modern High-Tech Bike

Conclusion

To sum things up I hope we are aware now that cycling is good for the environment as well as for the health. That second-hand bikes might be as good as new and steel is both – more durable and eco-friendlier material. Put on the eco-friendly glasses when choosing the accessories for your cycling activities and choose the best quality. Check out the cycling infrastructure in your neighborhood and take a ride, but be responsible and kind to fellow residents. Be aware that e-bikes are your second choice due to batteries and check out traditional bike-sharing service once you are in the other city.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. This is a topic is right down my ally . When living an Eco friendly lifestyle we need all the information we can find to make this true. I have been a ” biker” for many Years and it does not just help the carbon foot print but also your health. I have been purchasing used bikes and actually ended up with a classic that was worth much more than i paid for without even knowing , so i made out big. One thing I like to point out is the fact that most of the older models have tires with tubes, something you may want to shy away since the tubes break and when thrown in the Landfills don’t compost. thank you for the great product reviews. 

    1. Andrea, so true about tires with tubes. It definately must be considered and tires without tubes must be installed. Thanks for pointing this out. 

  2. Wow, I had no idea that there was so much to consider when choosing a bike. I am more eco-conscious and enjoy riding so it is nice to get information about how I can make better choices going forward. So steel bikes and glass accessories is the best option right? I’ll make a mental note and write it down for later. Really appreciate you sharing this with us.

    1. Marlinda, hi there. Correct, we choose what is best for us, if we take into equation climate change, we can make concious decisions to reduce CO2 by choosing products that are sustainable, thus better for all of us in the long run. 

  3. I love cycling alot and because of the nature of my work I ahevnt had enough time to gi cycling in a long time. I really love the idea that someone can come up and really explain the importance of cycling which have been neglected by so many including myself. I’ll start up cycling again and make sure my kits are complete, thanks for the suggestion and most importantly the post.

    1. Dane, thanks. Enjoy the breeze and make sure your bike gets appropriate treatment to last longer. 

  4. Thanks for this very informative article!  I’ve been considering getting a bicycle, despite the fact I haven’t ridden one since I was a kid!  I sort of assumed that riding any bike was eco-friendly, and hadn’t even considered getting a used bike to be MORE eco-friendly!  I also didn’t realize they made bikes out of wood!  Crazy!  I can’t go with wood where I’m from, it’s too moist down here, so I’d have to do more aluminum or steel.  I want one a little lighter though as I said, it’s been a long time and I’m sure I’m out of shape!  Thanks for the article!  You gave me quite a bit to think about when choosing.

    1. Selenity, hi. The wood bikes have no issues with moisture as they are manuifactured to withstand weather issues, but they are more expensive than steel ones. The lightest are carbon or aluminium, the later one is less durable. 

  5. You know, my brother was thinking of getting a bicycle. I’m not sure my brother knows much about the environment. Point is I’m thinking of pointing out buying a used bicycle instead of the new one since it is cost effective and also cheap. I like this post and how you have pointed the essence of taking care of the environment and following the traffic riles. Great one!

    1. Hendersen, i hope you will instruct your brother now on why he might consider an Ecobike. 

  6. As for me, I would always favor a refurbished bike more than any other type of used bike. Why? Because they have been used which has made the price to come down to a reasonable level and also, work has been done on them to restore them back to top gear position. Ecofriemdly biking is really nice to know about. Though I only ride bikes for exercising and for leisure but them, being economically friendly is the goal. Great article to read on! Thumbs up

    1. Roland, good point about refurished bike. 

  7. I’ve never heard of such things as bamboo bike hahaha, so thanks for telling me that. It’s always good to get educated on the environment and sustainability.

    I think one thing this post hasn’t addressed is transportation. Correct me if I’m wrong, China should be the largest manufacturer as well as user of bikes, and to send those bikes out to the rest of the world requires significant effort on transportation. So how do we reduce the GHG emissions during the transportation process? I think it’s a hard one to tackle.  

    1. Tim, you are right, China is the main manufacturer of bikes and also produces them for largest brands worldwide. Most ransportation of the bikes are done by sea, which is rather lesser evil for the environment. 

  8. I’ve never stopped to think about the issues a battery may pose on the earth tomorrow and what it takes to get a hold of what makes the battery. I am now rethinking getting an e-bike to ride. I may just have to go traditional and pedal my way to work.

    I remember I couldn’t wait to get home from school so I can ride my bike, in fact, it got me in trouble when I was in the 5h grade. I would tell my mom we didn’t have homework or I had already done it showing her the days classwork. Well, that almost got me held back a grade I only got caught because I left the note to my mom in my pants.

    She found the note while doing laundry and BOOM WW3,4, and 5 on my behind you know what I’m saying. I’m still numb in the right cheek.

    Thanks for bringing the eco-friendly way to bike to my attention,

    Shannon

    1. Shannon, you are right about e-bike, traditional bike is the green way. 

  9. More educative and interesting article. Bicycles are very important as they are environmentally friendly and strengthen the health. Bicycle are more better than motor vehicles. I like the fact that used bicycles are more environmentally friendly than the new ones. I had no Idea on this, thank you for letting us know this fact Wish you all the best.

    Baraka

    1. Baraka, your welcome, and those used bikes are everywhere, the market for used bikes is deep and there is no need to rush for the new one. 

  10. Cycling has been a part of my life since I was ten years old,when my dad bought me my first bicycle a 26  inch wheel Philips brand new, it was the pride of my life.I rode it all around our neighborhood, and had a few falls as I wasn’t very good at riding.

    In my day there were very few accessories,cycling helmets had not been invented,nor the fancy stretch pants and leather jackets,all I had was a pair of grey flannels,and a white open neck shirt, we had bicycle clips to hold your trouser cuffs and that’s all.

    I had a pouch under the seat which had a puncture repair outfit, and a special multi faceted bicycle spanner I also had a pump for pumping up the tyres which fitted onto the frame.  I later acquired a dynamo which worked on the back wheel,and a lamp which fitted onto a bracket in front of the handlebars.

    My security was a length of steel chain and  a padlock.    My parents and I went on a cycling holiday a little later,they hired a couple of bikes from the same bicycle shop for 2 weeks and my dad made a little seat for my baby sister to ride on. We rode all around the district ans had a wonderful time in the open air.

    1. Robert, thank you for sharing. Indeed bikes and stories around them have a special place in most of us. 🙂 

  11. I’m not the biggest cycling enthusiast but I like to get a good ride around a local lake when I can and the weather is nice. I hadn’t had a bike since I was a teen until about 2 years ago I found myself in a place where transportation was tough for me to manage given my circumstances at the time and a city that wasn’t very bike-friendly throughout. Not to mention I was a bit embarrassed having gone from driving my beautiful 2 seater speedster to having to rely on two wheels and any bus that could carry both the bike and myself on my longer journies around town. Maybe I assumed that bikes were just for kids but during a very humbling time period, I realized how much adults (really anyone) actually preferred going the eco-friendly route, especially in busy traffic packed cities.

    Craigslist is still great to find bikes among other things but the options that Facebook market allows for more direct and faster response is definitely something to keep in mind for anyone planning to find their next 2-wheeler. 

    Do you think people still cherish the simplicity of the common bike or will the electric bikes began to slowly weed them out? Are electric bikes still considered as eco-friendly?

    1. Ruby, hello, thanks for your question and sharing. Bikes in a sense are symbols of freedom. If you have gone through tough times, you know that bikes are the ones you can always rely on. This is one of the reasons I like biking. It is me and my bike. I feel strength when I on a bike not the vice versa. 

      Electric bikes will get popular, like hybrids or fully electro. The downside is the batteries and extraction of lithium and cobalt which are part of those batteries and leave a very nasty footprint on the environment. I hope that science and tech will catch up very fast and e-bikes will become greener and eco-friendly one day. I will definitely try them out then, but only then, not now. 🙂 

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