Although more than nine in ten people in the UK can cycle, less than half of them ever do, according to new research.
In a poll, conducted by YouGov for the insurers Environmental Transport Association, 45 per cent of British adults said that they never turn a pedal.
Almost one in three hasn’t sat on a bike for a decade or more.
Men are more likely to own a bicycle, have learned to ride it, and cycle more often than women.
Northerners are less likely to have learned to ride a bike, and those that have are less likely to have access to one now, than their southern counterparts.
Richer adults, in the higher social classes ABC1, are more than twice as likely as C2DEs to have never learned to cycle.
Of the total population that can cycle, 12% have done so in the last week. 40% have not cycled at all in five years or longer. Almost one in three (29%), who can cycle, have not done so in a decade or more.
The type of person least likely to cycle is a divorced, retired woman with no children, described as C1DE, living in the West Midlands.
The type of person most likely to cycle is a single, never married, man with two children, 18-24, described as ABC1, living in the south east of England
60 per cent of potential riders have no easy access to a bike, leading to the ETA launching a scheme, Back on a Bike, a community outreach project that allows people the chance to try a comfortable bike in safe surroundings.
Adults of all ages and walks of life, most of whom have ridden, but not in some time, are given a ‘free sample’ of cycling on a well-fitting, high quality bike in a supervised off-road environment.
The ETA Trust is currently running a pilot of the scheme with local groups, businesses and councils, which they then intend to roll out nationwide. Click here for more details.
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.