Driven out of public transport by overcrowding and squalor, and out of cars by congestion, two million new cycle commuters are set to take to the roads this spring, and three times that number of new cyclists will be out on their bikes for the first time.
That’s the optimistic claim arising from new research by Cycle to Work provider Cyclescheme.co.uk.
Commuters are apparently fed up of the frustrations of public transport. Half of those surveyed admit to being frequently late for meetings due to public transport, and one in twenty say they have been pickpocketed on their way to work.
And then there’s the ick factor of cramming on to buses and trains. A quarter have had a passengers’ armpit in their face, whilst a third have smelt a stranger’s morning breath.
More seriously, surveys show as many as 30 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment on public transport, an experienced that’s especially distressing when its impossible to get away.
Cyclescheme says one in ten Brits plan to change their journey to work in some way this spring. Two million people plan to ‘spring clean their commute’ by cycling to work for the first time.
Spring is the best time to try a new activity, according to psychologist Dr Anjula Mutanda. Research shows three in four people plan to make a ‘spring resolution’ this year, rather than New Year’s.
Dr Mutanda said: “Spring signals nature’s new start and we aren’t immune from it. The physiological affect on mood as well as positive associations with spring as a time of renewal make us want to engage in something new.
“Spring is perfect for new goals like cycling to work, because there is greater synchronicity between our physical environment and our mindset.”
As administered by Cyclescheme and its partner organisations in the Cycle to Work Alliance, the Cycle to Work scheme provides a tax break of 25 to 42 percent for the purchase of a new bike and accessories.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.