Cycling if often seen as an inherently ecological activity. As a method of transport, it is almost carbon-neutral with next-to-zero impact on the environment. Why is it not completely impact free, as is often touted by cycling enthusiasts and environmentalists alike? Primarily because impact from production methods still exist, which goes hand-in-hand with a negative human cost from the use of sweatshop labour.
Enter Veleco, a company looking to begin bridging the gap between minimal environmental harm to impact-free. Veleco are a cyclewear and clothing company based in Brighton, UK, and founded by cycling enthusiasts Jamie Lloyd and John Lewis. The pair had previously worked together on ethical sports venture, Fair Corp, and Veleco is the next logical step.
Jamie and John started the company on the grounds that they “couldn't find cyclewear anywhere in the world that [they] thought was truly eco and ethical.” Veleco now stocks a large range of t-shirts and hoodies, as well as more specialised cycling attire such as caps, cycling shorts, musette bags, and a cycling jacket. All of these items are made using Fairtrade-certified materials, or, where possible, recycled materials, and are carbon-neutral in their production. Workers are fairly paid, and premiums are paid on specific items which fund health, welfare, and education projects for workers and their families. All products are currently vegan-friendly as well.
Take the example of the Re:Cycle Softshell Cycling Jacket, a product that has all the high-quality design and features of large-scale competitive companies' jackets, yet is produced fairly, positively impacts the environment (it's made from twelve recycled plastic bottles), and looks stylish to boot. At £75, the product is competitively priced too.
The company also offers a range of accessories and extra products besides cyclewear, such as wallets created with recycled materials, and Nikwax, a waterproofer that's eco-friendly and animal-testing free.
With a new collection being developed shortly, the future is looking strong for Veleco. This could mean cycling could finally achieve its status as a truly zero-impact activity. Unless of course your name is Ed Orcutt, in which case I'm sorry for breathing whilst riding my bike...