Cyclists in their 40s and 50s the most active, and fastest, in the UK

Those over the hill are more likely to be riding up and down the other side, according to Strava data

Image: Dan Gould

Cyclists over 50 are the most active bike riders in the UK, according to Strava's annual year report.

The data also showed that it was riders in their 40s and 50s clocking the highest average speeds.

The 'Year in Sport Report' from Strava looked at data from 36 million users, completing over 8.5 billion kilometres of cycling across the world. Around 1 billion of these kilometres, 42.3 million rides, took place in the UK and Ireland.

>>> Nine ways cycling changes when you're over 40

Whilst the quickest runners were between 20 and 29, on the bike the average speed was highest for those in their 40s in England, Wales and Ireland, whilst in Scotland and Northern Ireland it was the silver foxes in their 50s who were fastest.

Those in their 50s were more likely to ride in a group, too - with two thirds regularly meeting up with friends to ride - making them the most sociable of the bike riding crowd. And perhaps contributing to the speed, too (not that this 20-something is bitter about being beaten).

The riders getting out the most, and riding the fastest, also match the average demographic of many active traditional cycling clubs.

It's not clear which comes first in this chicken/egg scenario - there being more riders in their forties and fifties to join clubs, or growth in the age group thanks to the encouragement that comes from finding relatable cycling peers, but Strava certainly believes getting out in groups helps fuel motivation.

“As we hit 2 billion activities uploaded from the community, one thing that stands out especially is the importance of social exercise,” said Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager at Strava.

He added: “Our data shows that sociability dramatically improves motivation - joining a club, setting a goal and exercising in a group - all boost activity. I love seeing that running and cycling activity rates continue to rise as we get older."

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.