Procycling

EDWARD PICKERING EDITOR

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Cycling, we all know, is one of the greenest things we can do. However, pro cycling is not green, by a long, long way, and we rarely talk about what an environmen­tal car crash the sport is. We fly hundreds of people all over the world, teams drive large fleets of vehicles thousands of kilometres, the media routinely follow and fans fly in their thousands to the races. We don’t look too hard at the activities of many of the big teams’ sponsors, which include some huge polluters. The Tour’s publicity caravan is about as wasteful as things get - a lot of vehicles driving 5,000km in a month to throw plastic tat to fans.

Our contributo­r Richard Abraham has written a major feature this month on what cycling needs to do to address its environmen­tal failures, and also points out that the sport faces an existentia­l challenge if we do nothing (see page 80). The recent IPCC report says that we are at the point of no return in terms of the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere, and our sport is a contributo­r to the emergency that is approachin­g. The question is, what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? None of us individual­ly can make

the difference, but we can all make a difference. I can try to put pressure on teams to be greener. But I can also acknowledg­e that I’ve flown way more than the average person in following bike races, and change my behaviour. My aim is to not fly any more for work and offset when it’s unavoidabl­e, and instead to take the train when I travel. It takes a bit more time (but not much, especially compared to getting through Paris Charles de Gaulle, amirite?). However, it’s far less damaging to the environmen­t. I used to take between a dozen and 20 flights a year in the course of my job, but I can easily operate on far fewer, I just have to try a little harder. It’s a first step, and one of many that all of us in the sport need to take.

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