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Strava data confirms more people cycling in London during lockdown

Cycling is on the rise in the capital - both indoors and outdoors

Londoners are cycling more because of the coronavirus pandemic, new data has confirmed.

The fitness app behind the analysis says it believes the rise is partly down to the fact that more women have begun riding their bikes on the quieter streets during the lockdowns. 

While the information might not come as a surprise to many, data from Strava shows cycling has increased by more than 35 per cent in the capital and 50 per cent in the South East.  

The figures also show that in February 2021, there was a huge upturn in the number of people getting out and about walking with 6.3 times more walkers in London and the South East compared to the same time last year.

Speaking to the BBC, Nicola Hobbs said she was forced to shield for 12 weeks last March due to her asthma. She only discovered later during a conversation with her GP that she did not need to shield at all, and had been the victim of a clerical error.

Now she says she is making up for lost time and has started to cycle.

She said: "I'll keep cycling and keep encouraging people to cycle as well.

"I think once your fear levels drop or you become accustomed to traffic, it's much easier to cycle anywhere. It's unlocked doors for me that were previously closed."

London Fire Brigade says low traffic neighbourhoods have had no impact on response times

Indoor cycling is also on the increase in the capital. According to Strava it is up 24 per cent compared to the previous year.

Strava's marketing director, Simon Klima, said his company had seen an 82 per cent increase across all activities - cycling, running and walking:

"I think being active has become the best part of people's day," he said. 

"There's a lot of uncertainty and anxiety about what's happening from one day to the next but that one bit of certainty can be that hour you get outside doing some exercise. 

"I think people take a lot of positivity out of that - it brings them joy."

Mr Klima said there had also been a noticeable spike in the number of female cyclists using the app.

"A large barrier for women to get into cycling is safety," he added. 

"There are a couple of things that have helped - one is quieter streets. Certainly towards the beginning of lockdown the roads were much quieter. 

"If there is some chink of light, it's perhaps the nation has got healthier and adopted new habits around exercise and active travel."

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