The 'legacy' effect on cycling of holding the Olympics in London began long before the Games even started, said the President of British Cycling.
Brian Cookson OBE, said: “The plans for cycling’s legacy from the UK hosting the Games were underway long before the Olympic torch was lit at the stadium in London. Since the amazing success of our cyclists in Beijing we have been planning for this surge in interest and we’re already starting to reap the rewards."
Numbers of communters and regular (more than twice weekly cyclists) were up from six months ago, and women in particular are taking to two wheels, with 53,000 more women cycling regularly.
Of course, six months ago it was February, and naturally more people cycle in the summer months.
Cookson went on to say: “Britain has fantastic state of the art cycling facilities covering every discipline – be it a velodrome, a closed road circuit or a BMX track. It’s not a case of build it and they will come, we’ve built it and they are coming in their droves, with more new facilities planned over the next 12 months."
These facilities include closed road circuits in cities including Blackpool and Middlesbrough, state-of-the- art velodromes in Bournemouth, and now London and Glasgow, a resurfaced Herne Hill, one of the world’s first permanent indoor BMX tracks in Manchester and an international BMX facility in Birmingham as a legacy from hosting the BMX World Championships.
British Cycling's focus for next year is to provide a velodrome in Derby, closed road circuits in York and Bath (if you want to see that happen, don't forget to make your voice heard - it's very close to our hearts... and homes!), mountain bike facilities in Manchester and Essex and a BMX track in Burgess Park, London.
“And let’s not forget that cycling doesn’t have to be a structured activity, be it cycling to work as a form of transport or going for a family ride on a towpath at the weekend, we are doing all we can to campaign for better road conditions for all cyclists," said Cookson.
“With the continued support of Sport England, UK Sport, Sky, our sponsors, and local authorities, Britain is well on its way to becoming a true cycling nation and our ambitions for the next four year cycle remain high.”
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.