Around 113,000 more people are cycling at least once a week compared to a year ago, according to the ‘Active People’ survey undertaken by Sport England.
British Cycling, the national governing body for cycle sport in the UK, had set a target for 125,000 more people cycling at least once a week by 2013, and are now just 12,000 short of that figure three years early.
Ian Drake, CEO of British Cycling, said: “We are delighted with the results of the 2008-2009 Active People Survey, published today by Sport England, which shows a significant rise in the number of people participating in cycling over the past 12 months.
“At the beginning of this year we set ourselves the target of getting 125,000 more people cycling at least once a week by 2013. Today we have almost reached this target three years ahead of schedule with 113,000 more people cycling at least once a week (total of 1.88 million) in the first six months of our 2009 – 2013 Whole Sport Plan.
“Our vision to inspire participation in cycling through achieving worldwide success is clearly working as our athletes continue delivering impressive performances and establishing themselves as sporting role models.”
Part of this increase in the popularity of cycling has been attributed to Britain’s success in the sport on the world stage, with Team GB’s Beijing Olympics medal haul and the continued success of British road stars Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.
The results of the study did not include cycling for travel purposes, so cannot be attributed to the rise in use of cycles as commuter transport.
The survey looked at the way that people across England take part in a range of sports to look at changes in the way we exercise. Analysis of the results showed that non-organised and relatively inexpensive sports such as cycling and athletics/jogging are increasing in popularity while more expensive pursuits, such as golf, are declining.
The Active People survey took place between 15 October 2008 and 14 October 2009. The full results of the survey are available on the Sport England website.