Ecologically friendly is activities that are good for the environment, and cycling is a transportation of the use of the cycling which power by human with 0 pollution. Go green, recycling, eco-friendly, “reuse”, etc, these words are everywhere and what we see every day. To be an environmental person, how can we change the world by one man power? The public think that it is not changing a thing if only one person is being eco-friendly; however, every little helps the “sick earth”. Especially I am studying in the Bicycle town – Nottingham, because it is the home of Raleigh, the largest cycle manufacturer in the UK. Make me interesting and reflective thinking in cycling to the environment which is connected. Helping the environment by cycling is a great way, either healthy or saving cost. In this essay, I will talk about the benefits and disadvantages of cycling, public using it as a transport in many different ways. Also, the influences of cycling to environment, relationship between bicycle designs and environment will be discussed at below. In first paragraph, I will explain what a bicycle is, following with basic information of bikes. Then, the reasons of people choosing bicycle as a transport method will be discussed next paragraph. Also, many benefits will be suggested and supporting the advantages of cycling by survey and experts. However, there are some accidents and death rate can be found easily which makes cycling dangerous. Thirdly, public using bicycle as transport to work and school, supporting by organization “Sustran”. On the other hand, education sectors do not really recommend children cycling to schools. Follow by the traveling by bicycle, there is a trend that cycling is getting popular and use for travelling between cities even countries. At last, I will talk about cycling is improving the environment gradually. In additionally, bicycle designs are helping the cities day by day. At the same time, government designs bicycle renting in London to help the public improving the air and quality in the capital. Finally, I will give a brief conclusion to end up this dissertation.
Bicycle – cycling and design
What is Bicycle?
A two wheels vehicle connected to a frame, controlled by a rider via the handlebar, powered by human. The definition of bicycle from Oxford Dictionary (2012) explained that a vehicle consisting with two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the front wheel. As so many different type of bicycle in this century, a more relevant explanation of bicycle would be a vehicle consisting with at least two wheels held in a frame, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the frame. As same as design, there was always starting with a basic, development, and outcome as final design. In the 18th century, the first bicycle was born in the Europe; this vehicle required balancing by the rider as a transport to go around. This invent became very popular and produced in huge amount quickly. According to the international bicycle organization (2013), the whole world bicycle production had reach 100millions in 1950-2000. Now in 2013, bicycles produced more than 10 million and kept increasing. The range of bicycle usage was children’s toys, racing, general fitness, military, travelling, courier service and etc. As transportation, bicycle had been employed for bicycle commuting and utility cycling. For working, bicycle could deliver food or mail, police patrol. For recreating the bicycle, it could be mountain biking, BMX, physical fitness and for fun. Also for racing, such as track, time trial, tour de France, etc. Thus, different types of bicycle had been creating for different needs. Common types were mountain bikes, BMX, road bike and single speed, on the other hand fixed gear bike and folding bike were less common. Different designs fit different customers, some liked simple designs, and some liked functional designs. Bicycle was a human-powered transport which meant it need to power by the rider him/herself. Cycling was a very efficient and effective mode of transportation, and it was the most efficient human-powered land vehicle at the same time. Cyclist need to hold the handlebar and keep pedaling to keep the bike going forward, otherwise it will fall or crash when lost control. When designers designing, they always faced failure same as cycling, also there was always a reason for designing and cycling.
“Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
By – Albert Einstein
Many people ride a bike for many different reasons. For the body, cycling could be done by people of all ages, from childhood to adult, when achy joints did not allow for more stressful exercise like jogging. For State of mind, cycling helped people to releaser stress. Regardless of if riding purely for pleasure or for a specific purpose, feeling relaxed and energized when you arrived the destination. For community, being out on the bike was good for the people around you as well. Cyclist was able to go to the place that they wanted to go and yet put one less car on the road. Cycling was a great eco-friendly way for fun, fitness and also to enjoy the fresh air. Matthew (2012) said that whether it was to boost the fitness, health or band balancing, or as an environmental choice, taking up cycling could be one of the best decisions. Thus, cycling gave people many benefits and experiences in many ways. Illinois University’s researchers found that 5 out of 100 people improved in cardio-respiratory fitness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15% in mental tests. Because of cycling helped build new brain cells in the hippocampus- the region responsible for memory which deteriorates from the age of 30. According to University of Bristol, cycling helped boost the bowels, meaning the benefits of cycling extend deep into your heart. Dr Ana Raimundo said that helped decreasing the time which took food to move through the large intestine by physical activity, controlling the amount of water absorbed back into the body and leaving only the softer stools, which were easier to pass. On the other hand, Experts at University of Stanford found that riding bicycle frequently could protect human’s skin instead of harming from UV radiation and reducing the signs of ageing. “When flushing harmful toxins out, nutrients to skin cells and circulation through exercise deliver oxygen increasing circulation more efficiently. Also creating an ideal environment within the body to optimize collagen production by exercise, it letting the skin created less wrinkles and heal faster. A test testing insomnia suffers to cycle for 30 or less minutes every day, insomniacs sleeping time increased almost an hour and fall as sleep time required go down to half. Professor Jim Horne from Loughborugh University’s sleep research centre explained that the sunshine shine on the skin when doing exercise at outdoor, helped get the circadian rhythm back in sync, also riding the body of cortisol, the stress hormone that could prevent deep, regenerative sleep. Beating the illness by cycling, riding was the way to keep the doctor away. Chief dietician at St George’s hospital in London said medium level exercise made immune cells more active, and made them always ready to fight with bacteria. Researches also showed that people got less sickness if people cycle for 30 minutes five days a week. Group of scientists compared over 2400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45minutes rides per week were 9 years “biologically younger” even after discounting other influences, such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking. Dr Lynn Cherkas claimed that lower risk of cardiovascular disease been found on those people who exercise regularly, all types of cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. And the body became very efficient at defending itself and regenerating new cells. Cutting 50% risk of heart disease by cycling regularly. According to British Heart foundation (2013), around 10.000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves fitter. About keeping fit, sports specialist found that body’s metabolic rate – the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat, was not only raised during cycling, however for few hours after stop. One study showed that cyclists who incorporated fast intervals into their ride burned three and a half times more body fat than those who cycled constantly but at a slower pace.
Apart from health, cycling helped people go to their destination faster in UK’s major city. Research by Citroen showed that workers get to location in half the time of cars and commuting by bike in the UK’s major cities. In fact, if driving for an hour in rush hour, drivers cannot go anywhere further in 30 minutes and average just 7mph, compared to averaging around 12-15mph while cycling. A study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress. The study also reported that workers who exercised felt their interpersonal performance was better; they took less brake and found it easier to finish work on time. Unfortunately, study found nothing was linking between getting a promotion and cycling. Riding to work could save the money of transport, without the weather condition, cycling to work at less save you ?30 a month. Enjoying the fresh air before go to work, refreshed the mind and worked more efficiency. In the weekend, the whole family could go cycling together. Studies suggested that children were influenced by their parents exercise choices. Which meant if your kids saw you riding bicycle a lot, they thought it was normal and would want to follow. Replaced any other harmful dependency such as alcohol, computer and cigarettes, you were developing a positive addiction by riding bicycle. Result of positive addiction to cycling was became a happier and healthier person in life. Riding could be doing as much good as the actual exercise on the social side. Socialising released the hormone oxytocin helped you made friends and stay healthy. Naturally feeling good endorphin released when exercising and counters stress which made happiness. If you happy but tired? The best thing you could do was go for a ride. Even a few minutes of physical activity was a surprisingly effective refreshing mind. A review of 12 studies on the link between exercise and fatigue carried out between 1945 and 2005 found that exercise directly cut down weariness levels. Nothing was better than cycling with partner. Many couples made one or two riding “dates” every week, helping release feel-good hormones, so after a ride, the couples would have a warm feeling towards each other. Appreciating the time you spent together and chat though cycling.
However, there might be some disadvantages while many benefits had been found.
With hundred of issues could be found to affect the cyclist while cycling. Riding on the roads next to aggressive drivers could be very dangerous. Wind, raining, heat, cold and hills etc, all these conditions affected the people who was riding and cause serious problem. According to the Fonant (2012), statistically cycling was generally considered to be more dangerous than travelling by car, much safer than riding a motorbike, and roughly as safe as walking. The actually values depended on whether counting accidents per mile, journey or hour, so the figures were quite variable. In practically, cycling felt a lot more dangerous it truly was. Also, choices of bike could make a huge different; a stable city bike felt more comfortable in traffic than a risky BMX bike. Bicycles were much more flexible than cars, so sometimes find quiet routes that avoid the busiest roads. Large cities and towns always published route maps which might helped. However, these “cycle route” were built by non-cyclist and so could be relatively useless and stupid, even sometimes they were more dangerous than the roads they ran along. Fonant (2012) claimed that the danger to cyclists on the roads decreased very much if there were more people cycling. Vehicles became more used to passing cyclists, and they were less surprised to see them. In additionally, the more car drivers thee were that also cycle, the more the motoring public would understand cyclists needs and fears. This phenomenon was known as the “Critical Mass”, also the name of demonstration bike riders that take place in towns all over the world. In the UK, drivers were very bad at passing cyclists, specially the elder people. For some reason they think cyclist were happy to have just a few inches of space. Drivers forgot that cyclist were balancing, and often needed to swerve to avoid potholes. Fortunately, being hit from behinds was a rare occurrence for a cyclist, so while there was a strong perception that there was danger in reality this was not the case. Not a good experience with hitting by a passing car, the feeling would ever forget. The worst possibility to do was ride close to the kerb. Not only the cars would pass by faster and closer, but if the front wheel hits the kerb you fall off. More obvious to ride where the cars’ left hand side wheels have made the road better, and you would get a lot fewer punctures. As I mentioned, car drivers seemed not to like cyclists. Reasons were because driving was already a stressful and competitive activity, and cycling next to them got even worse. In practice a cyclist almost never would make the journey time longer of a car driver. A cyclist would be overtaken, only to overtaking back at the next traffic lights or queue. Car drivers also afraid that they might hit and injure a cyclist while driving on the road. Even divers were not worrying physically but in sub-conscious, something that modern cars did all that they could to remove, by insulating the car occupants from real world as much as possible. Except the car driver, weather was another problem for cyclists. Most of the non-cyclists thought that raining was the worst weather problem for cyclists, but since starting to ride a bike you would found out how much effort was needed to cycle into a strong wind. Comparing with climbing a hill, cycling was worse as the wind would often be against you for the whole journey, and sometimes it even turned so it was against you on the way back as well. To solve this problem, many regular long distance cyclists used traditional dropped handlebars. Drop bar allowed crouching down comfortably to reduce the frontal area. Wearing a windbreaker with an ultimate wind-resistance bicycle such as recumbent bike could help to go smoother. Some said raining just as much of a pain as wind, but less common thankfully. Although raining was not a big deal for the rider, the bicycle getting wet was not a good thing. The bicycle got wet without drying in a long term, causing rust and damage could be dangerous for the cycling activity. Riding with all wet outfit certainly was not a good idea, especially in winter when you wearing lots of layers and getting cold plus wet was horrible. In cold weather, wearing too many cloths for cycling would be clumsy which affected the reaction of the cyclist. Suggesting to wear windproof clothing than it would be warm enough even in freezing weather. To cancel the problem of sweat-induced moisture it was best to dress so that would be chilly at the beginning with, and soon warm up. At the same time, hands and feet were needed more attention as they getting to be the coldest part of the body. Try extra socks and windproof gloves, they helped more than ever. Furthermore, took great care in hot weather to keep drinking. Keep sweating without drinking water might lead to heat stroke, so just brought a bottle of water with you and drank it frequently. Apart from weather, the bicycle was one of the condition that cyclist needed to care about. Parking, maintenance, cost etc. When cyclist wanted to park the bike, made sure it was secure to beware of bike thief as bicycle parts were easy to uninstall. As the commodity price were increasing in all over the world, the cost of bicycle parts and maintenance were getting more expensive. Ensure the bike was in good condition before riding, otherwise any part loosed might cause accident. To reducing the cost of maintenance, bike owner might buy their own tools to fix the bike. Spending once on the tools was enough, instead of costing money on maintenance every time in shops.
Transportation – to work
Bicycle commuting was the way that people go to work by cycling from home to the place they work. CTC (Cyclist touring Club)(2013) claimed that commuting by bicycle in the UK was becoming more and more popular. Cycling was one of the simplest ways to keep fit while saving money at the same time. Author of “Cycling to work: a beginner’s guide” Rory McMullan said that once you ride a bike few times, you would be surprised how easy and quick it was. Mandi (2012) suggested that though U.S. had seen 40 percent growth in bicycle commuters since 2000, their numbers had yet to surpass 1 million. Improving individual’s health, wealth and standard of living were not the only reason biking to work; however the combination of more cyclists and less cars on the road could give the whole country a much-needed boost (Mandi, 2012). Many reasons and benefits could be found by cycling to work and school. Due to rising fuel costs and tire upkeep, the cost of owning a car increased nearly 2% in 2012. According to the Sierra Club, if American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save almost 2 billion gallons of gas. Cycling was widely cheaper than driving; also the cyclist was doing exercise at the same time. Lisa Callahan, MD, of the hospital for special surgery in New York City said that Bike commuting could be a very effective cardiovascular benefit. “If you are overweight and start an exercise program, sometimes it is harder on your joints because of overweight, thus sports such as swimming or biking that was not pounding on the joints could be a good thing.”On the other hand, riding to work did not even need to own a bike. Bicycle hire was available in London city centre so that workers could rent one and ride to work. Barclays Cycle Hire had more than 6000 bikes and 400 stations which could be found in central of London. University of Nottingham found that public transit riders were 6 times easier to receive from acute respiratory infections. Fresh air did a body good, another study found a host of illness-causing viruses hidden in passenger seats and car, including E.coli, salmonella and campylobacter. Cycling was individual and fresh air came onto the face directly. When bicycle commuters arrived the place they work, parking the bicycle would not be an issue. Many company such as Apple and Tesco offered bicycle parking for employees. In American, hundreds of major companies had entered the American League of Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Business” program and cities require commercial office buildings by law to offer some sort of bike storage. Folding bikes were another useful option, as they could be packed into a bag and stashed easily under a desk or a closet.
Evans Cycles had a program helped employee to cycling to work which called “Ride2work”. “Ride2Work” was a leading provider of the Government’s cycle to work scheme, which promoted cycling through tax incentives to offer fantastic saving on the cost of a new bike and safety accessories.(EvansCycles,2012) The “Ride2work” plan could save at less 40% of retail prices without any extra cost to the employer. Any sizes companies could take part in the scheme which promoted much healthier journeys to work, and reducing congestion by offered a positive lifestyle benefit to employees. More than 10 companies already joined the scheme, such as Channel 4, Gatwick Airport, Toyot and Virgin Media etc. According to EvansCycle(2012), the “cycle2work” scheme works as an annual tax exemption which allowed employees to purchase bikes to be hired to employees as a tax-free benefit. And the cost of purchasing the bikes was recovered though salary sacrifice, which normally ran over 12 months. For employers, it provided a popular employee benefit at no additional cost, helping employees to save money, promote healthier journeys to work and meet CSR objectives and to save the cost of car parking. For employees, to save around 30%-40% on both bike and accessories, divided the cost over 12-18 months to make cycling more affordable, getting fitter, healthier and happier through cycling. Through this process, “Ride2Work” benefited employers and employees at the same time. Thus, there were no disadvantages to join it. Additionally, cycling to school or university was a great activity for children.
Transport ation- To school
Cycling was an ideal from of transport for young people providing a healthy, cheap and environmentally friendly way to get about, together with a degree of freedom and independence (Sustrans, 2012). According data in the UK, a high proportion of children said they would prefer to cycle to school instead of taking public transport. Since walking was about 3 times slower than cycling, it was perfect for journeys to and from school which was too far to walk to and it an easier way to keep fit. The government suggested that young people should have a minimum of one hour’s moderate physical activity each day to keep healthy and help prevents serious illness in later life.
Cycling to school regularly was a simple and practical way of achieving this. Sustrans safe route (2012) claimed that some family and school were worried about the speed and volume of road traffic. Cyclingblog(2011) said that almost all children had a bike of some sort yet it was estimated that less than 1% of school children actually cycle to school. In addition, surveys of school travel appeared to suggest that up to 50% of children would like to travel by bicycle, so there appeared to be an issue somewhere. Cyclingblog(2011) discussed that the main concern centre around the perception of UK roads being dangerous or active discouragement by school themselves. Parents were afraid of allowing school children to cycle to school; said fears were often illogical as the roads were not as dangerous as they were led to believe. Besides, cycling to school was not a necessary and only way on the same route that was taken by mum who drives kids to school by themselves. According to Bikeability(2013), a victim of economic cuts, there were still cycle instructors our there working hard to teach children good cycling technique. Those children who lived within 2 miles of their school, particularly primary schools and this therefore offered the trained child cyclist the perfect experience that will increased over time and lead to better equipped adult cyclists. The problem of at what age should a child be allowed to cycle to school maybe a contentious one, however, with children cycling to school run there was clearly the opportunity of riding together as a group, which provided that extra safety in numbers.
The other main reason cycling to school was taken up by so few children was the stance taken by the majority of schools, particularly infant and junior schools. Many schools discourage cycling through promotion of poor road safety advice and their lack of bicycle storage facilities. Schools could not legally ban cycling to school; they had no right to decide how people arrived to and from their home. What normally schools could do was ban bicycles from the school area or they could actually ban by not providing anywhere to park their bicycle securely and safely. The cost of installing bicycle parking stands was not challenging, once installed they need very little of maintenance and upkeep. The legal position was that schools were not liable for students travelling independently to or from school; that meant that a school would be liable for a student on a school-operated bus, but it was not liable for a student cycling on his or her own. Furthermore, schools were not liable for theft or damage caused to bicycles on school grounds, just as schools were not liable for theft or damage to a student’s jacket theft in a classroom or the pencil case in their bag. Cyclingblog(2011) suggested that if more children cycling to school what was needed was a proactive attitude, better facilities at schools and infrastructure on the way to school along with continued cycle training. More importantly was parents to understand that cycling itself was safe and encouraging children to be active in an age when the TV or games console was the first point of call.
Transport – Travel
Riding the bike to a location was popular in all around the world. Instead of travelling by airplane, train or ship, traveler who rode a bike has much greater fun and exciting experience. Many people became interesting with the idea of traveling by bicycle but did not know where to get started. The Adventure Cycling Association (2013) suggested that experienced riders know the simplicity of bike travel was one of its great joys, but to the curious newcomer this new world of possibility could appear confusing. Bicycle travel was attractive for many reasons; an exciting challenge that allowed people to explore new landscapes and cultures, built physical fitness, and experienced the joy of breathing fresh air and meeting new people in some point. The author of Lonely Planet (2012) said that bike travel gave you heaps of freedom, plus it was eco-friendly and a great form of exercise. No doubt travelling with bike was a forceful thing to do, so traveler must need a plan before started. Importance of recognized the risks and time, because you could not take a year off to bike somewhere. Same any other way of trip, traveler must have to confirm that the time you allot was sufficient for the place you would like to go. Since bike had been traveling by people in recent years, there were plenty of bike routes maps on the internet and some provide by organization. Bike route helped a lot when you were planning the specific bike tour. Guide bike tour could be found as well if you preferred. Made sure to go where actually planned to go, not ride to a destination because of convenience or in passing. Self preparing before the trip was important as well. Helmet, cycling clothing, phone, snacks, water, passport (if overseas), backpack and etc. Depending on the place you traveling to, also the location and weather which would ride pass. If it was more than a day, you might need to check hotels, hostels or camping. Some organization set out maps that helped traveler to find a place to stay at the end of every day journey, depending on how well the plan was. If you were biking across the desert, some tent and camping would be needed. And food, all of which was going to increased the weight of the pack. Make sure if you had a heavier load to carry, your bike could support it. To help you determine exactly how much could handle, taking some rides with predicted weight that would be carrying. The good thing about cycling was the cyclist did not need to be a “superman” to cycling around. However, training on bicycle before the trip would be a “free insurance”. The best to do was to be realistic about what people actually could do and create achievable goals. One of the pleasures of bike travel was that riding into progressively better and better shapes as you go. The varies of how far can you ride in a day depending on the overall fitness, personal goals, the style of touring and the terrain(Adventure Cycling Association,2013). With a bit of bicycle training, an average physically fit adult carrying more than 18 pounds of other gears on their bike could expect to travel at an average pace of 65 miles per day on roads and still had time to stop and enjoyed the view. With more gear about 35 pounds. The average pace to plan for should be lowered to 55miles per day. Also if the terrain was particularly flat or mountainous, the average would increase or decrease accordingly. Experienced bicycle travelers could ride further, but for most people, planning to exceed these averages had a tendency to increase the physical challenge and decrease the enjoyment. Always plan the time in the day and days off in the trip, for unexpected challenges and good opportunities. A bicycle tour certainly needed a good bike to ride on; many types of bicycle could be used for touring. Although some bicycle were specifically designed for touring, most quality bike could be customized for touring use, with the exception of road racing bikes, as they pay attention on weight saving and quick handling over durability and comfort. For conclusion, the choice of bicycle was based on type of touring and personal preference. Although cycling travel was a good activity, the death rate was surprisingly high in 2000. Most common cycling accidents were cyclist rode into the path of vehicle, motorist emerging into path of cyclist and turning across path of cyclist, child cyclist playing or riding too fast, etc. According to the survey done by DETR(Secretary state for the environment, transport and regions), deaths rate per billion journey of bicycle was 170. Reports showed those cyclist casualties in the UK; Killed, 170; seriously injured 3085, slightly injured; the sum of casualties was 19215. These figures only counted the numbers of cyclists who killed or injured in road accidents and were reported to the police, even when the cyclist was injured badly enough to be taken to hospital. The figure was not included cycling accidents what happened on other places instead of road. Rospa(2012) reported that around 15% of the cyclist killed and injured were children, cycling accidents increased as children grow older. Meaning there was a risk of cycling from kids to adult, even more dangerous until about the age of 60. On the other hand, most cycling accidents happened in urban areas where most cycling took places, more than half death or serious accidents occurred in urban areas. Data from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (2012) showed that more than 20% of cyclists killed or seriously injured were involved in collisions at, or near, a road junction, with T junctions being the most commonly involved. And roundabouts were particularly dangerous junctions for cyclists. Besides of personal casualties, cycling helped a lot for the environment.
World’s major problem was pollution. Different modes of transport such as cars, buses, trams, trains and others caused noise pollution, heavy air pollution and depart massive carbon footprints. Organization such as “Bicycle NSW Environmental Trust” helped and promoted bicycle riding as an environmentally beneficial means of transport. Cycling did not require any fuel or emitted any poisonous gases; as well it had practically no carbon footprint. For a fresh air to breath and pure water to drink, a reduction in all those pollution levels was essential. Cycling was an environmentally as well as eco friendly mode of transport. Day by day, the cost of fuels was rising quickly. In such situation, cycling was a cheap mode of transport, ideal for short local trips and made up of our everyday journeys. According to European Environment Agency (EEA, 2003), the transport sector in the UK was both the fastest growing consumer of energy and the fastest growing producer of greenhouse gases. Air pollution was not happening in a country but in globally, everyone had responsible for it and need to improve it as soon as possible. The national cycling charity claimed (CTC, 1991) that the main atmospheric pollants emitted by motor vehicles were hydrocarbons, carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides, Ozone, particulates, acidic compounds and Carbon Dioxide, all of which had a detrimental impact upon the environment. These issues affected the world everyday and causing environment problems including global warming, acid rain and greenhouse effect etc. Driving a car had a seri