Published: March 18th 2021

We absolutely love seeing companies take action towards environmental change. Whilst cycling is considered a ‘green’ form of transport, there’s a huge carbon footprint in the production of bicycles that is often overlooked. Sourcing the materials involved, manufacturing components then shipping these all over the world have a huge carbon footprint.

Despite the fact that many bicycle production companies do not publish their carbon footprint date, it is estimated that the production and shipping associated with an average bicycle produces 530 pounds (240 kilograms) of CO2 emissions. This is roughly 75 times less than the production of a car. However, this does not paint the whole picture. When compared to car travel (assuming you’re replacing car travel with bike travel), there’s also a reduction in road surface degradation and minimal ongoing pollution in the favour of bicycle travel.

That’s not to say that bicycles are of course maintenance free. New inner tubes, tyres, brake pads, oil and cables all cost the earth. However it’s estimated that the environmental cost of these over a number of years equates to less than one-sixteenth of the demands of a car.

Enter secondhand bicycles

The secondhand bicycle market has blossomed over the last few years, partly because of the hindered availability of new bikes on the market. But, if you’ve ever ventured into the world of buying secondhand bikes, it can be a daunting prospect and, as with any secondhand purchase, being absolutely sure of what you’re buying is essential.

Many companies have jumped onto the secondhand bandwagon as consumer attitudes change towards pre-used items. Admittedly with bicycles there are inherent risks and you’ve got to be confident you know what to look for when forking out cash for an item you have limited historical knowledge. One crash on a bike can render it extremely problematic at best, or worse a health hazard.

Luckily some companies have responded, one of the first being Decathlon who have launched a ‘Second Life’ website selling refurbished bikes. They hope to save 40,000kg of CO2 in 12 months while also making bikes available at more affordable prices.

This sounds like a win-win for everyone! Reducing the carbon footprint of production and transport, providing competitively priced bikes, offering assurance to consumers, and preventing bikes from going to landfill.

We hope to see more of this movement in coming years and feel it’s definitely a sector to keep an eye on.