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Tech Feature: Shades of Green

The image of the cyclist—the mountain biker in particular—is often co-opted to help market everything from granola bars to prescription drugs. But is mountain biking a green sport? Think about it—we load our bikes onto automobile-aerodynamics-killing racks, drive to a trail, get on our bikes, ride in circles, then load the bike back up and drive home. That’s green?

It is and it isn’t. While cycling is certainly more friendly than, say, snowmobile drag racing, bicycles have a decidedly pronounced carbon footprint. The U.S. is the largest consumer of bicycles in the world, burning through sales of some 20 million bicycles a year. That’s 20 million bicycle chains, 40 million tires, and a hell of a lot of steel and aluminum—all packed into an untold number of shipping containers and motored across the ocean from Asia.

This story, while it only scratches the surface, takes a look at the environmental toll of manufacturing mountain bikes.

Photos by Morgan Meredith and Sterling Lorence.

For the full story download the PDF.


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