(Photo: Snowdonia Beano venue garden)
Green Holidays Since 1982
Bicycle Beano Cycling Holidays' Eco-friendly Credentials
Bicycle Beano Cycling Holidays was set up way back in May 1982 as a 'soft environmental campaign' to actively promote cycling and vegetarianism, and to encourage an awareness of environmental issues. We believed then, and we believe now, that green actions speak louder than green words. We were a green business long before it became fashionable.
Prior to 1982, Rob worked for Friends of the Earth in Birmingham, specializing in energy conservation. During that time he was a founding member of Push Bikes, the Birmingham cycling campaign group. Jane was an environmental campaigner in her home town of St. Albans. We met at a Push Bikes cycling campaign meeting.
We are proud of the fact that we have been running a successful environmental and ethical business for the past 30 years, and have remained true to our values. Sure, we're nowhere near perfect; it's not easy (and perhaps not possible) to be totally green and run a business. Overall we believe we have added more to the environment and society than we have taken away.
Our early green credentials were recognized in 1992 when Tourism Concern nominated us for the green tourism award at the Berlin Travel Show. We have never courted any 'green praise'; being green was always the natural thing to be – it's taken us until now to even think it necessary to write it down!
Cycling holidays are among the greenest holidays you can take. The slow pace of travel means you are more aware of the beauty and fragility of the natural environment. You can see the impact that you have on it. In return nature recharges our batteries and allows us to see and think more clearly. And as for organic vegetarian food, that's been well-stated elsewhere.
We choose the venues we use for our cycling holidays with great care. Not only do they have to provide great vegetarian food, with an emphasis on organic, wholefoods, fairtrade and local produce, but they must also have an environmental and/or ethical basis. For instance, the Snowdonia Beano venue, a not-for-profit social business, was "established in 1996 as a centre for learning, discovery and retreat". Over the years it has worked with various organisations from the Welsh Assembly to local Housing Associations, for whom it provided free organic vegetable boxes. It also has a green energy wood pellet central heating system. All of our venues have their own organic vegetable gardens.
So here is our environmental policy spelt out:-
- We recognise the effects of our business on the environment.
- We are committed to trying to reduce, re-use and recycle as much as is possible.
- We seek to keep wastage to a minimum and maximise the efficient use of materials and resources.
- We use environmentally-friendly cleaners and soaps at home and at our venues.
- We use local providers of goods and services where possible, and choose organic and fair trade products where available.
- We limit the use of motor vehicles.
- We only operate in England and Wales, near to our home in Mid Wales. We believe it would be wrong for us to organise cycling holidays abroad.
- We comply with the requirements of environmental legislation.
- We continuously try to improve our environmental performance and reduce the environmental impact of our activities.
On our rides:-
- We believe our rides should not damage the environment in any way – leave no visible trace.
- We aim to maximise the positive benefits we bring to the communities that we cycle through.
- We design our routes to include visits to nature reserves, environmental and social projects etc whenever possible. For instance, on the Snowdonia Beano we call in for morning coffee at Antur Waunfawr, a social enterprise providing employment and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities.
- We occasionally need to use a motor vehicle as back-up on some of our rides where circumstances dictate a need, but we minimise this usage as much as possible.
At our venues:-
- We ask our venues to provide vegetarian/vegan food, and to use organic, wholefood, fairtrade and local ingredients as much as possible.
- All our venues are within cycling distance of a railway station. In an ideal world, we would like all of our guests to arrive by train. Unfortunately the rail operators' provision for bikes on trains has decreased over the years. When we started the business in 1982, about 70% of our customers came by train. With only 2 to 4 bikes being allowed per train, it is no longer possible for 20 to 25 cyclists (travelling from diverse parts of the UK and Europe) to arrive by train in one day. However, we do encourage car sharing. We hope in the future rail operators will recognize the potential of carrying cyclists and their bikes, as this is the ideal way to travel long distance.
- We encourage our guests to recycle paper, glass, cans and cardboard.
At our office/base (at home):-
- We turn off lights, computers and electrical appliances when not in use.
- We recycle paper, plastics, glass, cardboard, metals.
- We use emails rather than letters where appropriate.
- We use low energy light bulbs.
- We monitor and minimize energy use and water consumption.
- We collect rainwater and reuse grey water for watering and toilet flushing.
- We reuse paper printed on one side for internal use.
- We compost leftover food and garden waste.
- We buy as much as we can from our local village shop.
- We grow some of our own veg and have an organic veg box delivered from a local farm.
- We use public transport as much as we can (no mean feat as we live in rural Mid Wales).
- We use our bicycles are transport rather than a car whenever possible.
- We do not fly.
Jane Barnes & Rob Green.