Eco Friendly Bikes: Not just a fad but a statement!
“Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like…”
“Bicycle Race” by The Queen
Bike riding is already eco-friendly and healthy because it help reduces carbon monoxide emission and fuel consumption plus it’s good for you as it’s a very healthy, and lots of fun, form of exercise.
But for green scientists this is not enough! Researchers in Bangkok, Thailand, have created an environment-friendly bicycle, dubbed the Air Purifier Bike, which as the name suggests will cleanse the polluted air as you ride it.
The “photosynthesis bike” is the brainchild of Bangkok’s Lightfog Creative & Design Company and currently is limited to being a concept and does not even have a prototype. The air purifying bicycle is an electric one and will sport an aluminum frame and run on a “photosynthesis system,” which will generate oxygen. The oxygen will be generated courtesy of a reaction between water and the electric power that will come via a lithium-ion battery.
Silawat Virakul, Torsakul Kosaikul, and Suvaroj Poosrivongvanid are the designers of the Air Purifier Bike. It comprises the photosynthesis system, an air filter which screens dust and pollutants from the air, an electric motor, as well as a battery.
According to the creative director Silawat Virakul, “We want to design products which can reduce the air pollution in the city. So we decided to design a bike because we thought that bicycles are environmentally friendly vehicles for transportation, riding a bicycle can reduce traffic jams in a city. Moreover, we wanted to add more value to a bicycle by adding its ability to reduce the pollution.”
The bicycle, even though a concept, has been creating waves and even won an award in the 2014 Red Dot competition for design concept.
Red Dot has high praises for the complete concept, “While it is being ridden, air passes through the filter at the front of the bike, where it is cleaned before being released toward cyclist. The bike frame houses the photosynthesis system. When the bike is parked, the air-purifying functions can continue under battery power.”
So the Air Purifier Bike not only purifies the air when it is being ridden but also when it is parked, which is a bonus. While no prototype exists as of now, the concept is a fantastic one and would surely have several takers. The electric bicycle would be eco-friendly in more ways than one, and help combat air pollution problems that are increasing day by day.
According to Lucintel, a consulting and market research firm, government initiatives to promote cycling which will aid in reducing carbon emissions and pollution is fast gathering momentum. The bicycle is not only an effective fitness activity, but since it is energy efficient it will give a helping hand to the demand of Air Purifier Bikes if it bears fruition. Cities will generate less pollution with less cars and more bikes, but that effect will be multiplied by the filtration of the bikes special system.
Urban dwellers are fast switching to bicycles for short-distance commuting thanks to the benefits of the transportation and if such a bicycle is developed, it would appear to have several takers if our office is anything to go by! We all want one!
But as we await the arrival of this wonder bike, there are still many eco-friendly bikes that we can choose and use:
- The Used Bicycle
If buying a new bike is something that you cannot afford consider buying a used bike. This is also good for the environment. It just requires spending some time on asking your neighborhood, searching for surplus or goodwill stores, police auctions or your local Craigslist (or other buy and sell site) to find the right one.
- The Bamboo Bicycle
Bamboo bikes are eco-cycling nirvana for those who want to go fast. It’s naturally strong, light, and stiff, which makes it great for speeding up steep streets and mountains. Plus, bamboo grows rapidly — as much as a foot a day — making it highly sustainable.
Why build a bike out of bamboo?
Sustainability, green grass, carbon dioxide sink. carbon negative building material (vs. steel with its high embodied energy).
Since bamboo has evolved over the years to grow tall and strong, yet flexible enough to sway in the wind and not snap, it has inherent qualities that are perfect for cycling. These properties translate into a bike frame that is stiff enough to really crank on yet naturally vibration dampening making for a smooth ride.
Is a Bamboo bike frame strong enough?
The select species of bamboo that is being used are at least as strong as steel in tensile strength and have higher strength-to-weight ratios.
Bamboo bike frames have been tested for durability, crash worthiness and stiffness. They are certified to the toughest standards.
The all-terrain frames are certified to the EN 14766:2005 and EN 14781:2005 clause 4.8 EN 14781 is the toughest standard for road bicycles, and comprises a total of four test clauses for bicycle frames: two impact tests and two fatigue tests involving 100,000 test cycles.
Is the whole bike made out of bamboo?
Most of the frame is made out of bamboo. The lugs (or joints) of the Bamboo bike are made of abaca fiber and resin. The component interfaces, or connection points, are made out of aircraft-grade aluminum.
- The Dutch – Style Bicycle
According to experts, they lead the green parade. First introduced in 1950’s, these bikes are manufactured with chain guards and fenders designed so that your clothes don’t touch any greasy, dirty parts. They’re also known for their durability (so they last for years).
A basket constructed from wicker or any sustainable wood is a beautiful and functional eco-accessory.
Develop your signature style! Check out trendy stickers like: ‘burn fat, not oil’ or get whimsical and stick butterflies or polka dots onto your bicycle basket. In the spring, use pipe cleaners to twine daisies into your basket. Second hand bicycles like these are usually really easy to fins – and it keeps them out of landfill.
A high quality Dutch style bike has a touch of ruggedness in it without sacrificing its durability.
- The Folding Bicycle
Folding bikes are popular with people who want to mix cycling with public transportation — whether it’s a morning commuter train or a city bus. The best of these bikes, like the Brompton shown above, are light, sturdy, and well-constructed. And if you’re commuting regularly, the cost is a fraction of what you would pay for driving and parking.
There are even variants of new designs like shown in the picture that allows you to carry your bag like a bag! The bike has a circular axis right in the center. As soon as you unlock it and rotate the axis, the bike takes a shape, which is very convenient. The wheels and the seat, have an optimum angle and the bike becomes a tripod. Just as the image above shows, one can carry it quite conveniently. It can also be used as a trolley.
Is it eco cool or very eco cool?!
- The Electric Bike
If you have health issues on riding a regular bicycle, consider the possibility of getting one with a battery-powered motor that shares some of the hard work. You still have to pedal, but the “cheatercycle” takes a lot of the effort out of zipping up hills and plowing into a stiff headwind.
E-bikes are zero-emissions vehicles, as they emit no combustion by-products. However, the environmental effects of electricity generation and power distribution and of manufacturing and disposing of (limited life) high storage density batteries must be taken into account. Even with these issues considered, e-bikes are claimed to have a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional automobiles, and are generally seen as environmentally desirable in an urban environment.
The environmental effects involved in recharging the batteries can of course be minimised. The small size of the battery pack on an e-bike, relative to the larger pack used in an electric car, makes them very good candidates for charging via solar power or other renewable energy resources. Sanyo capitalized on this benefit when it set up “solar parking lots,” in which e-bike riders can charge their vehicles while parked under photovoltaic panels.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
A recent study on the environment impact of e-bikes vs other forms of transportation found that e-bikes are about:
- 18 times more energy efficient than an SUV
- 13 times more energy efficient than a sedan
- 6 times more energy efficient than rail transit
- of about equal impact to the environment as a conventional bicycle.
And 1,000 times more likely to keep you fit! So let’s get on the same page as queen and get riding a bike.