Published: 12 December 2013
More than two million adults in England are now riding bikes at least once a week, the latest results from Sport England’s Active People survey revealed today.
Cycling is now the third most popular sport in England. The news also means that British Cycling has achieved its 2013/14 Sport England participation targets.
Today’s results show that the increase in cycling from April to October 2013 is at 137,000 - which is over three times more than during the same period in 2012.
Welcoming the news, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said: “We’re thrilled with today’s results. The fact that we’ve grown regular cycling numbers three times more this summer than during the summer of London 2012 shows that our legacy of increased participation is really kicking in.
“Most of the increased demand for cycling has come from people doing recreational cycling, road cycling, and mountain biking. The support we have had from our members, our principal partner Sky, Sport England and Local Authority partners in achieving these results has been amazing and we are confident that these newly-converted cyclists will have the dedication to stick with their bikes during the winter months.
“The continued high profile of cycling across Britain – thanks to the successes of the Great Britain Cycling Team and our network of local, accessible cycling opportunities for sport, fun and fitness – are inspiring thousands of people and we remain ambitious to grow cycling even further over the next three years.”
Over the last six months, British Cycling’s work to increase participation in the sport has delivered the following:
- 17 Sky Rides in partnership with our principal partner Sky (city centre, traffic-free rides) attracting over 100,000 people.
- 1,800 local guided rides to help people get to know their local routes and gain confidence to ride regularly.
- A 20% growth in competitive events.
- A 29% growth in personal challenge events, known as sportives.
- 47,000 more young people engaged in quality coaching experiences in our network of Go-Ride Clubs.
- Membership of British Cycling surpassing 85,000 for the first time in the organisation’s history.
- Partnerships with over 60 local authorities which support our work to provide more opportunities to ride and race this year.
The results also show there are some challenges to be tackled. British Cycling earlier this year launched a strategy to tackle the historical gender imbalance in the sport with the ambition of inspiring one million more women to get on their bikes.
Results this year include:
- Over 100,000 women joining our programmes, from taking part in recreational rides through our Breeze network to more women and girls getting involved in racing and clubs.
- A 24% increase in the number of women racing in formal cycle sport events.
Continued perceptions about cycling being an unsafe activity are also having a knock-on effect in preventing people from getting on bikes.
While cycling is as safe as walking, our annual cycling research results show that around 900,000 women would like to take up cycling but are being prevented from doing so because of safety fears.
A lack of confidence to cycle on the roads and not knowing about routes is also a major barrier. British Cycling’s Sky Ride and female-only Breeze programmes aim to allay fears about getting on a bike and can provide people with all the support they need.
More information about British Cycling’s recreational programmes is available here.