Image by James Mackeddie
It's been quiet on the blog while we've been squirreling away with the release of the State of Our Trails Report 2023 over the last month, and what a month it's been! With features in The Guardian, to appearing on BBC Breakfast, to adventures in the lake district at Kendal Mountain Festival, the team have been busy spreading the news far and wide; our latest research is out there, and it's time we did something about it.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it feels important to share the origins of the State of Our Trails programme, and how we came to be on our research journey as an organisation. And we wouldn't have been able to do any of our research without the incredible support of our partner Bosch eBike Systems.
In today's post we interviewed Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems, to hear why supporting the State of Our Trails Report programme is so important to them. Read on to find out more!
What inspired Bosch eBike Systems to become involved in environmental initiatives such as Trash Free Trails?
Of course, eMountain bikers want to conquer the hills and mountains. However, at Bosch eBike Systems we truly believe that consideration for nature and fellow human beings must not be forgotten in our desire to progress our trail riding. Us eMountain Bikers should not forget that we are just one user group in the mountains/hills and therefore we should all act responsibly.
The rules of not leaving any traces, sticking to the trails and behaving in a social manner should be absolutely clear. Supporting Trash Free Trails’ valuable work is a very important part of delivering that message. By helping to protect the trails that our riders enjoy and engaging with the mountain biking community we hope that our support of Trash Free Trails will help us to make positive changes together.
What role does collaboration play in reducing your environmental impact as a brand?
Collaborating with like-minded organisations helps us to multiply and amplify the message we are trying to spread. Every brand or organisation has its own audience, so by collaborating we are able to spread the message to each other’s audiences. Where this doesn’t have a direct impact on the environment per se, it does encourage new audiences to consider new things and to think a little differently – whether that be to make a conscious effort to not drop litter on the trails the next time they go for a ride, or even taking the time to clear up a trail that needs a bit of TLC when they next go out.
How did Bosch come to be a TFT Strategic Partner?
It was one of our partner brands that made the initial connection. Trek Bikes were TFT’s first ever strategic partner. They knew that Bosch eBike Systems is committed to a responsible approach to engaging with nature, so our values matched theirs in terms of protecting the places and spaces we ride, and therefore they would also match those of Trash Free Trails’. So Trek kindly set up a conversation between Bosch eBike Systems and Trash Free Trails. We’ve been a Strategic Partner ever since that initial meeting and have also supported the State of our Trails Report throughout.
Why does Bosch feel the State of Our Trails Report is such an important part of TFT’s work?
Trash Free Trails recognised that there is a problem on the UK’s trail network: litter – or more accurately - pollution. TFT’s very existence came about because of this issue. But in order for this problem to be solved, it makes sense to first understood it as much as possible. The State of our Trails Report does just that – it is a scientific approach to understanding the problem that lays before us. It aims to create awareness for the situation and to understand the extent of the problem before measures can be put in place to reduce – and hopefully completely eradicate - trash being dropped on our trails.
Why do you/Bosch think research into terrestrial pollution is important for the cycling community/industry?
It isn’t just important for the cycling community – it’s important for all of us. Understanding where the issues lie and understanding why people litter allows to get one step closer to preventing it altogether. As riders, we have a duty to take care of the places we ride. We are riding in the habitats of various forms of wildlife. By dropping single-use pollution we are interfering with that – so the least we can do is be considerate and sympathetic to wherever it is we are riding. We escape to these places to connect with nature, so let’s keep them natural.
If there was one thing Bosch would encourage their customers / peer businesses to do to take action on single-use pollution, what would it be?
Let's be committed to and protect our trails! We all want to enjoy great trails and should treat them in a way that allows others to have the same fun and enjoy nature. If you see someone not taking their litter with them, speak up. Especially in times of change, it is important to take responsibility - for people, the environment and society. Let's encourage everyone around to follow this initiative.
Thank you Bosch eBike Systems for support The State of Our Trails Report. We're so proud of the research we've been able to do together. Be sure to follow on social media to be the first to hear about developments in our research.