Cycling Rentals is a "Clean & Safe" certified business! We are following the strict Health & Safety guidelines issued by the National Health & Tourism Institutes of Portugal. What does this mean for you if you plan on cycling with us?
Cycling Rentals is doing everything to ensure your experience is not only fun and unforgettable, but also clean and safe from Corona-virus. Specifically we are following the Clean & Safe protocol established by the Tourism Institute of Portugal:
Ou staff have received specific information and / or training on:
When it comes to the circular economy, waste prevention is king. After all, reducing the amount of waste we generate and finding new ways to reuse materials are what will lead us to a more sustainable future. However, the tricky part is how to get there.
Fortunately, the rise of the sharing economy and access to affordable digital tools make it easier than ever before for businesses to leverage rentals as a way to increase their asset utilization. In this article, we’ll explore why renting assets will be essential for companies that want to execute on a circular business model and why you should do so as well.
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What is the circular economy?
The circular economy is exactly what it sounds like: we’re moving away from linear consumption and production cycles and towards closed-loop systems that allow materials to be cycled back through our economy again and again. The theory behind the circular economy is that the resources we use for goods and services can be reused indefinitely if we design systems that allow for continuous reuse. This is different from a traditional linear economy where the lifecycle of natural resources is finite, and use of those materials is unsustainable.
Why renting is essential for a circular economy
The rise of co-working, shared office spaces, and peer-to-peer marketplaces have made it easier than ever before for companies to get started with asset-light models. However, it’s important to think beyond just having easy access to these assets. While renting makes it easy to get access to the resources you need to run your business, it also helps maximize the lifespan of your assets. This is where renting can be truly transformative for the circular economy.
How does the circular economy benefit businesses?
By moving towards a circular economy, companies can reduce costs associated with purchasing new goods and increase their profit margins. This is because rental businesses can charge for the full cost of goods. Multiple studies and articles outline how the majority of goods will be rented in the future. If you want to take advantage of this shift and implement a circular model in your business, then it’s essential you start renting your assets.
3 ways bicycle rentals are helping companies move to a circular economy
Bicycle rentals are a great example of how asset rentals are helping businesses move to a more circular economy. Bike sharing has become hugely popular in many cities around the world and it’s predicted that the industry will grow to be worth almost $7 billion by 2022. There are a number of ways bicycle rentals are contributing to a circular economy.
1 - Rentals reduce the need to buy new bicycles
They help increase mobility and access to goods, and they reduce CO2 emissions from people taking cars to run simple errands.
2 - Bicycle rentals can extend the life of old bikes
When properly managed, a rental bicycle can have a second or third or even fourth life after the initial rental use is over. Because rental bicycles are typically professionally maintained, they can last a very long time and be reused by hundreds of happy riders.
3 - Ebike rentals allow people to opt out of car use
With the growing availability of rental ebikes, which are typically high price items, more and more non-cyclists are now able to experience the joy of bicycle touring and commuting, making car ownership and use less of a necessity for modern life.
2 reasons more businesses should embrace asset rentals
If you’re still not convinced that more businesses should embrace asset rentals, here are two reasons why you should be using them. -
Maximize asset utilization.
It’s estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of the world’s assets are used at any given time. This means that many assets go completely unused. By renting out the assets you already own, you’ll be able to use them more and extend their lifespan.
Expand your customer base.
By renting out assets to new customers, you can expand your customer base and bring in more revenue. This can also help you build a loyal customer base by providing them with more value.
The bottom line is that the circular economy is good for both the environment and businesses. But it requires a massive shift in mindset from a consumer mentality to user mentality. In order to make this happen, we’ll need to change how we present ownership versus use and experience.
By adopting a different mindset and prioritizing long-term use over short-term gains, we can begin to see real progress. The key will be to maximize the utilization of our assets through the use of digital tools and access to rental markets. For businesses, this means moving away from a “buy and own” model towards a “rent and share” model that better supports a circular economy.
When in comes to bicycle maintenance, there is one unavoidable task to make sure you can keep on pedaling - oiling your chain - unless of course you have taken the high road with a belt or shaft drive!
At Cycling Rentals we wash, lube and tune a great many bikes throughout the year and that means a lot of bike washing, and a lot of oil residue running down the drain (although we actually use a decantation separator in our bike wash unit).
Right from the start we knew this was a serious concern for us and opted for a totally biodegradable chain lube that guarantees top performance on the the bike and low or no harmful impact on the environment.
As you ride through Portugal, particularly the Alentejo and Algarve regions, you will see gnarly, reddish rather sculptural but ugly oak trees sporting large numbers in white paint on their trunks.
These are the Quercus suber, an evergreen Oak tree, dropping acorns and growing a thick bark that is commonly known as cork. It is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and a multitude of other uses, such as cork flooring and as the cores of cricket balls.
Portugal produces about half the world output of commercial cork! Here's a brief summary of the billion dollar cork industry in Portugal.
Cork Oak is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa where it is well suited to this climate: An abundant and evenly distributed rainfall, short summer dry periods tempered by atmospheric humidity, very mild winters, clear skies and plenty of sunshine, very permeable, moist and deep siliceous soils.
A fascinating and important tree, Cork Oaks can support diverse ecosystems and for this reason are a protected species, with their harvesting process being heavily legislated and regulated in Portugal. The species, which covers approximately 8 percent of the total area of Portugal and constitutes 28 percent of its forests, grows best in the central and southern parts of the country where the largest stands supplying the greatest percentage of high-grade cork are to be found.
Every year from Mid May to Mid August, well-trained seasonal harvesters stage their harvest of the Cork Oak in Portugal. Once a tree is about 25 years old it can be harvested for its ‘virgin cork’ and then every 9 years after the cork ‘bark’ is harvested, and the year is marked on the tree with the last number of that year (ie. A tree harvested this summer will be painted with a 9). Portuguese law prohibits stripping the trees more than once every nine years in order to protect the species. 38 year old bark (roughly the third harvest) is when the bark becomes of high enough quality to produce wine stoppers.
The harvest of the height of the tree is determined by the diameter, if the tree is 1 metre in diameter, you can harvest three metres of the height of the tree. A Cork Oak lives for about 150 - 200 years on average meaning that it will be harvested about 15 times over its lifecycle.
After harvest, trucks carry the cork to plants to be stabilised and prepared for cork stopper and other production processes. First, the slabs of bark are pressed under concrete slabs for 6 months, the cork is then sterilized using a big boiler. Next, the cork is classified into quality grades for different uses, with experienced cork workers visually assessing the quality of the bark. Wine cork stoppers are made in the north of Portugal and then exported all over Europe. The residual cork wood can be used for flooring and building materials (see other uses below) but also a new market in cork-based eco-fashion has become a trend in recent years.
The European cork industry produces 300,000 tonnes of cork a year, with a value of €1.5 billion and employing 30,000 people. Wine corks represent 15% of cork usage by weight but 66% of revenues.
Of the producing countries, Portugal, plays an important part in the industrial utilization of cork, and so rightly occupies the foremost position. It has 500 factories, which employ about 20,000 workers, equipped with the latest machinery and utilizing the latest technological advances, enabling the industry to meet the demand for any product. This industry produces stoppers, discs, different types of floats, shoe soles, printing paper, cigarette tips, bath mats, table mats, hat bands, fishing rod handles, different kinds of packing. Cork wool is produced for cushions and mattresses and granulated cork employed chiefly as insulating material in ship-building, as a protective packing for fruit and eggs, and as tubing for plastic substances.
The Biggest Tree
Near the Portuguese town of Águas de Moura the Sobreiro Monumental (Monumental Cork Oak) is located, a tree of 234 years old, 16 metres (52 ft) tall and with a trunk that requires at least five people to embrace it. It has been considered a National Monument since 1988, and the Guinness Book of Records states it as the largest and oldest in the world.
Vanya is a part-time cycling tour guide, part-time food blogger/writer and full-time food savant. She also loves cork.