Bicycles could be considered the most efficient form of transport. They are cheap to purchase and run, use no fossil fuels, don’t create air pollution, and provide a mode of transport that increases our health and wellbeing. Consider this, if your workplace was 10km away and you cycled each way to work, once a week, instead of driving, it would save about $926 and 304kg of greenhouse gases each year
While bicycle production generates carbon emissions (See How Green Are Bicycles), there are companies out there making bikes in more environmentally friendly ways, and producing them to be sustainable and fashionable designs.
Connor Wood bicycles
Made in Denver Colorado, Connor Wood Cycles sport frames made from sustainable hardwood sources (American White Ash and Black Walnut). The frames are steam bent, hand-sculpted and reinforced with Kevlar and a protective marine spar varnish. This creates a strong, durable and beautiful frame. While the current trend is for carbon fiber frames, mainly due to its lightweight properties, the wood frame is supple but strong and absorbs more shock, creating a smoother ride.
Click here to watch Chris Connor creating his functional work of art.
The bikes retail for $3,500 to $4,500, are available in two models, the Scorcher and Cruiser and feature leather seats, 29r wheels with fat tires. Each bike is made to order, so you can specify your frame size and any additional specs you desire.
Following similar environmental ideals of sourcing sustainable and local materials, suitably designed bikes can make a difference to the developing world. Craig Calfee of Calfee Designs first created his own line of bikes made from bamboo and then assisted entrepreneurs in Africa to use locally sourced bamboo to build their own frames. The Bamboosero initiative provides people in developing countries economic independence, as they now have the skills to manufacture several types of bamboo bike frames. These frames are shipped to Calfee’s bike shop, the additional the hardware and wheels are added and the bikes are then sold.
Bamboo is stronger than steel, very light and similarly to the wood bicycle frames, is more comfortable to ride than carbon fiber frame. Additionally, bamboo is a sustainable, natural product. It contributes oxygen to the planet atmosphere while growing—generating more than an equal size stand of trees. The use of bamboo in bikes uses far less energy than the manufacturing of titanium, steel or aluminum typically used in bike construction. Carbon fiber is especially energy-intense (requiring super-hot furnaces) and bamboo far outclasses it in low-energy use.
Travelling by bicycle is always a smart environmental decision, investing in a bike with some of these creative and innovative designs makes for a solid eco investment with unique style.