New Zealand’s largest cycle tour operator has called out the elephant in the room: carbon emissions created by some of its very own services. Cycle Journey’s has committed to offsetting the carbon footprint of its cycle trips which involves the fuel consumption of its fleet and accommodation component of their clients.
“While the assumption that cycling tours are an environmentally friendly activity is somewhat true, there is always room for improvement, and we intend to lead by example by addressing that,” says Cycle Journey’s Chief Executive, Greg Cayford.
Each year, 6,000 people join Cycle Journeys’ self-guided cycling tours, which can include the provision of transport to the start of the trail, luggage transfer services and the accommodation and activity services to make the riders’ experience as seamless as possible.
Cycle Journeys has identified the carbon emissions produced from these services add up quickly.
“Organising accommodation for riders will create around 165.9 tonnes of carbon emissions -equal to the weight of just over 27 African elephants, and the fuel for all of our services combined for this season will amount to 123.8 tonnes of carbon emissions – or the weight of 20.6 African elephants.”
Cycle Journeys will pay to offset the companies carbon footprint through plantings of natives in key areas on the cycle trails on which they operate, identified to provide resilience against the weather events which impact the trail.
“We’ve already begun implementing processes to reduce our emissions. In addition to investing in excess of $300,000 in modernising our fleet, we have integrated fuel tracking devices and changed the way we load our trailers with bikes. The changes reduced fuel consumption by 18%in 2020 – 2021 and we are continuing to finetune this process. Beyond that, our 5 depots ensure all bike packaging is recycled into insulation or mulch for local community gardens. Pre-loved bikes and surplus bike parts are donated to our friends from RAD Bikes who are a not-for-profit community workshop in Otautahi Christchurch” Greg says.
Over the past three seasons, Cycle Journeys has also donated to the Trails maintenance and enhancement through a unique luggage transfer charge. A $3 per bag daily transfer fee is donated back to the trails specifically to support the trails and community ratepayers. Annually the company moves more than 254 tonnes of luggage which has provided $126,235 for trail maintenance over this period.
“At Cycle Journeys we strongly believe in giving back to the community that supports us. This mantra is at the heart of our commitment to reducing our footprint – and we intend to do that, one elephant at a time.”