Some people ride for fun, some people ride for fitness and some people ride because it’s a very environmentally friendly way of getting from A to B.
Of course, for most of us it’s be a combination of all three and more, but there’s no denying that hopping your bike is preferable to jumping in the car for a lot of reasons. Fewer emissions affecting our air quality, less fossil fuel being burnt, not to mention reconnecting with nature.
So while you’re on your bike and enjoying the great outdoors, there are a few products you can switch too that will have a reduced impact on the environment, whether they use more natural ingredients, recycled material, or harness your own pedal power.
It’s a fact of life that bikes get mucky. It doesn’t matter whether you ride it through knee-deep muddy puddles off road, or oily gritty road slime – one way or another it’s going to end up on your bike, in your chain, and over your gears.
Cleaning it off can often prove hard, but luckily there are an ever-increasing number of companies with products that are designed to be tough on the grease and grime, but that will biodegrade quickly with a minimal effect on the environment.
Green Oil produces a range of cleaning products and brushes to get your bike back in tiptop condition, and it also produces chain oil. The Deluxe Set comes in bucket you can use for cleaning, and you also get a packet of seeds so you can brighten things up even more. How about a little pothole gardening?
New company Purple Harry produce, in addition to their rather nifty bike floss, a biodegradable 2 in 1 cleaner and degreaser.
Since you’re pedalling anyway, why not harness some of that leg power to run your lights?
Dynamo lights run off electricity generated from the spinning motion of magnets in a tiny motor. This motor usually runs off the action of either the wheel hubs or the bottom bracket. You get consistent light, and no need to worry about replacing batteries or loosing the USB charging cable.
The lights tend to be permanently affixed to the bike, so you can just hop on and go.
If you’d prefer to have a lighting option you can move between bikes, what about a light set you can charge by hand? The PowerPlus Swallow wind up bicycle lighting system has a wind-up dynamo, and as well as front and back lights, you can also use the unit to charge some mobile phones.
If you want to let nature do some of the work, then have a look at these solar powered Anklelites. They’re one size fits all, and they incorporate reflective Scotchlite fabric making them highly reflective as well.
Bags and accessories made of recycled or upcycled materials are certainly becoming more prevalent.
Big brand Bontrager produce their own range of upcycled items, with accessories like this PRO Pack Eco saddlebag made from old inner tubes and banners.
If you need something a bit roomier, the Katharina range from Basil is made from recycled canvas and has a lovely vintage feel.
Don’t forget to check out second hand shops, ebay or cycling friends – re-using items that would otherwise be thrown away is ideal for saving resources and reducing waste. If you’ve got old kit, you can also try Freecycle to see if you can give it a new home.
Don’t forget your clothing too. A lot of manmade fabrics like polyester are derived from oil, and require a lot of energy to make and produce.
Companies like Howies are also working towards producing their garments in an increasingly low impact way, for example using organic cotton. Some companies are now also beginning to use a percentage of recycled polyester in their clothing too, so fewer resources are used.
At the other end of your kits lifetime, don’t forget to get it recycled! Canadian women’s cycle clothing brand Loeka take recycling seriously, encouraging you to return their 100% recyclable clothes to them once you’ve finished with them. They’ll even give you 10% off your next purchase if you do.