Green travel to green places

In search of climate and wildlife stories…by bike

Greener, fitter, faster. — October 31, 2012

Greener, fitter, faster.


Yesterday I worked out that I saved 105kg CO2 through low-carbon travel on my sabbatical. My travel emitted 60% less than if I had gone by car – a small car. Brilliant. I also got fitter.

Of the 953 miles, nearly 200 were by bike. When I started, I found the cycling tough – I was a bit out of practice. In the first week my daily cycling was 17 miles on average but by the last week in Dumfries and Galloway I was averaging 36 miles a day. I was even doing extra miles by bike – on the last day I had planned to cycle from Newton Stewart up to Barrhill station but I had time and kept on going to Girvan.

Thankfully that fitness hasn’t gone away again now that the sabbatical is over. In fact, I am inspired to do more. I might not have loads of time to go on long bike rides but I am now a regular cycle commuter into Glasgow and I have made a dramatic discovery. Cycling is the fastest way to get into the office – only 30 mins. Faster than going by bus, train or car. The main question is why didn’t I discover this cycling commute earlier. Laziness? No, I just didn’t realise it was possible and so quick. So now getting to work I can be greener, fitter and faster…oh and a little bit richer.

Green travel emits 60% less CO2 — October 30, 2012

Green travel emits 60% less CO2

I never did complete my sabbatical. The fourth week never happened for a variety of reasons – mainly I ran out of time and had other work commitments. My plan in the fourth week was to travel up to Inverness via RSPB reserves at Insh Marshes and Loch Garten to visit Nigg Bay reserve and Loch Ruthven. Maybe I will in the spring.

Despite this, the 3 weeks I did have were enjoyable and I saw some fantastic places. I also collected very useful climate impact stories – changes happening now. The remaining task for me is to write up these stories into case studies.

I have now worked out how many miles I travelled. Here is the final total.

Total miles travelled – 953

Total miles by train – 758

Total miles by bike – 193

Total miles walked – 2 (way back in June when I visited Barons Haugh)

Wow, nearly 1000 miles. But the point of going without the car was to 1) show it is possible and 2) show that you can reduce your carbon footprint when you visit nature. So how much CO2 did I save?

If I travelled to all 10 reserves by car in the same schedule I would have travelled 843 miles.

Car travel – 843 miles – 173.6kg CO2

This was calculated on the basis of using a small car. If it was a large car the total could have doubled to 349kg CO2. I used the calculator at 

On my journeys the only CO2 came from train travel and the ferry (ferry not included as I would have used this with a car journey also).

Train travel – 758 miles – 68.5kg CO2

Therefore, my green travel saved 105.1kg CO2 or you could say that I emitted 60% less carbon than if I had travelled by car.

CO2 and other nasties