Using your bike instead of your car, it’s something people try to do when they want to live more sustainable. It’s a direct win, no oil or gas needs to be used and so, less climate change and pollution. But today there’s another part of your bike ride that I’d like to discuss: your lights. Because there’s even more you can save than oil or gas: batteries! By generating the energy yourself with a dynamo.
The most sustainable choice you can make is to not buy any new stuff. And so, chances are great that you have an older secondhand bike like me. I’ve had my bike for over 10 years already! The newest bikes sometimes have built in hub dynamos (even then not always) but the old ones like mine don’t and so you need to install a dynamo yourself. To me this tip seem old-fashioned, but it’s also what I see the most on the streets; people without dynamos.
Some people use batteries for their bike lights, but what I see the most is the worst: disposable lights. You can buy them everywhere for a few euros. They’re used once and then go to the landfill. It’s horrible if you ask me. All this effort and resources for a single-use item. No, this is not the way to go. It can be done way more sustainable with a dynamo.
A dynamo is device you install on your wheel and it generates energy for the lights on your bikes when the wheel turns and so when you bike around. The energy is produced right then and there when you need it: while you bike! If you ask me the list of advantages is huge! You don’t need to buy disposable lights any longer. And if you have a light but only use batteries it’s still a win. Even if batteries are reused then you still use less energy since batteries need to be charged or made. It’s also local: instead of buying batteries or lights which are probably made on the other side of the world and shipped here, you just generate it yourself. No more waste of lights, batteries or transportation.
Green Energy and Saving Money
It’s also the greenest energy you can get. It’s renewable energy made by you! That means we need less wind mills or solar panels in the end (if the batteries you’re ditching were produced with green energy, which is probably not the case). And meanwhile it’s a tiny work-out for you! Moving around more means a healthier you. Not unimportant either: it saves you money for the rest of your life! If you install a dynamo once you’re done. There’s nothing more to do! If you use batteries or disposable lights you need to buy new ones all of your life. A dynamo is a one-time investment you’ll definitely get returned. Who does not want to save money?
And at last it also supports my minimalistic lifestyle. There’s one thing less on my mind I need to do or think of. I hated it when my lights were empty, again! You always find out that you’re lights are empty on an inconvenient moment when you need them. You risk a fine too in the period you don’t have a light. I hated that! And you have to do all these things again: go to the store for new lights, pay money, go home, install the new light, recycle the old. For me it was never ending clutter in my mind.
It’s an easy thing to install a dynamo. If you or someone you know is technical, you can do it yourself. Otherwise you can just go to a local bycicle mechanic and they’ll do it if you’re willing to pay for it. And don’t forget: buy the dynamo and other parts you need secondhand if you can, it saves energy and resources and is the most sustainable choice you can make!
Do you have a dynamo on your bike?