British Cycling says that its membership has risen by 50 per cent to pass 75,000 people since Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory last July, with the man who hopes to succeed him to the title next month, Chris Froome, saying it proves that “cycling has officially hit the mainstream.”
Last July, British Cycling saw one of its highest ever months of new joiners, with 2,400 people signing up, but that has accelerated since then with an average of 2,800 people joining in each of the subsequent nine months. In part, that’s due to Great Britain’s success at London 2012, but interest is continuing to grow.
The governing body says that “this unprecedented growth has been achieved through the continued development of new opportunities and support for anyone to start and to stay cycling – whether that be commuting, recreation or sport – ensuring that the inspiration created by our cycling stars is transferred into more people cycling at all levels, delivering on our vision of ‘inspiration to participation’.”
British Cycling president Brian Cookson, currently campaigning to succeed Pat McQuaid as UCI president, commented: “There is no question that cycling is the sport that redefined our national sporting identity last year with unprecedented success across all areas.
“The fact that our membership now stands at an all time high of 75,000 will only help us to increase our influence for the good of cycling in this country.
“With just 10 days to go until Tour favourite Chris Froome sets off in Corsica, we’re thrilled that cycling fever is still gripping the nation long after the closing ceremonies in London.”
Froome, added: “Cycling in this country has really hit the mainstream; there has never been a better time to be part of our great sport, whatever you ride.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved, riding their bikes and encouraging family and friends to join them. I’m really pleased that British Cycling now has 75,000 members – and the more people that join us the stronger we become.”
Tying in with the announcement that it had passed the 75,000 mark, British Cycling has launched a celebration of its members (more details here), with Performance Director Sir Dave Brailsford, also Team Principal at Sky Procycling, saying:
“This is a big, big day and a big stepping stone for British Cycling. I’d like to thank all of the members, volunteers, clubs for the contribution they made and the continued involvement that they have with British Cycling.”
The organisation has also revealed some key facts about its membership:
• What type: Around half of British Cycling members take part in some form of off-road cycling. Nine in 10 British Cycling members participate in some form of road cycling.
• Motivations: More than 65% of British Cycling members say they joined British Cycling to support the work the sports governing body is doing for cyclists at all levels. Around 60% say they joined British Cycling for liability insurance benefits.
• How they ride: British Cycling supports cyclists of all types. Racing cyclists make up 58% of British Cycling’s membership with commuters, sportive and leisure riders making up the remaining 42%.
• Gender: Female membership has more than doubled in the last two years. There are almost 11,000 female members currently versus 5,000 in 2011. British Cycling is on target to achieve 25,000 female members by 2017.
• Age: More than 15,000 British Cycling members are aged under 25. The average age of a member is 39.
It also highlighted its key achievements during the past year:
• Growing British Cycling’s membership by over 26,000 members in the past year, surging from 49,000 to over 75,000 members.
• This amounts to a 54% year on year growth in the number of member (50% growth since Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory in 2012).
• Winning 16 gold medals (eight in the Olympics, eight in the Paralympics) at London 2012.
• A first British winner of the Tour de France.
• Inspiring a million more people to take up cycling since 2009.
• Being named as the Sports Governing Body of the Year at the Sports Industry Awards.
• Supporting a surge in new cycling clubs – 100 new clubs have formed in the past 12 months bringing the total number of clubs in Great Britain to 1,700.
• More people participating in personal challenge rides – over 76,500 riders have participated in non competitive events so far this year, equating to a 30% increase on last year.
• More cyclists competing in more events - there are almost 3,500 cycling events taking place each year with over 170,000 people racing.
• More young people competing - Over 359,000 opportunities for young people to experience coaching and competition have been delivered through the Go-Ride Programme since 2009.
• The launch of a new strategy to get one million more women cycling by 2020.
• Bringing international events to the UK – Manchester is hosting the Track World Cup in November and British Cycling is bidding to host the 2016 Track host the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Championships at the London 2012 Velodrome
• Standing up for the issues that matter to cyclists – British Cycling is part of the government’s justice review group, and the cycling stakeholder forum set up by the Department for Transport. The Mayor of London recently consulted British Cycling on his cycling vision for the capital.
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.