How can we cycle towards a greener future? Phil Ellis, Beryl

Cycling in itself is a very green option, but the industry still causes plenty of carbon footprint, be it from events, packaging or factory running. BikeBiz reached out to the industry to investigate what more we can be doing to protect our planet.

Today, we hear from Phil Ellis, CEO, Beryl.

You are fighting the good fight. We’ve got to do everything we can to keep the climate emergency at the top of the political and social agenda, we absolutely have to. It is about extinction. Full stop.

Take positives where you can, humans deliver better outcomes when there is hope. If you work in cycling you are on the right side of the challenge, the work we do can go a long way to deliver people hope and opportunity to improve their own impact. I really fear for teenagers and their mental health, climate anxiety potentially breeds more mental health concerns for young people who genuinely fear for the world they live in. Perhaps similar to what our parents felt in the ’60s about the potential inexplicable impending doom that nuclear annihilation might cause. It raises the fair question of ‘why bother?’ If apathy sets in with the next generation the world will be in an irretrievable ecological place. Hopefully, it won’t and Greta will help with that.

Cycling is a force for good in this fight. The industry already has massively increased a lot of its efforts from figuring out how to make better, lighter, faster, stronger components for the small slither of society who are serious cyclists, to the other 95% of the pie (or camembert). That attention has switched for economic reasons in order to make the market bigger, but the net result is better bikes and services that get people out of cars and into bikes, particularly in our big cities.

Beryl work in cities, we too want more people to cycle in cities. Cities exist because when humans collaborate and innovate together, the outcomes are better. To tackle climate change, everybody probably ought to be thinking about how they can collaborate. That is a challenging idea when margins are razor-thin on the front line at independent bike shops, and competition is fierce. Even in bike share I’ve seen a set of organisations and people throughout Europe and North America who were really wanting to share success and best practise to get more people cycling, into a more secretive industry as Capital has poured in. That happened between 2010 and 2020.

I recently attended the European Cycle Logistics Federation conference in Dublin, and the collaboration and mutual encouragement among those working in cycle logistics were palpable. I really hope those pioneering it are able to share in the economic rewards that will come to that industry while maintaining the collaboration that still exists there, rather than allowing something similar to what we have seen in the Asian bike-share wars or European scooter wars that really has a net negative impact. Small tangible changes (did anybody say ‘marginal gains’) in the fight against climate change has an immediate impact but embeds practises that spiral into better and better outcomes.

I think we should do everything we can to make use of good quality cycle logistics. It puts money into the pockets of those cycling and using bikes on our roads, continually raising the profile of cycling in cities. A bigger industry in cycle logistics has bigger influence and should campaign and collaborate for more and more facilities and infrastructure that help all cyclists. City streets are far better places without cars on them, and even better without vans parked on streets making deliveries. If you run cycle logistics business in London, Bournemouth, Norwich, Watford then please get in touch – we already know an excellent one in Hereford.

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