Posted By:The iYFA Team

Post Date:May 23, 2018

On your bike!

The In Your Face Advertising (iYFA) offices are on the Chiswick High Road which is a popular cycle route, with bike lanes, and often busy with people making their way to work (and home again).

Riding a bike to work (and in general) has many benefits, to your health, the environment and your local community. The health bit is easy as riding keeps you fit and helps with weight loss (but you do need to get a bit of a sweat on for weight loss). I’ll come back to the environment because that’s not so simple. Your local community wins because when you use your bike you tend not to travel as far on errands and shopping than if you went by car (or public transport). Of course it’s also far cheaper.

But what about the environment?

Riding a bike uses minimal fossil fuels and is a pollution-free mode of transport. Furthermore, bikes reduce the need to build, service and dispose of cars. Plus you will have worked off your bike’s initial carbon footprint after about 400 miles.

Cycling 10 miles each way to work would save around 2400kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year. That same 10 miles trip in a small car would use about 68 gallons of fuel and produce .7 tons of CO2. Do it in a 4X4 SUV and you would use 170 gallons of fuel and produce 1.9 tons of CO2.

So getting on your bike is a great idea. Without a doubt yes, but even so, for the true environmentalist, there are still many things to think about.

Bikes today are works of art and a masterpiece of technology; with carbon-fibre frames, staggering gearing, batteries for the tough uphill bits and lots of tech and clothing. And this is where you really need to think about the environment.

How about those wonderful little CO2 inflators? They take all the work out of pumping up a tyre, like a maniac, half-way up a mountain. Now the manufacturers will tell you that the cartridges are made from entirely recycled material but what about all the CO2 you are releasing into the environment just to save some muscle work?

Then of course there is your bike’s frame.

Carbon-fibre is the pro’s darling and the dream of many cyclists. It’s light, strong and it’ll make your biking friends drool with envy. But apart from its tendency to fail catastrophically the emissions it releases when being manufactured would make even the Lithium-ion battery proud.

So what about aluminium? The biggest drawback of an aluminium-framed bike is fatigue as an aluminium frame is only good for 5 to 10 years of use – if you’re lucky. Now that wouldn’t be so bad if you had the option to repair, but the aluminium-framed bike’s initial low cost is offset by the fact that it’s just not cost effective to repair later on.

So if one of your reasons to get on your bike is the environment then a good steel frame is your best option, as it will outlast anything else and can be recycled.

I’ve just touched the surface here, but as iYFA is fighting the war on plastic, what about your water bottle?

One last thing, I live out in the Surrey Hills, and we have hundreds of cyclists using the roads, especially now it’s summer (I really wish I could ride up to Newlands Corner) and sometimes things get a little tense between the bike rider and the motorist. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere (even in Chiswick). Well I spotted a van with a wonderful message on its back recently that I think we could all learn from.

Happy and safe cycling.

David – Head of Business Development and eco trailblazer at iYFA

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