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Monday, October 26, 2020

Ethical choices on two wheels: the best vegan cycling brands

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Vegan ethics and cycling can go hand-in-hand, thanks to a range of brands identifying the niche needs of compassion-fuelled cyclists.

With cycling on the rise, knowing where to find vegan cycling must-haves is essential. The following should be enough to get you out on the road — safely, stylishly and with your conscience intact.

For the love of custom bicycles

vegan cycling
Photo: August Bicycles

A certified member of the Vegan Traders Union, August Bicycles is a totally custom framebuilding workshop that designs and builds striking bikes, but without the addition of any animal products. Customers who are determined to finish their new steeds with leather goods — saddles and bar tape as examples — are asked to take charge of that side of things themselves, to keep the workshop a “cruelty-free zone” and the company free from “exploitation-based profits”.

Performance that’s more than just performative

vegan cycling
Photo: The Vegan Cyclist

If you’re looking to take cycling more seriously, a specific vegan riding jersey is a prudent investment, but be aware that it can be difficult to find something suitable amid the sea of Merino-infused garms. The Vegan Cyclist has made the process infinitely easier, while also letting you literally wear your heart on your sleeve, back and chest thanks to the clear branding. Performance hasn’t been negated, with moisture-wicking technology running through every breathable thread.

Be safe, be seen

safety pizzas
Photo: Safety Pizzas

For the safety-conscious cyclist with a sense of humour, Safety Pizza is a handy reflective ‘dangler’ that adds a little fun below the saddle or can be easily attached to a bag. The faux pepperoni slices can be left off, or Safety Avocado is also on offer, for anyone who enjoys leaning into a few lighthearted stereotypes.

Hydration without animal humiliation

nuun
Photo: Nuun

Founded in 2004, Nuun wasn’t originally a vegan-focused company, with some of its hydration tablets not being suitable for those excluding animal-derived ingredients. But with time came a deeper appreciation for the ethics of potential buyers and now, every Nuun product is vegan-friendly. Healthy hydration is just a tablet in your bidon away and on a long ride, you’ll appreciate the extra zing from the extra vitamins included.

A hands-down winner

faux leather tape
Photo: Cinelli

Keen to offer ethical-minded cyclists access to high-end finishing products, Cinelli launched its faux leather bar tape that looks and feels authentic, but has caused no harm to any animals. It performs comparably to traditional tape – preventing hands from slipping — and adds a cushioned feel for long days on the bars. Each tape kit comes with two rolls, finishing strips and end plugs.

Bag it up

vegan bags
Photo: Veganski

Making sustainable pedal straps, belts and even large backpacks, all suitable for vegan riders, Veganski puts a little fun into every ride. The rolltop bags are particularly well thought out and there are plenty of colours to choose from, including camo. For those of you that fancy yourselves more couriers than commuters, the large custom messenger bags are a must-have.

From top to toe

vegan tires
Photo: Panaracer

Something that’s so easy to overlook, but important if you want to stay true to your ethics, the tyres you choose need thought. Brands such as Vittoria, Specialized, Maxxis and Panaracer have all happily confirmed that they manufacture without animal products, but others have been less forthcoming, so be sure to double-check before buying. The range listed above should see you through road, gravel or off-road riding anyway, if you don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of tyre research. You can also ask your local bike shop or frame builder for advice.

Heads-up

vegan helmets
Photo: Thousand Helmets

Finished with vegan leather straps and styled in an attractive retro shape, Thousand Helmets takes the stigma out of staying safe. Available in plenty of colours, these helmets are perfect for all you city riders who want to arrive at your destination looking a little less dishevelled. We can’t guarantee no ‘helmet hair’, but it’s less likely.

Cycling can be a notoriously expensive hobby to get into, but it doesn’t have to cost you your ethics.

Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.