But there's light at the end of this dark scenario thanks to an elegant, commonplace marvel owned by the majority of westerners and accessible to almost all. It's the bicycle! This wonderfully simple vehicle reduces our impact on the earth to virtually zero, ensures health and happiness, and brings us close to nature.
The Bicycle Is The Answer
The bicycle is a clean, green, perfect machine. It can be produced with minimal resources, it doesn't create exhaust and it lets you cover short and long distances on road and off with ease, while you soak up nature's sights, sounds and smells, and leave almost no trace. Riding instead of driving also saves money, improves health and leaves you feeling relaxed and more in balance with the earth.
Fight Global Warming
Bicycling significantly reduces your carbon footprint. If you drive 10 miles to work every day in a car that gets 22 miles per gallon, hop on your bike instead and you'll save 1,863 pounds of CO2 emissions (according to the EPA), an amount equivalent to about 5% of the average family of two's yearly CO2 emissions. A 5% reduction might not sound like much but if everyone rode, we would nearly meet the 7% target set by 753 of our Nation's Mayors in their request to Congress. Plus, you'll actually become less susceptible to the over 700 tons of toxic exhaust emissions released by cars. But, don't take our word for it. Give it a try. Besides helping to save the environment, you'll feel better pedaling instead of driving, too. It's much more fun!
Bicycles Leave No Trace
Riding on the road? Unless you have to brake hard and happen to skid a tire and mark the road, you'll spin silently along leaving no trace. Riding off road? You can rut the trail if you ride in sloppy, wet conditions or skid when braking, but most riding has about the same minimal trail impact as hiking. Meanwhile, just starting your car or motorcycle causes serious air and noise pollution and underway, the damage continues with increased noise, oil drips, fumes and heavy wear and tear on our paved and dirt roads.
More Riding Saves Resources
Take into account the amount of resources needed to produce, maintain and fuel motorized vehicles, and you realize bicycling helps reduce other awful impacts of internal-combustion dependance. Every year millions of gallons of oil are spilled at sea, killing wildlife and rendering miles of ocean uninhabitable. Meanwhile even the cleanest auto factories generate massive landfill waste and lace the air with poisons. Plus, worn-out car tires and wrecked and dead vehicles fill landfills more and even litter our landscape in places. When you bicycle, though, you only improve things. Your two-wheeler uses small amounts of oil for lubrication, and some was used to make the tires. Plus, bicycles last and last, are desirable and easy to sell to a new user, or pass on, and can easily be recycled. In short, when it comes to bicycles, pollution is a non-issue.
Buying A Bike = Saving Money
Cycling ensures you won't waste money either. Consider all the costs involved in driving; purchase price; insurance; maintenance; and of course, gas. Add it all up, and a car bought in 2000 that's used only for commuting 25 miles to work each way costs $540 per month in even the most conservative estimates. Yet, a bicycle costs almost nothing to own, ride and maintain. Regardless of the purchase price, when you buy a bike you get a superior product that will pay you back in a matter of months or even weeks.
Don't forget the health-care savings, too. According to the Surgeon General, obesity accounted for 11.6% of private health-care spending and approximately 300,000 deaths in 2002. A study of almost 200,000 General Motors employees found that overweight and obese individuals average up to $1,500 more in annual medical costs than healthy weight individuals. Simply cycling instead of driving will help anyone beat obesity and numerous other maladies. We've seen cycling help heal chronic lethargy, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression. In fact, the Center for Disease Control estimates that if all physically inactive Americans became active, we would save $77 billion in annual medical costs. So, just by getting out there on your bicycle you'll save money and feel better than ever—who can put a price on that?
Cyclists Make Everyone Feel Better
The more people pedal and the less they drive, the less noise pollution there is, a wonderful thing. Traffic is currently the main source of noise pollution in urban areas and it disrupts sleep patterns, increases stress and ruins our quality of life. Cycling on the other hand is so quiet that no one will know you rode by at 5:30 a.m. Off road, bikes are so quiet that wildlife routinely lets you get super close. As more and more people ride bicycles, traffic lessens, too, which means when you have to use your car there's a better chance of avoiding gridlock. And both these things reduce stress. Imagine how people would change if they didn't have to deal with constant noise and a traffic-choked commute every day.
Feel The World Around You
You're in tune with nature when you're riding, too. Your surroundings, once outside your car's metal, plastic and glass box and muted by its loud engine, become immediate and personal. You hear birds, can talk to neighbors, feel the sting of brisk mornings, the gentle push of a light tailwind and the warm glow of sunny afternoon freedom. As you take in the sights and sounds, you're part of the world around you. The pace and intimacy of the bicycle is the perfect way to experience and enjoy the environment, rather than merely observing it. And, when you venture off road and leave congestion and civilization behind, the experience is even more magical.
Ready to go green? We're here to help. We're happy to service the bicycle you have or find a new ride to take you to the green side. And, we're always delighted to discuss our favorite routes and tips to make all your rides on road and off fun and easy.
Quick and Easy Ways to be Greener Through Cycling!
|Bike more, drive less—'nuff said.|
|Combine bicycling with public transportation like buses or trains for greater distances.|
|Bring old, unwanted bikes to a bicycle donation or recycling center so they find a new home.|
|Patch tubes, don't replace them. Recycle bad tubes as chainstay protectors and tie-downs.|
|Use biodegradable chain cleaner, lube and hand cleaner.|
|Drink out of water bottles and refill the bottle. If you must buy bottled water, buy a large (gallon+) bottle and refill your water bottle from it. We have a great selection of water bottles.|
|Old spokes from wheels can be saved and bent into many useful things.|
|Old cogs and chainrings make great art, such as windchimes, trophies and belt buckles.|
|Properly dispose of all wrappers and other trash when riding on the road and trail.|
|Don't toss torn shorts or jerseys—sew them up yourself, or take them to a local tailor.|
|Bring your own reusable bag when shopping at our store. It mean one less bag at the landfill.|
|Consider getting a trailer to carry children, groceries and laundry. Now you're really Green!|