Japan is the land of the shopping bicycle, and if you are anything like me you can’t help but smile as you watch a Japanese mother cycle effortlessly past you wearing Jimmy Choos and with two kids on board. When mothers around the world are packing their kids into fuel guzzling, emission belching SUVs, I tip my green hat to the stylish and eco-friendly mama chari and all the mothers who pedal in Tokyo.
But how does she make it look so easy? The answer: an electric bicycle. Even if you don’t have kids, these power-assisted bikes make hills and getting around town without working up a big sweat a breeze. Between the amazing train network and the electric bike, you can bid sayonara to yourrage-inducing four wheels and say hello to spring cycling.
Well known electronics brand Sanyo has been a leader in recent years with its energy conscious products. Most people are probably familiar with the rechargeable Eneloop batteries and accessories, but may not know that the company also makes electric bikes.
Sanyo first launched its Eneloop (‘energy loop’) bikes in February 2009, and just last month released the upscale sporty models of the CY-SPK 227 mountain bike and CY-SPJ 220 collapsible bike in response to consumer demands for more sophisticated and energy efficient bikes. Both have the exclusive technology of the ‘loop charge function,’ which allows electricity to be generated during downhill coasting and deceleration. Now that’s cool, clean and green technology.
Those who own an Eneloop bike and live in Setagaya will happy to learn about a new bike parking lot. Eliminating the use of fossil fuels, Sanyo has recently completed building a clean solar bike parking lot that is able to recharge the lithium batteries of 40 electric hybrid Eneloop bikes, as well as illuminate the parking lot lights.
The season of renewal, spring in Tokyo brings the much anticipated flowers, but also the accompanying showers. Whether you are on your electric bike or jumping puddles on foot, you’ll be gleeful in your Coral rain boots. Coral’s are green through and through, being handmade in small production right here in Japan from durable non-Amazon harvested natural rubber. Available in black and dark brown with contrasting accents of orange or purple, these style conscious boots have a zip with a water guard at the back to accommodate pant legs easily and to keep you dry and warm (¥24,990, available at The Cover Nippon in Tokyo Midtown and Claska in Shibuya Parco and Meguro). For more information visit www.turbo-drive.jp/coral.
Those who are inspired to engage with fellow eco-warriors in Tokyo should check out the Green Leaders Forum held at monthly at the British Council in Shinjuku. Often held in both English and Japanese, these free learning and networking events are for leading thinkers and practitioners from business, NGOs and government, as well as entrepreneurs, media, students, and those with a general interest in the fields of sustainability, clean tech, the environment and society, energy and climate change, corporate social responsibility (CSR), socially responsible investment (SRI), and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG). Upcoming forums include Green Money & Social Entrepreneurs (May 10) and E-Ideas for Eco- Cities (June 7, 7–9pm). For more information visit www.equalc.com/events.
photo courtesy by Coral and Sanyo respectively