“Cycling in this country has never been in better health,” British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake said today following the publication of Sport England’s Active People results, which show that 161,000 more people are cycling now than six months ago.
The news of the growth in participation follows the continuing success of British Cycling’s annual Sky Rides – mass traffic-free bikes rides typically attended by thousands of cyclists and their families. Last year, over 200,000 people took part in Sky Ride events across the UK.
Today’s Sport England figures also show that participation among women has risen - 54,000 more women are cycling now than six months ago. This is thanks to initiatives like Breeze – a British Cycling scheme aimed specifically at getting women back on their bikes.
The figures also show that there has been an increase in participation among people with a disability.
British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said: “Cycling in this country has never been in better health.
“We’re on course to achieve our target of delivering a sustainable participation legacy before London 2012 thanks to our partnerships with Sport England, Sky and local authorities, without whom we would not be seeing these results today. These successes are also a credit to the fantastic work of our volunteers – at regional, club and event level – without whom our sport would not function.
“Grassroots initiatives like Sky Ride and Breeze are continuing to inspire people to get on their bikes and enjoy life on two wheels and it is particularly encouraging to see a rise in women’s participation.
“At the start of what could be British Cycling’s greatest summer, our ambitions remain high and the focus is on maintaining momentum and continuing to build on our success over the next Whole Sport Plan period 2013 to 2017.
“Membership is at record levels and our riders are aiming for success in the Tour de France and at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.”
The results announced today represent an almost 81,000 increase in the number of people cycling since 2010/11. The growth target set by Sport England for British Cycling (2009 – 13) is 150,000 more people cycling at least once a week. British Cycling is currently exceeding this target and is committed to inspire thousands more, in this special Olympic year, to take to their bikes.
British Cycling has also seen a sustainable growth in the number of people taking part in sportives and competitive cycling. Over 20,000 people are now regularly racing across all disciplines and almost 3,500 competitive cycling events now take place each year.
Cycling events for young people are also on the rise. 100 Go-Ride clubs have signed up to take part in the Go-Ride Games - a national summer festival of cycling for young people. Last year, British Cycling delivered over 100,000 opportunities for young people to get into cycling.
British Cycling also today revealed that its membership has grown by another 1,000 in the last month – taking the total membership count to almost 50,000.
Sport England’s cycling specific results, as well as figures for other sports, can be viewed on their website here.