We can rub our hands that we have so much beautiful nature and forests around us that we can (in most cases) use for free. If it’s not for a quiet walk and clearing your head, it’s for playing and staying with the children or even going on an adventurous mountain bike ride.
Due to the corona crisis, more and more people have found their way to the forests and we walk, cycle and play with more people than ever before in these beautiful environments. We can only applaud this because being in nature is not only fun but it is also healthy and can be very relaxing.
Away from the daily hustle, stress and worries. Let everything sink in for a while, completely relax and recharge the batteries.
However, there is a not-so-great downside to all of this. In addition to more and more people in the forests, we also find more and more litter and rubbish in the beautiful nature. When you walk or cycle along a mountain of litter, you still lose heart, at least that is the case with me.
A sad trend, but certainly not a problem that has only just arisen. Although you should certainly not lump all forest and nature holidaymakers with the same antisocial brush, all walkers, cyclists and holidaymakers will be portrayed in a bad(er) light in this way.
I myself am an avid mountain biker who can be found several times a week in the woods and nature. Litter makes me shudder and at times I get angry and sad at the same time. Yet I always drive past it. Because it’s not my job or with the thought that someone else will clean it up? A thought that I realize is just as antisocial as leaving litter there. So there is still work to be done…
In addition to not leaving your rubbish and waste anywhere, there are of course quite a lot of things you can do to keep nature intact so that we can enjoy it for years, decades or even centuries, the latter especially applies to our descendants…
Giving your daily habits an ecological and sustainable twist does not have to be difficult or expensive. Simple things that benefit both nature and your own peace of mind, it sounds like music to my ears, and hopefully yours too.
Don’t just leave your garbage behind
I mentioned waste earlier in this article simply because it is by far the number one frustration and the biggest problem we have in nature right now, not counting today’s hustle and bustle.
Mountain biking is an intensive sport and without food and drink it quickly becomes less fun. Although sports drinks or water easily fit in a water bottle or bicycle backpack, the situation is slightly different with food, bars, and gels. You see more and more the packaging on the side in the woods, which is very unfortunate and antisocial, not to mention the bad name it gives every other mountain biker.
It only takes a few seconds to put your packaging in the back pocket of your sweater or in your backpack. Unfortunately, that is just a few seconds too much loss for some and they prefer to throw it against the ground.
Putting the paper of your energy bars or gels in your shirt or backpack can of course become a mess. However, there is an easy solution for this, namely by taking a simple bag with you. If you want to do it completely ecologically, forget that plastic waste bag and replace it with a biodegradable garbage bag. It hardly takes up any space and can be tucked away very compactly, both in your shirt and in your backpack.
Reuse your flat inner tubes
When you tear through the forest at breakneck speed (of course taking into account other holidaymakers) and suddenly see something in the shape of a snake looming out of the corner of your eye, you are initially shocked, until you realize that it is once again a left punctured inner tube. Unfortunately, these aren’t rare stories, they happen more often than you might think.
A flat tire can always happen to you while mountain biking. Hopefully, you will have a spare tire with you, or better yet you can fix the tire quickly. In the first case, you naturally take your broken tire home with you. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what unfortunately doesn’t always happen.
I understand that an inner tube is not so easy to hide, but in the end anything is possible if you just put in the effort. I once punctured 3 inner tubes on one and the same ride and of course I took all three home with me. Leaving your inner tube in the forest is therefore not necessary at all.
Again, there are some simple solutions for this. At first you can stick your inner tube. That way you don’t have to stuff your broken inner tube in your backpack or buy a new one afterwards. This way you save a few euros again and you reduce the mountain of waste, so a win-win.
If you are not the type to stick your tires again and again, you can give your inner tubes a new life. You might be surprised what you can make with an inner tube if you are a bit creative or if you get hold of the right instructional videos on youtube… You can make the following useful things from inner tubes:
Think back to this article for your next flat tire and give your inner tube a new purpose. If you see one in the forest, you may potentially have a free belt or a new bracelet (which you can give as a gift to your partner, you will score some extra points…).
If you are not such a tinkerer and you want to reduce your ecological footprint and no longer use inner tubes, you can. By making your mountain bike tires tubeless, you no longer need inner tubes at all. In addition to less waste, the big advantage of tubeless tires is that you drive much less likely to leak. If you buy the sealant in biodegradable form, you’re on your way.
Biodegradable maintenance products
I don’t have to tell you that maintenance products can be very harmful to both nature and people. On this site and blog you have probably already discovered many useful and healthier home and garden alternatives. The cycling world is also teeming with these types of products, and some are more environmentally friendly than others.
Nevertheless, more and more products are appearing in which nature, animals and the general health of humans have been taken into account in the development, hurrah! Don’t you pay a whole lot more for these kinds of products? I can already tell you that it is quite easy.
Unfortunately, I plead guilty because I used to use petroleum as a degreaser. Especially because it is very cheap, especially compared to the (biodegradable) degreasers of well-known brands. In any case, my grass was completely destroyed, and you can take that literally. Such a black, dead and bare spot in your grass does not make you happy at all.
That is why I have switched for a long time to biodegradable products from Muc-Off that are not harmful to people and nature. So be sure to think about nature when you next purchase maintenance products.
Eco-friendly cycling clothing and accessories
An ecological or fully recycled mountain bike is just a bit too ambitious, because aluminum or carbon are not exactly the most sustainable materials when you look at the production process.
Yet there are plenty of other options to reduce your ecological footprint. After all, all the little bits eventually add up to a big whole. Evolution and technology do not stand still and bring new innovations and developments with them every day. Recycling and giving products a new destination is therefore no longer unworldly and certainly does not have to be given an inferior stamp.
Mountain biking is such a sport that nowadays, easier than you might think, you can put in an ecological jacket, and you can even take that literally. By cycling and mountain biking with sustainable cycling clothing, you can do your bit and help reduce the mountain of waste.
Sustainable cycling clothing still has a rather strange connotation, but completely unjustly, especially among people who think about it for the first time. It looks weird, it’s for hippies and so on… Haven’t we all been like this before? Have we not all had such prejudices? I certainly did until I delved into it a bit further. Sustainable cycling clothing just looks like other, non-durable cycling clothing. So you can make a conscious and sustainable choice without worrying without having to feel like the odd one out, welcome to the 21st century!
You can also put the rest of your equipment in an ecological jacket. From cycling and mountain bike shoes to backpacks, water bottles and panniers, it’s all there. If we would all make more use of it now, the world and precious nature would only benefit from it.
Mountain biking is a fantastic hobby that, if you make the right choices, you can practice almost completely sustainably with respect for the environment, nature and the climate. What you should definitely not do is immediately throw your non-durable clothing and belongings into the container, because that is of course not sustainable either.
On the other hand, if you are ready for new clothing, a new backpack, maintenance products or whatever, think about trying a sustainable variant. From your next ride you will race through the forest completely sustainably, ecologically and consciously. I take my (sustainable) hat off to that!