Trek's Campaign Encourages People to Ride Bikes Wherever They Go

Once you ride 430 miles on a new Trek bike, your travel will be carbon negative.

Go By Bike campaign by Trek

Trek Bicycle

One silver lining that has come out of this pandemic is the increase in people riding their bicycles. With gyms closed and public transportation unappealing, bicycles have risen to the occasion as an attractive solution to getting around. They provide exercise and fresh air while moving a person from point A to point B within a reasonable timeframe.

Now there's another reason to love traveling on two wheels. In honor of May being National Bike Month, as well as the second anniversary of Trek Bicycle's #GoByBike campaign, Trek has released study findings that say 430 miles is the magic number a person must ride their bicycle in order to balance out the carbon required to produce the bike in the first place. At that point, you're carbon neutral, and from there it just keeps getting better.

"It’s called the Rule of 430," Trek said in a press release. "When you replace your car or an emissions-emitting vehicle for a bike trip—to the gym, grocery store, work, or wherever you need to go—you are making a small contribution towards the carbon neutrality of your bike. If you ride a collective 430 miles (or a little over a mile a day for a year) that you would have otherwise used a vehicle for, you have saved the carbon equivalent of what it took for Trek to make your bike. Anything above 430 miles, and your bike is now carbon negative."

It's fun to have a precise number to target when riding. It could become a game of sorts, to see how many miles you can accumulate over time, and it would certainly motivate some commuters to choose a bike over a car. You'll likely find those miles add up much faster than you expected.

red bicycle

Trek Bicycle

Trek launched its #GoByBike campaign a year ago in an effort to normalize bikes for daily commuting. Since then, between 2,000 and 3,000 people have joined the campaign each week, many spurred by the pandemic to embrace cycling, as well as a personal drive to mitigate climate change. Trek says that more than one-third of Americans (37%) report riding a bike more frequently since the pandemic hit and another third says it plans to commute by bike upon return to work. 

Cycling does make a real, quantifiable difference when it comes to the environment. Fewer than one percent of trips in the U.S. are taken by bike right now, but if that increased to only 6%, it would prevent 100 premature annual deaths linked to poor air quality and provide approximately $1.2 billion in global benefits due to climate change mitigation. There would be 28,000 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease every year and 20,000 fewer cases of diabetes.

For this to happen, however, metropolitan areas need to increase their cycling percentage, and that requires changes in infrastructure that help riders feel safe. With the way U.S. cities are designed, it can feel like you're risking your life by venturing out on a bicycle. Unfortunately, it might take an army of bold cyclists to show policymakers and urban planners that this needs to be a top priority. 

Eric Bjorling, director of brand at Trek Bicycle, said in a press release: "Climate change is real, and we all have a responsibility—as individuals, communities, and businesses—to live more responsibly and respectfully. As a bike company, we produce a product that can offset the carbon emissions impact of its manufacturing through use. When people choose to #GoByBike, they are actively doing their part for the betterment of themselves and the planet."

You can join the campaign by pledging to replace at least one car trip per week with a bike ride, posting a picture to Instagram with the hashtag #GoByBike, and inviting friends to do the same. Set up an odometer on your bike and start chipping away at those 430 miles; you'll be surprised how quickly they fly by. Your travel will be carbon negative in no time.