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Sport England survey finds twice as many people cycle for leisure than for travel

200,000 adults aged 16 and over took part in huge survey

A new survey from Sport England suggests that there are twice as many leisure cyclists in the country than people who use bicycles as a form of transport.

The finding comes from the Active Lives survey, published last week, and which has what in market research terms must be considered a huge sample size.

A whopping 200,000 adults aged 16 or above participated in the survey, which covers the 12 months to mid-November 2016.

The survey replaces the former Active People Survey and, for the first time, includes cycling for travel as well as leisure.

It says that 15 per cent of people cycle for leisure and sport, while 7 per cent cycle as a means of transport (some, of course, will do both).

Men are two and a half times more likely to cycle for travel than women are, at 10 per cent versus 4 per cent.

When it comes to cycling for leisure and sport, however, the gap is narrower, at 19 per cent compared to 11 per cent.

Walking is also included for the first time, and the survey found that women are more likely than men to walk for both leisure (44 per cent versus 38 per cent) and travel (34 per cent versus 30 per cent).

As with any survey, the results need to be treated with some caution. They reflect “the proportion of adults taking part at least twice (at moderate intensity for the equivalent of 30 minutes) in the last 28 days in the broad groupings of activity that make up sport and physical activity.”

So someone who commutes by bike to their work or place of study, for example, would be counted in the same way as someone who, say, hops on their bike once a fortnight for a ride around their local park.

One in four people in England (25.7 per cent) do 30 minutes’ physical activity a week or less, including walking, while a further 13.7 per cent are described as “fairly active” but fail to reach 150 minutes’ activity.

The remaining 60.7 per cent are active for 150 minutes or more each week, in line with the recommendation of the government’s chief medical officer.

The Active Lives survey is an ongoing project, with the next wave of results due to be released in September.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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