The green aspect of cycling figures a lot less in the cycle industry than outsiders might think.
So cycling is a greener way to get around? Great. But that's a nice additional extra, rather than a reason to shift a new bike, secondary to reasons like ride quality, looks, brand and so on. Reasons to ride like traffic-jam dodging and relative cheapness all seem to figure far higher than ecological concerns.
Maybe vocal climate change doubters and the likes of Jeremy ‘climate change is science fiction’ Clarkson have contributed to ecologically sound ideals being less fashionable than they used to be, say, 15 years ago.
No doubt bringing the majority of cycle product all the way from the Far East, adding to the carbon footprint of the majority of bicycle kit available on the shelves has clouded the issue slightly and left the bicycle’s green credentials altogether less clear cut than one might assume at face value.
But while being green may indeed not be easy, as Kermit the Frog memorably observed, it does seem to be gathering momentum again in the cycle industry.
At Eurobike there was a number of companies making moves to become more ecologically sound.
Perhaps most obviously, Dahon has launched a ‘Green Award’, stumping up thousands of Euros to a green initiative, whether that’s run by an organisation, company or even city. The folding bicycle manufacturer is also attempting to become more environmentally aware in its practices at its headquarters, cutting down on paper and other similar initiatives. Elsewhere the likes of Cube has launched a ‘Cube Eco Tested’ label for its accessories, meaning they are produced environmentally friendly. And we hear of other manufacturers have been keen to cut down on packaging – particularly for accessories – also handily saving money in the process.
At a time when the consumer is no less stretched than it has been for the last four years – perhaps more stretched than ever – it’s interesting to see bicycle businesses making these moves. Are consumers demanding the cycle industry is more environmentally friendly? Not on any evidence I’ve seen or heard. Instead the movement seems to have come from within.
Whether it will be a flitting ideal forgotten about this time next year remains to be seen, but as another reason for singing the praises of the cycle industry, we’re all for it.