Where did my Bicycle come from?

Sourcemap is a super-cool tool you can use to track down the detailed anatomy of just about anything. When I typed in “bicycle” and clicked on “Generic Trek bicycle,” I got a breakdown of the raw materials in the bike — from fork to saddle — and where each of those parts originated.

Source Map for a bicycle

It then calculated the net impact (“footprint”) of my bicycle in terms of carbon emitted during its assembly, even adding the carbon emitted when transporting the item from point of manufacture to consumer.

According to Sourcemap, my bike cost the environment 36.53 kg of carbon when it was manufactured 20 years ago. Next, using information from my profile on the mileage-tracking website Greenlight, I was able to calculate how much carbon I’ve saved the environment by using my bike as a primary mode of transportation. The result: I’ve saved over 526 kg of carbon in just two years, easily breaking even. Now let’s compare that to an SUV…