Over two-thirds of parents believe that learning to ride a bike is a vital life skill, according to a Cycling UK study commissioned to mark the launch of The Big Bike Revival. The charity contrasts this enthusiasm with the number of journeys currently being made by bike, which remains at a stubbornly low level of just two per cent according to official Government figures.
The poll, carried out by YouGov, found that 82 per cent of parents have taught their children to ride bike with 70 per cent of those consider it a vital life skill.
The top five reasons why parents teach their children to ride a bike:
Despite this, a huge gap remains between those who can and do ride bikes regularly.
The poll found that 41 per cent of people who can cycle would be encouraged to ride more if they could find a group of people of a similar standard to cycle with, while 47 per cent lack the confidence to carry out basic repairs to a bike, like fixing a puncture or checking their brakes.
James Scott, Cycling UK’s Director of Development and Behaviour Change, said: “This survey shows there is clearly a massive disconnect between the numbers of people who can ride a bike and those who do so regularly.
“In many cases, it comes down to confidence, whether that’s through a lack of basic bike maintenance skills or being unable to find like-minded people to ride with.
“We know from experience, for example, that many people worry about encountering a mechanical problem while cycling and being left stranded on the side of the road.
“We also know that creating community clubs of riders of a similar standard can offer real encouragement to get people cycling regularly.”
The Big Bike Revival, which launches across England today, is an attempt to encourage more people out on their bikes.
Funded by the Department of Transport, events run over a three-month period and will include free maintenance sessions to get people’s bikes back into working order, group rides and skills sessions to help people build the confidence to ride.
You can find events near you via the website.
Jenny Box, Head of Behaviour Change and Development in England, said: “We know that around nine out of ten people in the UK were taught how to ride a bike, but too few of us are cycling.
“The evidence is clear that cycling is not only good for your health, both physical and mental, but it’s a cheap mode of transport, reduces traffic congestion and helps improve air quality.
“The Big Bike Revival is all about tackling those barriers that are stopping people from riding. So if that’s you, come along to a one of our events and see how cycling can change your life.”