For sure biking is much more environmental friendly than driving a car – not a big secret 😉
But mountain biking and especially taking your bike on holidays probably isn´t that environmental friendly? Together with the Ekos Group, a social enterprise charity, we had a closer look at the carbon emission we produce with our environmental friendly passion.
Firstly it is very hard to find good and reliable information about this topic when it comes to mountain biking. Especially the production of a mountain bike varies heavily, depending on the material, the parts and the sustainability effort of the manufacturer. Moreover it is not possible to calculate an exact carbon equivalent for everything like spare parts, crop damage riding trails or individual equipment. As offsetting a ton of carbon costs only about 23 € it is fair to over-estimate the emitted carbon slightly for offsetting. We stick to rough values in this article based on multiple resources, studies and correspondence with EKOS from New Zealand.
But now let´s try to give you hand with mountain biking green(er) by carbon offsetting.
According to many bike companies the customers still care mostly about the price. That makes environmental friendly production pretty hard for them. One step towards mountain biking green is to have a closer look at the brand you buy. The following numbers can be taken as a guideline to carbon offset a brand new fully equipped mountain bike:
- Mountain bike with aluminum frame (can be recycled): 350 kg CO2 eq.
- Mountain bike with carbon fibre frame (very hard to recycle): 200 kg CO2 eq.
Also bear in mind the CO2 emissions for shipping when you order online.
The spare parts
Calculating the CO2 equivalent for spare parts almost makes no sense. Unless you burn down your tyres every week 🙂 We think smaller spare parts can be covered by the over-estimation when you offset your mountain bike holidays. Anyways we try to give you an idea for some parts:
- front wheel (Al): 10 kg CO2 eq.
- rear wheel (Al): 20 kg CO2 eq.
- chain: 10 kg CO2 eq.
- tyre: 5 kg CO2 eq.
Mountain bike holidays
Again totally depending on where, how and for how long you are going your emissions have to be calculated. We always try to offset our holidays and the calculations are not too hard. In our bike holiday planner we already included the calculations of CO2 eq. based on your mode of transport. Here is what´s behind the calculations:
- 1 liter of gas for a car: 2.64 kg CO2 eq.
- 1 kilometer/person in a train: 0.041 kg CO2 eq.
- 1 kilometer/person in a bus: 0.032 kg CO2 eq.
- 1 kilometer/person in a plane: 0.211 kg CO2 eq.
- 1 kilometer/person on a ferry: 0.1 kg CO2 eq.
If you take your car and/or bike on the ferry add 0,002 kg CO2 eq. for each kilogram per kilometer on top.
For using the bike you can roughly calculate:
- 1 kilometer/person on a bike: 0.01 kg CO2 eq.
During mountain bike holidays you also consume food, water and electricity. Probably some a bit more (food) than on an average work day and some a little less (electricity). A typical and average split in everyday energy consumption looks like this:
- Cleaning the dishes 7%
- Light 9%
- Cooking 11%
- Washing/Drying 13%
- Fridge 17%
- Electronics 27%
- Else 16%
The easiest way to calculate your consumption with an averge CO2 eq. on a daily basis using 3 kg CO2 eq. per person.
For our last mountain bike holidays in Norway we calculated the following carbon emissions:
- Car – appr. 175 liters of Diesel – 462 kg CO2 eq.
- Ferry – 330 km (3 persons): 99 kg CO2 eq.
- Car, bikes and supplies (~2 tons) on the ferry – 330 km: 1188 kg CO2 eq.
- Food, water, electricity (8 days/3 persons): 72 kg CO2 eq.
- 100 km on mountain bike (3 biker): 3 kg CO2 eq.
Total: ~1750 kg CO2 eq.
In order to be on the safe side we offset 2 t CO2 eq. for less than 50 € with our new partner EKOS! We are aware that carbon offsetting is a modern selling of indulgences. But not doing this is far worse. As mountain bikers we have a natural interest in maintaining nature – we hope you support us and offset at least your mountain biking together with us for mountain biking green. 🙂