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Price of a bike has risen - but the average is still only £233

Brits are spending more on their bikes than they have been in the last eight years - but they aren’t buying nearly so many of them.

Bike sales have risen in value by £106m since 2008, but the number bought per year has dropped from 3.6 million to 3.2 million.

One explanation for the increased spending could be the rise in popularity of performance road bikes, which can cost twice as much as their urban or hybrid equivalents.

Despite that, the average price of a bike is still only £233, up from £206 in 2012.

Michael Oliver, senior leisure and media analyst at Mintel, which commissioned the report, said: "There is no doubt that Britain's cyclists have become more selective about the quality of bike they are prepared to ride, with the average cost of a bike purchased rising in value.

"In part this is due to the decline in availability of very cheap – and usually poor quality – bicycles which have flooded the UK market in the past. However, there is little doubt that consumers buying bicycles in the UK are gradually recognising that one gets what one pays for, and that it is worth spending a little more to get a good quality product.”

Just over 35 per cent of Britons are cyclists, while as many as half of 25- to 34-year-olds cycle – making this Britain's key cycling group.

By region, London (45 per cent) is the nation's cycling capital, while it has the least appeal in the South West and Wales (30 per cent) and the North West and Scotland (31 per cent).

Other findings from the report included a figure of 1 in 20 never having ridden a bike - and having no intention ever to do so. One in three said the roads were too dangerous to ride on.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.