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May 16, 2024 3 min read

Decathlon Calls for Action on European Cycling Declaration

As the European Parliament elections approach, sporting goods producer and retailer Decathlon is urging politicians to support a circular, competitive, and active future for the EU. Central to this vision is the European Cycling Declaration, which is bolstered by a series of policy recommendations and key priorities from Decathlon.

Anna Turrell, Decathlon’s Chief Sustainability Officer, emphasized in a recent statement the multifaceted benefits of cycling, not just as a form of physical activity but as a comprehensive mode of transportation. “Cycling exemplifies the need to better leverage the synergies between sport and other policy areas,” she stated. “However, action must now follow ambition. We strongly welcome concrete national and European initiatives that build on the achievements made for cycling in Europe.”

Promoting Circular Bicycle Manufacturing

Decathlon is advocating for increased EU support to develop a sustainable, digitalized, and circular bicycle manufacturing sector. For instance, utilizing recycled aluminum can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of cycling. Reshoring the bike component industry is another priority, as currently, approximately two-thirds of bike components are imported from outside the EU. By reshoring, value chains are shortened, resulting in reduced carbon emissions, lower non-added value costs, and increased job opportunities within the EU. Digitalizing the bike manufacturing process also promises significant efficiency and competitiveness gains.

Advancing Eco-design for Sustainable Products

A notable legislative process toward decarbonizing value chains is the Eco-design for Sustainable Products Regulation. This includes eco-design requirements targeting the materials, repairability, and dismantling of bikes, leading to positive effects. The Digital Product Passport, for example, would provide transparency for consumers on the repairability and environmental footprint of bike components.

Engaging Society Through Physical Activity

Decathlon highlights the broad societal benefits of cycling, from its low carbon emissions to its potential to democratize mobility through low costs and wide availability. Cycling encourages physical activity, countering the negative health impacts of increasing physical inactivity in Europe.

Encouraging Short-Distance Transport Switches

A study by the City of Helsinki demonstrates the socio-economic gains from investments in cycling infrastructure. The study found that each €1 invested in cycling infrastructure generates €3.60 in socio-economic benefits. Typical cycling distances to destinations such as schools, supermarkets, and train stations range from 5 to 20 minutes. E-bikes further extend the range of cycling, enabling longer distances, navigating hilly areas, warm weather, and transporting heavy cargo.

Enhancing Infrastructure and Combating Bike Theft

To achieve the policy targets set in the Cycling Declaration, Decathlon emphasizes the development of a safe cycling infrastructure across the EU. This is crucial for increasing cycling engagement and can be achieved through concrete initiatives.

Additionally, Decathlon addresses the critical issue of bike theft, a significant deterrent to cycling. The European Declaration on Cycling recognizes the need to tackle bike theft, and one promising solution is a harmonized bike marking system. Following mandatory French legislation, Decathlon and other bike manufacturers have implemented such a system. “By implementing tracking technologies, bike theft can be more easily apprehended, and selling stolen bikes becomes significantly more challenging. As a result of the French legislation (APIC), the return rate of stolen bikes rose from 2% to 10.56%,” writes Decathlon.

At Legend eBikes, we are proud to be partners with Decathlon in several European countries. We fully support these initiatives and share Decathlon’s commitment to a sustainable, active future through the promotion and support of cycling across the continent.

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