Earth Day

Earth Day

Earth is a spectacular thing. It’s where our friends are, where our favorite trails are, and it’s the only place in all of existence to get a decent cup of coffee. Which is why protecting it is so important. There is no doubt that we face a steep set of challenges when it comes to preserving and improving our environment, but there are things we can do – and Earth Day is the perfect time to start.  Some things are big, like volunteering and advocacy. Some things are smaller, like picking up trash, planting a plant, and using reusables. It may come as no surprise, however, that our *personal* favorite method is riding a bike.

Is riding a bike good for the environment?  

Funny you should ask.

Riding your bike is great for the environment, especially when you use it to replace travel by car.  The key factor is that riding a bike does not produce exhaust. The exhaust from (non-electric) cars, trucks, etc., contains greenhouse gasses like CO2 which have a detrimental effect on air quality and contribute to climate change.[1]  While you do release a little CO2 every time you exhale, it’s not nearly as much as the average car.  In fact, even when you take into account all of the emissions involved in manufacturing and use, driving produces 13 times more CO2 than riding a bike.[2]  That difference makes riding your bike a much more environmentally friendly form of transportation.

Now, we know bikes are not a practical choice for every person on every trip.  But even if we can’t ride a bike all the time, we can still make an impact.  According to the EPA, if we all ride a bike (instead of drive) half of all the trips we make that are under one mile in distance, we could save “about 2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. That’s like taking about 400,000 cars off the road each year. ”[3] How cool is that?

Earth Day

If you’re already into cycling and want to do more, consider getting involved in your community.  Encouraging others to ride and promoting cycling infrastructure (bike lanes, etc.) in your area can help mitigate emissions even more.  According to research published online in the Proceedings of the 

National Academy of Sciences, adding cycling infrastructure can lead to an increase in cycling by as much as 48%.[4]  And all that biking can go a long way to help mitigate CO2 emissions.

Like we’ve said, riding your bike is just one of many great things you can do on a personal level to help make a positive impact on the environment.  So, no matter how you choose to mark Earth Day - and we hope you do - remember that taking action is not only important, it can also be a lot of fun.

 

 

[1] Nolte, C.G., P.D. Dolwick, N. Fann, L.W. Horowitz, V. Naik, R.W. Pinder, T.L. Spero, D.A. Winner, and L.H. Ziska, 2018: Air Quality. In Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II [Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock, and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, pp. 512–538. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.CH1  https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/air-quality

[2] Stott, Seb. “How green is cycling? Riding, walking, ebikes and driving ranked.” Bike Radar, 2020. https://www.bikeradar.com/features/long-reads/cycling-environmental-impact/

[3] United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Transportation an Air Quality. What If We Kept Our Cars Parked For Trips Less Than One Mile? June 2015.  https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPdf.cgi?Dockey=P100MLPQ.pdf

[4] S. Kraus, N. Koch, Provisional COVID-19 infrastructure induces large, rapid increases in cycling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Apr 2021, 118 (15).  https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e2024399118