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Plastic-Free Living

Benefits Of Biking On Carbon Emissions And How To Bike Safely

Written by Allie Willison, Staff writer at Blueland

June 1, 2021

Summer is coming in hot! Biking is a favorite summer holiday for adults and children alike. Maybe the thrill comes from the wind in your hair, or the rush of speed, or the fact that you’re not putting unnecessary carbon emissions into the atmosphere!

Biking or cycling in place of driving can decrease your personal carbon footprint. But how?

Does Biking Decrease Carbon Emissions?

The short answer is yes. Biking has a significant impact on lessening carbon emissions per person if you replace most trips you’d make via car. Where possible, choosing a bike over cars or even public transportation is beneficial to the environment.

Though there are certain studies that say there’s more to consider. Though biking can help your personal carbon footprint, public transportation is also good for the environment when more people utilize it. Researchers from Harvard even deduced that your diet impacts the emissions made while biking which can be closer per kilometer to car travel then you’d think. Though biking itself doesn’t create emissions, they’re taking into account manufacturing, disposal, and the change in the cyclists diet due to increased exertion.

Overall, the question of carbon emissions is never cut and dry. We’re still learning. But taking action to make small changes where we can is important.

Biking vs. Driving and Carbon Emissions

Let's get into the facts! A new study led by the University of Oxford's Transport Studies Unit and the EU funded PASTA: Physical Activity Through Sustainable Transport Approaches focus on city life transport; biking vs. driving. They concluded that ‘Active transport’ (biking, cycling, e-bikes) can help in a significant way towards the climate crisis.

Lead researcher Dr. Christian Brand, from the University of Oxford, said that "If just 10% of the population were to change travel behaviour, the emissions savings would be around 4% of lifecycle CO2 emissions from all car travel."

Considering the level of carbon emissions from car travel yearly, this is significant. For perspective, cars account for 60.7% of total CO2 emissions from road transport in Europe.

How Do You Decrease Your Carbon Footprint With Biking?

The first question is what trips do you currently take in your car that can be done on a bike? Maybe some of the following:

  • Your daily commute
  • Small trips to shops
  • The post office
  • Meeting up with friends

Small trips in a car are how emissions build up over time. By cutting down driving in different aspects of your life, you can cut your carbon emissions from transport by up to 67%.

Sustainable Biking Equipment

If you’re looking to offset the manufacturing worries of biking, then getting in with sustainable bike brands is the way to go! While the action itself is eco-friendly, your bike can also give you green points to make the whole endeavor super green.

These brands are turning to sustainable steel and are manufactured in the U.S. or ethically in another country.

Our top 3 are as follows:

  1. Brooklyn Bicycle Co. - sustainable steel and vegan leather
  2. Detroit Bicycles - Made in the U.S. and with Chromoly sustainable steel
  3. Chris King - Bike accessories, B Corp Certified, reclaimed or organic materials, and eco-friendly manufacturing

Bike Safety Tips

Professional bike racer, Ellen Noble (@ellenlikesbikes), has some tips to keep yourself safe as you bike your way to a greener lifestyle. Check them out:

  • ABC Quick Check:
  1. Air: make sure your tires have air and you can’t touch the rim
  2. Brakes: spin your wheels, grab the brakes and make sure they stop
  3. Chain: make sure the chain is on, pedal the bike to make sure it isn’t skipping
  • Quick Release: double check the quick release (the levers that hold your wheel on) are snug
  • Check your saddle height
  • Seat should be around hip level! Play around with what’s comfortable for you
  • Plan your route ahead of time
  • Use an app like Strava
  • Check with your local bike shop
  • Choose safety equipment that works for you
  • Helmet
  • Blinking lights
  • Hi-Visibility clothing

With the knowledge and tools above, you too can start your journey from carbon guzzling cars to planet saving biking. Get rolling!


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