Ride Responsibly: Most Sustainable Cycling Brands

Upgrade your cycling kit with eco-friendly apparel and accessories. These companies make hard-wearing gear that’s easy on the planet.

There are many good reasons to get on a bike. High among them if you care deeply about the environment (and what cyclist doesn’t?) is the activity’s inherently low-impact nature—not just on your joints, but on the world spinning alongside us. Pedaling from point A to B on leg power, air, and a vehicle you can lift with one hand is as eco-friendly as it gets. Now that sustainable cycling brands are laser-focused on making every piece of equipment—from frames, derailleurs, and wheels to jerseys, jackets, and water bottles—as Earth-conscious as possible, this is truer than ever.

Related: Surly Releases Preamble: New All-steel ‘Pavement Bike’

We canvassed the bike industry for gear that offers the lowest impact: wheels that don’t pollute while they’re being manufactured; bike wash that cuts down on single-use plastic; helmets that can be recycled; responsibly made winter tights that prompt pedaling to work instead of driving. The list goes on, but we’ve whittled it down here to our favorite new sustainable cycling gear. 

Consider supplementing your kit by shopping from these brands, which are firmly dedicated to treading lightly

Best Sustainable Cycling Brands

1. The Pro’s Closet

Whether you’re shopping for mountain, gravel, road, city, or e-bikes, buying used is always more eco than springing for a new one. The Pro’s Closet sells certified pre-owned bikes to save both money and the stress of another rig in the scrap heap. All used bikes are certified by a master mechanic in Louisville, CO. They’re inspected, cleaned, tuned up, and ready to ride. In the market to sell, not buy? The process is fast and simple.  

[Prices vary; theproscloset.com]
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2. Velocio Signature Jersey

Since the company was founded in 2013, Velocio has searched for ways to minimize its environmental impact. One hundred percent of the company’s spring/summer jersey line is made from recycled or natural materials, including ocean plastic harvested in Europe that’s turned into recycled yarn. 

Velocio gear is also made in small batches with renewable energy to conserve energy, limit overstock, and reduce liquidation. The brand also boasts Velocio Renewed, which gives a second life to revived, repurposed, and reconditioned apparel.

We love the soft, supple, moisture-wicking Signature Jersey, which is made from recycled Italian-milled fabric. The trim-cut jersey has a UPF 30 rating and a security flap on the sag-free rear pockets to keep your phone and snacks from flying out. Unzip partway if you get too hot and the CamLock zipper stays put.

If you hate gear with too many logos, you’ll love this jersey. Velocio’s branding is discreet, abstract, and reflective. 

[$179; velocio.cc]

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3. Pearl Izumi Men’s AmFib Cycling Bib Tights

Stay warm and dry on chilly, early rides with Peal Izumi’s AmFib tight. Made from DWR-treated softshell and thermal fleece, these tights provide max weather protection on the front of the legs, in the seat, and the Achilles with extra insulation for warmth on the back of the legs and knees. Seamless, raw-edge bib straps reduce bulk for comfortable layering under a jersey. 

As a company, Pearl Izumi pledges to use their business practices, products, and advocacy to reduce oil consumption and embolden environmental action. They partner with the Renewal Workshop to repair and resell used items. They’re also working to make their Louisville, CO, headquarters 100 percent carbon neutral by 2025. 

Every piece of Peal Izumi cycling clothing is also “pedal to zero” rated. The company measures the global warming potential of these tights and other products using Higg Index’s/Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Lifecycle Assessment tool. Bike 31 miles in these highly recycled polyester and nylon tights instead of driving, and you’ve just offset their impact.

[$200; pearlizumi.com]

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4. Patagonia Dirt Roamer Storm Bike Jacket and Pants

Light, packable, stretchy, and breathable, Patagonia’s Dirt Roamer Storm jacket and bike pants repel weather so you can enjoy the ride. The fully waterproof, abrasion-resistant pants are tailored for pedaling position. Zippered leg openings and an adjustable waistband make them easy to pull over shoes and pads. The wind-proof, breathable jacket stuffs into its own pocket; has pockets for storing snacks and a phone; as well as a packable hood. 

Both are made from fully recycled nylon with a water-repellent finish, and a soft layer against your skin to keep from feeling clammy. Of note: 98 percent of Patagonia’s line uses recycled materials. The Dirt Roamer Storm pants and jacket are Fair Trade Certified sewn, which means the people who made them were paid well. Built to last, you can send this gear back to Patagonia to be recycled or traded in when it finally wears out.

[Jacket, $319; patagonia.com]
[Pants, $299; patagonia.com]
Get It

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5. POC Sports Myelin Bike Helmet

Designed for recreational cyclists, the parts and pieces of Poc’s Myelin helmet are assembled without glue so the helmet can be taken apart and recycled curbside at the end of its useful life. 

Like many bike helmets, Myelin is built around a lightweight EPS liner. A fabric covering instead of a plastic outer shell reduces petroleum products while giving it an urban aesthetic. A snap adjuster paired with elastic in the straps provides a secure and tailored fit. 

As with any great helmet, Myelin is well-ventilated, good-looking, and comfortable. When you’re done with it, its elements can be integrated into other goods.

[$100; pocsports.com]

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6. Alchemy Goods Pike Messenger Bags

Made in the U.S. from upcycled inner tubes by B-Corp Certified Alchemy Goods, the 15-liter Pike Messenger Bag carries a laptop for commutes to the office. The bag has internal organizers and a zippered exterior phone pocket for convenience. It’s made from the fewest materials possible to make recycling easier. One man’s waste is another man’s raw material for making something cool.

[$150; alchemygoods.com]

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7. Muc-Off Bottle for Life Bundle

In a quest to eliminate single-use plastic and save emissions created by shipping water, Muc-Off created its Bottle for Life Bundle, which includes an infinitely reusable silicone-base aluminum spray bottle and two sachets of Punk Powder. This rehydrates into a bicycle cleaning spray when you combine it in the bottle with water from your tap. 

The kit uses 92 percent less packaging than two one-liter bottles of pre-hydrated bike cleaner. And the impact is adding up. In 2020, Muc-Off committed to saving 30 tons of single-use plastic by 2023. Smashing its goal by 2021, current savings is up to 208 tons. It’s available in two- and four-sachet kits.

[$35; muc-off.com]

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8. PNW Components Refurbished Dropper Posts

PNW resells lightly used and open box droppers as well as miss-ordered handlebars in a special section of its website. Refurbished droppers are certified by PNW’s mechanics and they come with a one-year warranty. 

Because these droppers are used, they sometimes have cosmetic flaws, but they work just as well as new ones straight from the box. Used inventory depends on what’s been returned, but if you can’t find what you need, consider buying a new high-quality, low-price PNW dropper.

[From $99; pnwcomponents.com]

Related: Best Eco-Conscious Breweries in America

9. Bivo Insulated Bottles

Bivo helps cyclists hydrate with its double-wall, vacuum-insulated, stainless-steel bottles. Unlike other metal water bottles, it won’t rattle in your cage. The high-flow, 21-ounce bottles use a BPA-,BPS-, BPF- and phthalates-free silicone nozzle to deliver water fast, no sucking required. The insulated bottle’s internals are dishwasher-friendly and easy to clean, which keeps mold from growing inside. 

Bivo bottles ship in recycled boxes, and the bottles themselves are durable, easy-to-recycle, and carbon neutral. Bivo offsets its carbon emissions through the Cleaner, Safer Water in Cambodia project through Gold Standard, which manufactures water filters and helps reduce emissions from wood-burning stoves used to boil water.

[From $44; drinkbivo.com]

10. CSS Composites FusionFiber Rims

Low emissions, zero waste, and entirely recyclable, CSS manufactures bicycle rims from patent-pending FusionFiber for Revel Bikes and other brands. FusionFiber is made with long-chain polymers that dissipate shock by flexing microscopically. FusionFiber rims have been tested to withstand a minimum of 275 percent of the UCI standard for impact resistance as well as a minimum of 950 pounds of spoke pull force. So, expect a smoother ride and higher impact resistance than you get with a carbon rim. 

FusionFiber doesn’t require refrigeration like pre-impregnated carbon fiber, and it has an unlimited shelf life. The material is shaped, not cut, eliminating waste, and rims don’t need to be sanded, deburred, clear-coated, or painted, sparing the wheel makers and the planet harmful carbon dust, VOC emissions, and toxic epoxies. The end result is a rim that’s recyclable and lighter than a comparable carbon rim, with a 50 percent or greater increase in damping and equal lateral stability—all in a package that uses fewer resources and produces less waste.

[From $1,800; csscomposites.com]

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