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Average trip length and number of trips both up in 2009

CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, has welcomed new government research that it says shows that use of bicycles has grown to “the highest level in decades.”

According to the Department for Transport’s annual National Travel Survey, in 2009, distance travelled per person by bicycle was 46 miles, compared to 42 miles the previous year, with the average trip distance rising from 2.4 miles to 2.8 miles. The number of trips per person remained unchanged at 16, however.

Chris Peck, Policy Coordinator at CTC, said: "We expected that the recession, along with high fuel prices, would lead to an increase in cycling. What is surprising is that the growth is particularly associated with those in the highest income bracket, which may be as a result of the boom in leisure cycling and commuting by bike. The upward trend has been most marked in the south of England, with 8% of inner London residents and one in 25 workers in the South East and South West now saying they cycle to work.”

He continued: “At the same time as cycling is increasing, car use is steadily falling. Expenditure on new cars is down by 13% in three years, while sales of bikes have soared by 25% over the same period."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.