British Cycling has today released new figures which it says show that it is growing at an unprecedented rate on the same day that Sport England figures show that cycling is the second fastest growing sport in Britain.
For the first time ever today, British Cycling has more than 25,000 members. In addition, 13,000 cyclists also hold racing licences – more than at any time since British Cycling’s formation in 1959.
At the beginning of its current funding cycle in 2005, British Cycling had 15,000 members and 8,500 cyclists with racing licences.
British Cycling president Brian Cookson OBE said “25,000 members and 13,000 licence holders is a real milestone for British Cycling and is a great way to end what has been a fantastic year for us. Our membership growth is testament to the hard work and dedication of all our volunteers at a national, regional and club level and I would like to personally thank everyone for the contribution they have made to British Cycling’s growth.”
The news comes as Sport England’s latest Active People Survey (2007/2008) revealed today that 1,767,200 people, or 4.26% of the population, cycle at least once per week for more than 30 minutes. That is an increase of 132,000 people since 2005/6 and reveals cycling as the second fastest growing sport in the country. The survey showed that, combined, sport and recreational cycling had an increase of 334,700 participants over the period.
However while British Cycling sees the latest membership figures as a milestone to be celebrated according to chief exective designate, Ian Drake there is plenty more to aim for: “This is a unique moment in time for cycling, from our success in Beijing in the summer through to the immense number of people getting involved in the sport. When you take cycling as a sport, recreational activity and form of transport it would easily make cycling the number one and fastest growing activity in England.”
“However, I believe that this is just the beginning. We are now awaiting confirmation of funding from Sport England to allow us to grow our programmes and to grow the sport even more between 2009 and 2013. With the anticipated support from Sport England combined with our partnership with BSKYB, British Cycling has the potential to make the single biggest contribution to more people playing sport in the run up to London 2012 and beyond.”
According to British Cycling figures the number and variety of cycling events available for all sorts of cyclists to take part in has also grown rapidly in recent years under the umbrella of British Cycling. Between 2005 and 2007 there has been a 14% rise in the number of competitive events and a 47% increase in non-competitive events. The number of people taking part in these events has risen by 48% and 255% respectively.
Last year more than 2,500 cycling events were affiliated to British Cycling. There are also around 1400 cycling clubs throughout the country affiliated to British Cycling. To find information about clubs and events near you visit www.britishcycling.org.uk.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.