We applaud those who choose to walk or ride bikes over driving emissions-emitting cars, but no one can argue that riding sustainable bikes is even better. Recently the Washington Post reported more and more sports equipment companies are experimenting with sustainable material—from bamboo to organic cotton to hemp fiberglass—often making balls, boards, and bikes more durable than leading brands.
In 1996, bike designer Craig Calfee (Calfee Design) introduced a line of bamboo-made bikes, and told the Post that bamboo is “tougher than carbon fiber in terms of impact resistance.” Bamboo absorbs road vibrations well, which, the Post reported, allows cyclists to ride longer without getting tired. (Calfee also recently launched the Bamboo Bike Project, a project that aims to build better bikes for poor Africans living in rural areas.)
Other eco-responsible sporting goods companies are surfacing as well. Darryl Hatheway, co-founder of the Washington chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, has eight Surftech boards that “stand up to bangs and scrapes,” unlike normal polyester resin boards. Although the Surftech boards cost 10-20 percent more than polyester resin boards, Hatheway says these eco-friendly boards last “ten times longer.”
Fair Trade Sports makes balls with rubber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit looking for ways to improve forest management. Venture Snowboards makes its boards with sustainably harvested wood, and organic cotton hemp.
Multiple skateboard manufacturers have switched to incorporating bamboo and hemp fiberglass into their boards. Loaded Boards founder Don Tashman told the Post, “You can run over a [bamboo] board with a car and it probably won’t break.” The Action Sports Environmental Coalition made an impact at the recent X Games by suggesting that skate ramps be built with FSC-approved lumber.
So whether you’re headed to Hawaii this winter for some fun in the sun, or you’d rather ride fresh powder on some Swiss slopes, be sure to check out gear that will keep you green all year long.
- Nat Geo Expeditions