mountain bike riding over a footprint tire

Do Mountain Bikers Leave Carbon Footprints?

The short and most obvious answer to this question is: YES! We all leave a carbon footprint just by living on this earth. As stewards of the trails, we owe it to ourselves and the mountain biking community to get in on this conversation. Were not pointing fingers here. We all need to start making some changes because most of the bike industry is late to the discussion.

Climate Changes:

The Global Climate Crisis is indisputable and can be quite overwhelming and scary to think about. Earlier and longer-lasting fire seasons have prompted forest closures. Intensifying drought, extreme flooding and changing weather patterns increasingly affect mountain bikers’ experiences on the trails they love.

But, what can one mountain biker do? Surprisingly, more than you think. You’ve made the first step by taking the time to read this!

As a mountain biker –  kudos to you for choosing a pretty green sport, for the most part! You could have chosen to race NASCAR or participate in smash-up derbies. You could say that cycling in general is a pretty green, human-powered activity. But cyclists do not have total immunity when it comes to taking action on climate change.

Chad on the Wasatch Crest UT, climate change

Recent Advances in Mountain Bike Sustainability

Europe is light years ahead of the US with regard to climate action and sustainability. Particularly, the Netherlands is known for their bicycling-centric lifestyle and recently a non-profit called Shift Cycling Culture was founded by a Dutch cyclist and photographer, Lian van Leeuwen. In 2021 Shift Cycling Culture organized its own online COP26 event. It invited bike companies to discuss the Shift Climate Commitment for the Cycling Industry. The challenge was to become a net-zero industry.

Many companies signed the agreement and got to work measuring their carbon footprint and establishing goals and crafting a roadmap to decrease their overall impact on climate change. It’s exciting to see this work being done by many of the big players.

Many companies in the Mountain Bike Industry are making great strides as well. Things are happening! Ibis Bicycles is building the solar-powered EXIE in California, Kitsbow is making quality, long-lasting and made-to-order clothing with recycled fabric here in North Carolina. The recent supply chain issues brought on by the Pandemic have shed light on our wasteful shipping habits and reliance on overseas distributors. More and more companies are shipping with compostable, recycled packaging and letting their consumers know that it MATTERS, and not just to them.

It should matter to you as well.

What We Can All do NOW

  1. Be aware of how your choices as a mountain biker affect climate change.
  2. Educate yourself in Sustainable practices
  3. Be a Conscious Consumer and think about what your impact is going to be.
  4. Make a commitment to be a more sustainable mountain biker, supporting companies that are also committed.
  5. Measure and start reducing your own impacts.

Take the First Step

Join Crankjoy and measure your own carbon footprint. We will be measuring, setting goals and letting you know what we are doing very soon. Check out some of the things that we already do here.

There are many calculators to use, but be sure you use the same one each time in order to see how your efforts are making a difference. Most of these calculators are just best-guess estimates, but it is a good place to start.

Carbon Footprint Calculators:

  1. The United Nations Calculator for individuals and organizations.
  2. The Nature Conservancy Calculator
  3. The World Wildlife Fund Footprint Calculator
  4. The Carbon Footprint Calculator
  5. And of course, there is an “app for that.” Use the Carbon Footprint and CO2 Tracker 

Sign up for great info on Sustainability that Mountain Bikers care about. Learn about events, companies and people in the mountain biking world making a difference and how you can too.

We love where we ride - Let's act accordingly.

We wholeheartedly agree!


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Keith

    I put a 6” lift and bigger tires on my 20 year old Tahoe, does that help🤣🤣🤣

  2. Bill

    This is interesting especially since most bikes are made out of carbon which is not recyclable to my knowledge. There is one company that claims their carbon wheels can be recycled, but overall, it seems that the bike industry needs to think about this if they are to lower their carbon footprint and use carbon at the same time.

    1. Chad Davis

      Agree Bill. Not enough companies that are thinking about this. We Are One Composites, Ibis (Exie), and Guerrilla Gravity all are making good steps to reducing their footprints in some pretty big ways in addition to manufacturing here in North America.


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