Olympic success gets Brits on their bikes

Olympic success gets Brits on their bikes

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Research commissioned by Sky, in partnership with British Cycling, shows that the British cyclists’ success at the Olympic and Paralympics Games has had a dramatic effect on Briton’s appetite for cycling.

The Sky poll shows more than half of the country has been inspired by the success of the British cycling team to get on their bikes, 70 per cent of non-cyclists believing that Team GB success will have a lasting positive effect as cycling feels the ‘legacy effect’ from London 2012.

The research conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE), mapped the impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Games across a wide range of social and economic factors including cycling awareness and participation.

The research showed that people are increasingly taking up cycling for fun with family and friends. This provides real evidence of the connection between elite sporting success and grassroots participation.

52 per cent of all people indicated that they were motivated to cycle as a result of the achievements of Team GB’s cyclists.

Three times as many people questioned said they were more likely to take up cycling as a result of Team GB achievements following the Olympics than before the Olympics.

87 per cent of those who said they were inspired to cycle by the Games were also encouraging their children to cycle

8,000+ people have joined British Cycling since the start of London 2012

The research shows that London 2012 is also encouraging people to think about cycling in a different way. Increasing numbers of people are seeing cycling not only as a mode of transport but also as a leisure pursuit the whole family can enjoy.

Almost 50 per cent of total cyclists had taken part in mass cycle rides as a result of the Olympic effect, with 56 per cent of Regular Cyclists inspired to do so.

One in four of all respondents said that they were more likely to take a UK cycling holiday as a result of the London 2012 Games, with this rising to 45 per cent for frequent cyclists.

Around 40 per cent of the sample indicated that London 2012 had inspired them to visit a velodrome and organised cycle events as a spectator.

42 per cent said they were inspired to watch or visit other para-cycling events.

The research paper showed that people were spending more on bicycles and bike kit, driven by the excitement around the medals won by British cyclists.

28 per cent of all respondents felt inspired to buy bikes and cycle accessories in the lead-up to the Games.

Retailers reported a surge in demand following the Games. Cycle Surgery, reported a ‘record turnover week’ for road bikes for the second week of the Olympics. Wiggle reported UK traffic to its site leapt by 71 per cent during the Olympic period and online store Very.co.uk reported a 73 per cent jump in sales of bikes to women as a result of the Olympic effect.

The results confirm a resounding degree of support for the sustained growth of cycling in the UK.

Almost 100 per cent believed that the London 2012 Olympic Games will have a lasting effect on cycling participation in the UK.

Over 50 per cent of the group are now motivated to volunteer to support people with a disability to cycle in their local area.

Tricia Thompson, Director of Cycling, Sky, commented: “Right from the beginning of our partnership with British Cycling in 2008 we have been working hard to bring the grassroots and elite sides of cycling closer together. This research shows the first tangible evidence of the connection between the two.”

Ian Drake, CEO, British Cycling, remarked: “The partnership between British Cycling and Sky, unique in sport in this country, has been the key to using Olympic and Paralympic success to encourage huge numbers of people to get on their bikes. Our success in driving participation is no fluke but the product of years of detailed planning and preparation.”

Since 2008, Sky has been the principal partner of British Cycling, with the aim to inspire one million more people to get back on their bikes and cycle more regularly by 2013. The partnership includes a whole range of ways for people to get involved; from large scale traffic-free city events, to local weekly rides, from routes and trails to courses and training. In 2009 Sky announced the formation of Team Sky, the professional road racing team that delivered Britain’s first-ever overall Tour de France victory for Bradley Wiggins in July 2012, three years ahead of the original target. In May this year Sky announced the extension of its partnership with British Cycling until the end of 2016.