In 2008, Sky and British Cycling set themselves a target to get one million more Britons on their bikes. Today, the duo have hit that target, ahead of their self imposed 2013 deadline.
The target was set when the two first teamed up as a way to measure success of the partnership that aimed to grow the sport at all levels, from the grassroots to the elite.
How have they encouraged more people to cycle? By establishing a series of popular, large-scale city centre rides and weekly local rides, and by supporting the sport at the highest level. It has culminated in the most successful year ever for British cyclists: six World Track Championship titles; the first British winner of the Tour de France; and a record Olympic and Paralympic medal haul of 16 gold medals.
Sky and British Cycling said 'the success of the elite cyclists has played a crucial role in inspiring more people of all ages and abilities to get on their bikes for fun and fitness'.
Over the past four years, the (BikeBiz Award winning) Sky Ride initiative set up by British Cycling and Sky has:
-Organised 49 fun, traffic-free, city centre events across the UK
-Established over 5,000 free community bike rides for anyone to join
-Trained a national network of 1,500 Ride Leaders to organise local rides in their areas
-Worked in partnership with 45 local authorities to promote cycling and deliver better facilities in their areas
“The partnership between Sky and British Cycling has been built around a shared vision to get more people enthused and participating in cycling," said Sky's chief exec Jeremy Darroch. "The achievement of our target to get one million more Brits on their bikes and cycling regularly is a reflection of both the success of the partnership and the huge inspiration that people have drawn from the incredible accomplishments of the elite British cyclists. We are proud to have played our part and look forward to continuing the partnership for the next four years.”
Chief executive of British Cycling Ian Drake added: “This is a fantastic culmination of an incredible year for British Cycling. In just four years, we have created an unprecedented shift in participation in cycling thanks to our partnerships with Sky, Sport England, local authorities, and a national network of trained Ride leaders and volunteers.
“Four years ago, British Cycling was known for its ability to win medals on a world stage. We have harnessed this success to drive greater participation in the sport, reaching out to one million new cyclists, making it easier to get involved and providing more ways to have fun on a bike. Cycling in this country has never been in better health– today British Cycling has reached 60,000 members with over 1,000 joining in the last week.”
Sir Chris Hoy commented: "It has been an incredible summer for cycling and it's fantastic to see so many people enjoying riding their bikes and loving the sport. There are so many opportunities to cycle wherever you live and it's clear that Britain is now a true cycling nation."
Independent research has been conducted by GFK NOP through annual surveys of 10,000 adults across the UK. The research looked at a person’s current cycling behaviour versus the previous year. A ‘regular cyclist’ is a cyclist that has cycled at least 12 times in the past year.
As part of its support for inspiring new people to cycle, within its own business Sky is encouraging more of its people to cycle through a variety of cycling events and facilities including a cycling club, buddy system, bike hire and an on-site cycle shop and cycle mechanic. There are currently 30 per cent of Sky employees who cycle regularly.
PIC CREDIT: www.britishcycling.org.uk