WHATEVER was agreed and will eventually be delivered by World Governments as a result of Cop-26 there are lots of ways we can and should take personal responsibility for reducing our own carbon footprints.

A simple way of doing this that delivers lots of health benefits too is to use a bike instead of your car for more of your journeys. But how green is cycling?

The European Cyclists’ Federation in a detailed report funded by the European Commission suggests the carbon footprints of typical modes of transport are:

  • Car 271g per passenger kilometre
  • Electric car 90g per passenger kilometre
  • Bus 101g per passenger kilometre
  • Walking 56g per kilometre
  • Conventional Bike 21g per kilometre
  • Electric Bike 14.8g per kilometre

A conventional bicycle therefore has a carbon footprint that is less than a tenth of driving a car powered by fossil fuel.

It’s still over four times more efficient than an electric car and more than twice as efficient as walking.

A surprising fact that emerges from this and other studies is than an e-bike has an even lower carbon footprint.

For a conventional bike three-quarters (16g) of the carbon footprint is down to the extra food we eat as ‘fuel’ to power it.

The remaining 5g representing the carbon footprint per kilometre of manufacturing and maintaining the bike.

  • Conventional Bike Electric Bike
  • Manufacture 5g 7g
  • Fuel (Food) 16g 14.8g
  • Electricity 0g 1.5g
  • TOTAL 21g 14.8g

With an e-bike the carbon footprint of manufacturing the bike is higher as a battery also has to be manufactured.

There’s also the carbon footprint associated with the electricity needed to charge the battery.

The real saving is down to the cyclist needing less ‘fuel’ to power the bike.

Personally I suspect even this is a bit of an overestimate as most won’t replace every calorie used by eating more; they’ll just lose weight instead!

I’m sure if you’re careful about the carbon footprint of what you eat and reduce the food you waste the figure will be further decreased. Now where’s that vegetarian cookbook and e-bike review?

For a more detailed analysis of the ECF’s ‘Cycling More Often 2 Cool Down The Planet’ report and the impact increasing cycling levels can have in the UK have a look at www.bikeradar.com ‘How Green is Cycling?’.