The bike is Eco-Friendly, can bike-packing equipment and cycle paths become so too?
Modern bike paths are evolving more and more, to receive tourists from all over the world. Interest in bike touring grows up every year, reaching really high numbers in the last few seasons. Motivated from the peace that only a slow travel experience can give, Europeans and non-Europeans cyclists approached this type of travel, buying all the kind of stuff they need and pedalling over the most famous cycle-path. The attention to the environment is primary because riding a bike is emission-free. To pedal you need, besides the bike, bags to put into all the things that, in other kinds of holidays, you would put into a suitcase and, obviously, paved bike paths. To bring the experience in an “ all Eco-Friendly” thing, we ask ourself a couple of questions.
Can we have asphalts that don't have a negative impact on the environment?
Can we have bags made with eco-sustainable materials?
In recent years many cycling-tourist have approached the “slow travel” by bicycle, especially in Europe. This growth has led companies and countries to adapt to state-of-the-art cycle facilities and equipment in order to please the demand and attract new tourists. The total of bike-path kilometres is 75000 in Europe of which 18000 in Italy, a number that is continuously growing, and of course will increase more and more in the near future. If cycling is Eco-Friendly, given the only use of the bike, can the asphalt that makes up the cycle routes become Eco-Friendly too? Traditional bituminous conglomerate flooring has some environmental flaws. Traditional dark binders give a strong and characteristic black colour, exchangeable only through the use of specifical paints; more-over, the dark complexion creates problems at a visual level, as it greatly penalizes the environmental contour. In addition to this, adhesion and maintenance also benefit, since as it's not a colour it doesn’t become slippery when wet, and doesn’t require maintenance because it doesn’t fade.
Another point to work in to be as complete as possible in terms of environmental protection is certainly the bags needed to carry on what you need when you travel as a bike-packer. Most of them, during its production cycle, follow a standard procedure. That isn’t, for sure, the main cause of global warming, but if every little thing helps why not to choose to improve. Among the many manufacturers of bike-packing bags, Vaude, a company from Southern Germany, caught our attention thanks to its interesting project regarding Eco-Friendly products, without neglecting waterproofing and quality, but still maintaining an adequate price. All items belonging to the Green Shape line, that it’s recognizable thanks to their logo, are created using only sustainable materials, confirmed also by a series of certifications. Thanks to that they cancel the materials manipulated through nanotechnologies, fluorocarbons, sodium hypochlorites (bleaches) and PVC. Particular attention is also placed in the zips, buttons and prints. All of that has a long life and drying guarantee. The packing process is carried out without the use of plastic, but itìs made only with recycled cardboard. A very important detail is certainly the possibility of being able to recycle them once they are used up.
Being able to make cycling more Eco-Friendly is therefore possible for us to use precautions, as seen, on the bags or on the packaging and the prints on the shirts we buy, in our case using water prints and packaging (with restricted use of plastic) can lead to an even more powerful improvement. As for bodies and institutions in charge of designing and finalizing the construction of cycle paths, keeping an eye on the colour and pavement updates, which don’t require increases in economic terms (both in terms of positioning and maintenance) can certainly give a significant contribution to the cycle-route. However, the foresight to throw waste in the places used and not outside them is essential, as far as the frame aspect is concerned, we still have big steps forward in carbon production.