Cycling, Great Britain’s most successful sport at the London 2012 Olympic Games, tops the list of sports funding announced today by Sport England, with British Cycling getting £32 million over the period 2013-17 to fund grassroots initiatives. There’s more cash on the way for everyday cycling too, between £100 million and £150 million of it.
Transport Minister Norman Baker has previously said that Prime Minister David Cameron will be making a major announcement on cycling in the new year.
Carlton Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz, who is plugged into a number of government sources, says he has it on “good authority” that £100 million-plus - perhaps as much as £150 million, the details are still being ironed out - will be made available.
The announcement of the funding was originally due to have been made last month, but will now be revealed by Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, in February or March and is additional to money already announced.
It’s still a lot less than the annual spend estimated at between £10 and £20 that is said to go on cycling in the Netherlands, but it would be a step in the right direction.
With three British riders – Sir Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish and now, Bradley Wiggins – having won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the past five years, the funding announced today, which puts cycling ahead of football on £30 million, amply demonstrates that cycling can no longer be viewed as a minority sport.
During the last round of Sport England funding, from 2009-13, cycling got £24.7 million, putting it behind football, rugby union and cricket, which headed the list with £35.2 million, although that has been slashed now to £20.0 million. A full sport-by-sport breakdown can be found here.
Welcoming the funding, British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said: “Today’s Sport England funding announcement is a recognition of the good work done by British Cycling members and volunteers in driving grassroots participation and a challenge for us to do even better in the next four years.
“Whether it is for winning medals or for getting people active, we are proud of our record of delivering value for lottery funding and we take the responsibility very seriously.
“There is still a great deal of work to do in making cycling in this country better. We’re looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Included in the £32 million of funding is £6.4 million to develop young talent – some 3,000 riders will benefit, with the very best potentially going on to ride at the Olympic or Parlalympic Games – and £7 million that will go towards improving facilities, including traffic-free cycling centres.
Sport England Director of Sport, Phil Smith, commented: “British Cycling has already got hundreds of thousands of people back on their bikes and we’re backing their vision to inspire even more people to ride their bikes more often over the coming four years. We will also continue to invest heavily in the sport’s excellent work with talented young riders that has helped to produce champions such as Laura Trott and Jason Kenny in recent years.
“We also welcome British Cycling’s commitment to work with other cycling organisations and local authorities.”
According to British Cycling, its key grassroots achievements for 2009-13 include:
· Rise in participation - Over 200,000 more people are now cycling at least once per week than were in October 2011. British Cycling is exceeding the ambitious growth target set by Sport England four years ago by over 75,000. This brings the total number of people in England now cycling at least once per week to just under two million.
· Women’s cycling - The number of women cycling has risen dramatically in the last 12 months – almost 63,000 more women are cycling regularly. British Cycling’s Breeze programme offering female-only led bike rides has contributed to this rise, as have the inspirational performances by our female cyclists this year.
· Inclusive sport - Participation amongst the number of people with a long term disability has also increased by almost 15,000 in the last 12 months.
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.