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5 million "inspired to buy bike" in past year, says British Cycling

Governing body urges people to cycle to work as lockdown eases

New research from British Cycling suggests that since the first national lockdown came into effect in March last year, more than 5 million Britons “have been inspired” to buy a bike, providing further confirmation of the boost that the pandemic has given to using two wheels to get around.

The survey of 2,0002 UK adults aged 18-plus and 500 key workers aged 18-plus, carried out by Censuswide from 23-31 March 2021, also found that 11 per cent of respondents plan to commute by bike when they return to work.

But with an estimated 20 million people saying that they expect to travel to work by car once restrictions are eased, HSBC and British Cycling are calling for safer routes for those aiming to get to their workplace by bike.

The research also found that 34 per cent of people were motivated to cycle due to the mental health benefits, and 44 per cent to help with their physical fitness.

The survey of 2,0002 UK adults aged 18-plus and 500 key workers aged 18-plus was carried out by Censuswide from 23-31 March.  

Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Olympic champion and HSBC UK and British Cycling partnership ambassador, commented, “Many people are held back from cycling by thinking their commute is too long (26 per cent) or they aren’t fit enough, but no matter what your fitness level, you’ll surprise yourself and be able to cycle five miles – which takes about 30-45 minutes.

With 30 per cent of respondents citing concerns over safety on the roads while cycling, Hoy has provided some safety tips for novices, which can be found here.

“With the right planning and preparation, cycling could be the answer for a quicker commute that helps you get fitter, healthier and greener,” he added.

Other findings of the survey include that commuters worry about taking public transport, with 41 per cent expressing concern regarding being in an overcrowded space and 36 per cent on touching shared surfaces.

Sam Robson, Head of the HSBC UK and British Cycling partnership, said: “Building back from the pandemic is a pivotal moment to make cycling a sustained lifestyle choice, with employers playing an important role in helping their people choose cycling as part of their commute.

“In fact, more than a third (36 per cent) of key workers who have continued to commute through the pandemic would be more likely to cycle to work if initiatives and facilities were actively provided by their employer.

“Through the partnership we have inspired more than 2 million people to get on their bike, including over 10,000 colleagues using our Get Active digital hub, and we hope to encourage even more people as part of the UK’s recovery and return to the workplace.”

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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