Sport England’s latest Active People survey has been branded as "our legacy in action" by British Cycling chief exec Ian Drake, following British success at the Tour de France and London 2012.
The survey results revealed that over 200,000 more people are cycling at least once per week than were in October 2011. Within that number, almost 63,000 more women are cycling regularly.
Other key findings include an increase in participation for people with a long term disability to almost 15,000 in 12 months. Sport England added, however, that participation rates there still lag far behind those for non-disabled people, something that will hopefully be tackled by a recent £10.2million investment from the National Lottery.
The headline 200,000 figure is far in excess of British Cycling's at-the-time ambitious growth target set by Sport England four years – of 75,000. All in, the total number of people in England now cycling at least once per week is just under two million.
Drake said: “With almost two million people cycling once a week following a summer of unprecedented cycling success, this is our legacy in action.
“British Cycling has set new standards in elite sport and, with these latest figures from Sport England, we can celebrate gold medal results in grassroots participation.
“These figures are reward for the hard work done over the last four years by British Cycling, Sport England, our principal partner Sky and our local government partners.
“After Beijing, British Cycling set out to inspire a new audience to get involved in cycling at all levels. We have programmes for all ages and abilities – from families who want to cycle for fun, to young people aspiring to be the next Bradley Wiggins or Laura Trott. The great results we’ve seen today are also critically down to the dedication of all our members, regions, volunteers, coaches, clubs and leaders – without whom our sport wouldn’t function.”
Beyond the world of cycling, the Sport England survey found that half a million women are on their bikes, playing netball, running, swimming and going to the gym in the past year, helping trim the gender gap in sport.
Sport England said in a statement: "The figures also reveal the inspirational impact of the Games – the number of people taking part rising has risen sharply in the period since the London 2012 Games got underway, with strong increases in Olympic sports such as cycling, sailing and volleyball."
Back to cycling specifically, the results have also shown a significant increase in organised participation, at 29 per cent in four years and a 145 per cent increase in the number of non-competitive events on offer from British Cycling.
These latest results cover the 12 month period from October 2011 to October 2012, measuring participation rates for all sports.
Pic credit: www.britishcycling.org.uk