Margaret Southern, Cool Green Science’s green blogger, is posting about getting ready for spring biking season.
Once you pull your bike out from months of storage (like perhaps you did for Bike to Work Week), it’s important to make sure it’s in good shape. A quick tune-up and cleaning should be enough to send most people on their way.
However, if you find that it’s time to get or upgrade some accessories, think about some of the eco-friendly options that will make your green ride even greener.
Panniers make my life so much easier. They’re great for toting groceries, your purse, your lunch and your jacket on those days when it’s 40 degrees in the morning and 70 degrees in the afternoon.
I actually have no idea what my panniers are made of, but I’m sure they aren’t as environmentally friendly as these made out of recycled juice boxes. The bags are made by a program called Money For Garbage, which gives jobs, health care and loans to women in the Philippines.
Bike lights eat batteries. If you forget to turn off your light after riding a couple of times, you’ll certainly have to throw in some new batteries. And once the bulbs go out, you pretty much need to throw the whole thing out.
So, why not invest in some solar-powered bike lights? This Owleye Solar Headlight gives you five full hours of power for just three hours of sun charging. And it’s easily detachable, so you can put the light on the window sill to charge.
Repair kit bag
In the market for a little under-the-seat bag to carry your repair kit? Consider picking up this one, which is made partially from a recycled inner tube. Isn’t it nice to know that something useful could come out of a frustrating flat tire incident?
As I’ve mentioned before, most bike rides don’t require special clothing. If you like to put on a full kit to go for a 5-mile ride, I won’t judge you (probably), but first-time riders take note: It’s not required.
So if you’re thinking about some eco-friendly clothing options, don’t think that you are stuck with Spandex. Consider breathable organic cotton or bamboo shirts, or choose products from a company that employs sustainable sourcing methods. But better yet: Look in your bottom drawer. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too proud to wear that old free T-shirt with corporate logos all over it when I’m exercising. It was free!
If you are in the market for a new bike, consider the ultimate in sustainable materials: a bike made of bamboo. Bamboo is emerging as a sustainable building material due to its fast growth rate (it’s in the grass family), which means it is a renewable resource and sequesters large amounts of carbon dioxide as it grows.
And according to bike maker Craig Calfee, bamboo is an ideal material for bicycles. Calfee says that it’s stronger and lighter than most metals, and absorbs road vibration much better. (And it looks pretty darn cool, too!)
But don’t forget that even when you’re buying eco-friendly products, you’re still buying stuff. It’s almost always better to try and repair what you already have or buy a gently used product than to buy something brand new. Check sites like Craigslist.org or Ebay for specific items, or take some time to check out local yard sales, flea markets or thrift shops. And happy shopping!
— Text by Margaret Southern, Cool Green Science Blog
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