You’ve been meaning to start that compost heap, you sort your papers and plastics: you care about the earth, don’t you?
To celebrate World Earth Day, we think it’s time to take to two wheels – biking is a fun, easy way to care for the environment while still being able to get to work on time.
In Europe, cycling is a perfectly integrated way of life – cycle lanes, bike parking and positive culture are part and parcel of being a bike user. In Australia, we’re still grappling with it – it’s not uncommon for us to develop very anti-lycra and more broadly, very anti-cyclist, behaviour. (‘Why do they have to take over cafes in Saturday droves?’ is a popular sentiment.) But the benefits for health, the environment and general city congestion are too impressive to ignore.
There are plenty of countries riding dinky on the cycling craze. Norway – which isn’t as bike-mad as neighbour Sweden – for example, announced its investment of 8 million kroner (1.23 billion Australian dollars) in building a super cycle highway for their already eco-friendly residents earlier this year.
Also under construction is The Oslo Solar Building, in the capital which will be built with a bike ramp leading directly into the building, as well as parking spaces for 500 bicycles. While there will be 10 charging stations for electric cars, there will be no space dedicated to conventional cars. At all.
We don’t all live in Norway but there a few notable advancements that make living the cycling life a little more achievable and infinitely more appealing.
Take Dyson Bikes’ electric bicycle for instance – if you’ve ever been tempted by cycling but completely turned off by sweating up a hill in your work clothes, there’s no risk of that with an electric bike. The battery powered electric motor is designed not to take over the full exertion and fun of cycling – it’s designed to assist with dreaded hills and acceleration.
There’s also the new Vanmoof bike which is for the electronically savvy user. The bike’s speed, for example, is adjusted through the Vanmoof app, which pairs with the touchscreen display on the bike’s frame. And the app also helps with navigation and keeping an eye on the location of the bike – essentially anti-theft.
It doesn’t lock via a bike lock either – you press your thumb into the padlock on your smartphone screen, and the bike locks and unlocks unique to your fingerprint, reducing theft and also eliminating the need for endlessly twisted and awkward bike locks.
Now you’ve got no excuse not to pedal to work.