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Most environmentally friendly bike

ukmarkwilsonukmarkwilson Posts: 4
edited October 2010 in The workshop
Hi all,

First post but frequent reader.

My 1-year old bike was nicked last weekend :( so I am on the hunt for a new ride. However, what with all the carbon air miles generated from importing bikes from China or the US and the lead and unrecyclable junk (probably) in some of the cheap brands I want to ask the experts (you lot), what the most ecologically sound on the market is.

Obviously, buying a 2nd hand bike makes good financial and environmental sense - and that's not an option that I am ignoring - but I'm just keen to know what you think the greenest bikes bought from new might be.

Thanks,
Mark
birxtonmark.posterous.com

Posts

  • CraggersCraggers Posts: 185
    Errr probably something that's built in the UK and is very small.... Brompton?!
    Failing that anything that's built (not just assembled) in the UK has got to be your most enviironmentally friendly choice.
  • There's an article about this in this month's C+ one thing to consider is how long the bike will last - a Ti frame has a larger Carbon footprint to manufacture, but could last for as long as 5 other frames made of Alu or Carbon Fibre. Worth a read if you're taking it seriously.

    If you are taking it seriously, then switching from an animal based diet to a plant based diet is one of the biggest CO2 reductions you can make as I understand it, more than the choice of one bike frame over another (and any bike frame over a car is having a good impact).

    Rich
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    I think a good 6 months research might turn up the correct answer. All the materials used in bike making have destructive, toxic and waste producing properties and even something such as bamboo uses fuel burning machines to harvest and transport it plus toxic resins to bond the tubes not to mention most of the rest of the bike still uses metal and/or CF. IMO best thing is to buy what you want and take care of it so that it will last longer before needing replacement and recycle the bits when no longer useful. (Alu is 100% recyclable) And as mentioned buying from a country close by with strong environmental laws helps but the probability of that bike still having dirty parts on it is almost guaranteed. Most raw materials still come from the less restrictive nations. Certainly a worthwhile effort to find out what's best but it gets complicated.
  • 1970 BSA Wayfarer - £40
    Original Sturmey rear hub, and maybe the chain and brake blocks!
    If it lasts this winter, it'll get an un-environmental facelift in spring :D
    FCN16 - 1970 BSA Wayfarer

    FCN4 - Fixie Inc
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    No difference really in carbon footprint between importing all the materials and building a bike in the UK and importing it complete, in fact the complete bike probably has total packaging, it will come by sea which has a low carbon footprint anway (it's air travel that is the killer).

    "Economies of scale" play a big part, a frame maker in the UK producing a small number of frames may well have a bigger carbon footprint per frame than frame made in a far east factory alongside millions of others (where the total cost of energy used per frame adds up to a significant enough total for them to take action to minimise it) and shipped, something your anti-globalisation protestors like to conveniantly ignore.

    Steel (properly looked after) probably has the lowest carbon footprint per mile over its life, Ti will take a lot more 'abuse' (no corrosion) but steel will last effectively forever if looked after well. The life of an Ally frame is also so long that the carbon footprint/mile for all three is probably negligeable alongside all the other factors that are common such as other build components, serviceable items (tyres, chains, casettes etc).

    Lowest CF will obviously come from buying a "pre-loved" bike.

    Simon
  • NiferNifer Posts: 102
    No difference really in carbon footprint between importing all the materials and building a bike in the UK and importing it complete, in fact the complete bike probably has total packaging, it will come by sea which has a low carbon footprint anway (it's air travel that is the killer).

    Overall global maritime CO2 emissions are worse than those for aviation, aren't they?
  • Nifer wrote:
    No difference really in carbon footprint between importing all the materials and building a bike in the UK and importing it complete, in fact the complete bike probably has total packaging, it will come by sea which has a low carbon footprint anway (it's air travel that is the killer).

    Overall global maritime CO2 emissions are worse than those for aviation, aren't they?

    Yes - or at least in the same ballpark area.
    Hello! I've been here over a month now.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Nifer wrote:
    No difference really in carbon footprint between importing all the materials and building a bike in the UK and importing it complete, in fact the complete bike probably has total packaging, it will come by sea which has a low carbon footprint anway (it's air travel that is the killer).

    Overall global maritime CO2 emissions are worse than those for aviation, aren't they?

    Yes - or at least in the same ballpark area.
    Is that in terms of total C02 or C02 by tonne per mile transported?
  • alfablue wrote:
    Nifer wrote:
    No difference really in carbon footprint between importing all the materials and building a bike in the UK and importing it complete, in fact the complete bike probably has total packaging, it will come by sea which has a low carbon footprint anway (it's air travel that is the killer).

    Overall global maritime CO2 emissions are worse than those for aviation, aren't they?

    Yes - or at least in the same ballpark area.
    Is that in terms of total C02 or C02 by tonne per mile transported?

    It'll be per tonne or even ton :wink: per mile

    edit - to be honest there seems to be a lot of contradictory information about this out there - and nothing very clear. Obviously it depends on the distance and the speed, and size of the load, and other factors. Passenger travel by cruise ship is seven times worse than air travel - across the atlantic - but air travel becomes much more efficient at longer distances.

    So - I reckon the juries out - unless someone's got better info than i can find using google.
    Hello! I've been here over a month now.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    Is it heck, the global maritime CO2 is similar to aviation but is a fraction per tonne moved, how can something travelling at 15mph produce more CO2 than something forcing its way along doing 500mph and needing to trade some energy (drag) for lift?

    Try this page
    Sea 13g/km/tonne
    Air 610g/km/tonne

    Only a factor of circa 45 apart!

    http://www2.nortel.com/go/news_detail.j ... us&lcid=-1

    Simon
  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    Is there an issue around impact, i.e. aviation release being more detrimental than ground/sea level CO2 release?
  • richred_uk wrote:
    If you are taking it seriously, then switching from an animal based diet to a plant based diet is one of the biggest CO2 reductions you can make as I understand it, more than the choice of one bike frame over another (and any bike frame over a car is having a good impact).

    +1 - the biggest environmental impact, by far, will be what you use to 'fuel' the bike.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,747
    CO2 is CO2, doesn't matter where you release it.

    Regardless of the method of transport, most parts for a bike have to be imported, even if its just the tube for a UK made frame, so its academic anyway really.

    My commuter is made almost exclusively of recycled parts, its only about 7% by weight new previously unused parts.

    Simon
  • thel33terthel33ter Posts: 2,684
    It's gotta be a bamboo bike, it absorbs CO2 while it's being grown, and the frames have a 10 year warranty.

    http://www.calfeedesign.com/bamboo.htm

    Even more so with wooden rims.

    http://www.cerchiinlegnoghisallo.com/homeeng.php

    Or this beasty :D

    woodenwheels.jpg
    And now you know, and knowing is half the battle
    05 Spesh Enduro Expert
    05 Trek 1000 Custom build
    Speedily Singular Thingy
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