How to Green Up Your Bike Tour
We want our tours to be as low impact and socially responsible as possible and we try hard every year to lessen our impact. It’s challenging. Our carbon footprint is a big issue and things like disposing of waste on tour also pose big challenges. I’ll discuss the things we do on tour to reduce our environmental footprint in another post but today I’d like to talk about some ways you can help us lower your impact as you prepare for your tour. Responsible travel, green travel, eco travel… what ever you want to call it starts from home, continues on tour and even after returning home. Here are a few things you can to before, during and after the tour to lessen your impact.
Before the Tour:
Whenever appropriate, buy used items. A lot of things you bring on tour won’ t make it home anyway so why not start with a pre-owned tent, bike or laptop? You may be saving something from the landfill and you’ll be saving yourself some money. At the finish line of our tours we will collect any items you do not want to fly home with and donate them to appropriate groups.
The list of things we could do without is long. It’s a lesson that is illustrated everyday on our tours both by witnessing how simply people in developing countries can live and by realizing how narrow your wants and needs become on tour. Give your gear list a really good once over and think about what you can cross off the list before you buy it.
Visit your local bike shop and camp store instead of Amazon and Ebay. Not only will you get better advice and service but you’re supporting a neighbor and reducing shipping and transport externalities.
When you need to shop online consider using Good search and Goodshop. Every search you do on good search donates 50% of the search revenue to the charity of your choice. For a small organization (I always prefer to support small organizations) that can mean up to $800 a year. It’s powered by yahoo so the search results are good. Goodshop has partnered with popular retailers so that 1%-5% of profits from the items they sell go to your charity of choice. There’s long list of charities to choose from but I’d like to suggest you choose Amigos de Iracambi. They work to conserve the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil and create income opportunities for the surrounding community.
I bet your friends have tents and sleeping bags etc… they could lend you. Sometimes they may have extras they don;t even want. My friend Cliff just gave me a $300 tent. He got married and needed a bigger one. Its several years old and not worth much on craigslist and he knows I’ll get a lot of utility out of it. Put the word out on Facebook or by email that you could use a few things for your tour and see if you can borrow them locally.
Don’t buy bottled water!
Practice your squatting! Depending on the terrain, soil conditions and population density there are several ways we dispose of waste on tour. The most common systems will be pit toilets and what is commonly referred to as the cat method. We’ll discuss that in more detail on tour but for now just know that the more responsible you are in dealing with this on tour the healthier our environment will be.
Donate your stuff to us. At the finish line we’ll have donation boxes lined up for you to place your unwanted items in. Bike spare, clothing, tents… whatever you prefer not to carry back home. We’ll collect eveything and make sure it gets to an appropriate charity of group that will get some good use out of the items.