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Third of Brits want to cycle more, many to cut their fuel spending

Nearly four in 10 adults are planning to cycle more to cut their fuel expenditure, new survey suggests

Plenty of Brits are considering tackling their fuel spending by taking more journeys by bike, with as many as 30 per cent excited to rediscover two-wheeled journeys, according to a study by online cycling retailer Chain Reaction.

The research published in the Independent newspaper saw 2,000 adults surveyed, finding that nearly four in 10 are planning to cut their fuel spend by cycling more of their journeys.

Nearly half (48 per cent) wanted to cycle more than they currently do, with 30 per cent excited to rediscover the joy of cycling, and 44 per cent after more exercise and 40 per cent seeking more fresh air.

Of the reasons why those who had not cycled for at least 12 months had avoided it, 18 per cent said they lacked the confidence, while five per cent did not think they had enough time to repair their old bicycle.

Old bicycles knocking around the garage was a common theme in the responses. About 40 per cent said they had an old bike that could be restored to road-worthy condition, while 23 per cent said they would prefer to restore their old bike rather than buying a new one.

Chiswick High Road 02 copyright Simon MacMichael

In total, 36 per cent said their bike was not in a roadworthy state, but 89 per cent believed it only needed minor tweaks to make it safe. 

Of the 2,000 surveyed, nearly two thirds (63 per cent) said they had sought alternative methods of travel other than their car in the last three months.

The study comes a month after figures published by the Department for Transport as part of its National Travel Survey showed that the average person in England made two per cent of their trips by bicycle between November 2020 and November 2021, while the average number of trips made by bike dropped to 15, down from a high of 20 the previous year.

The figures also showed that the percentage of people who cycle at least once a week for any purpose has fallen from 11.6 per cent to 9.1 per cent, with the average annual mileage covered by bike dropping by 33 miles to 55 miles (a figure more in keeping with pre-pandemic trends, but still much higher than the 39 miles per person recorded in 2002).

Cycling UK responded to the figures by arguing the fall to pre-pandemic levels in England was due to "short-sighted" councils removing protected bike lanes during the initial Covid lockdown.

Also last month, the chief executive of the Go-Ahead Group, one of the UK's largest public transport companies, urged the British government to banish cars from urban roads and instead aspire to the Netherlands' cycling-friendly cities, ultimately to encourage more cycling journeys.

What do you make of Chain Reaction's study? What would help get more people ditching their vehicles for two-wheeled journeys? Let us know in the comments...

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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