Sir Bradley Wiggins is, sadly, out of this year’s Tour de France, but some members of the wider bicycle industry are still riding the effect of his historic win last year.
There’s been a 50 per cent growth explosion in British Cycling members since ‘Wiggo’ won in July last year, with the sports governing body now past the 75,000 milestone.
On the news of the growth, one of this year’s Tour de France favourites (and British Cycling member) Chris Froome commented that “cycling has officially hit the mainstream,” and that “the more people that join the sport, the stronger we become”.
According to BC, the growth is down to continued development of ‘new opportunities and support for anyone to start and to stay cycling – whether commuting, recreation or sport – ensuring that the inspiration created by our cycling stars is transferred into more people cycling at all levels’.
Naturally July 2012 saw BC record one of its strongest ever months of member sales with 2,400 joining. In the nine months since, an average of 2,800 members per month have joined British Cycling. Not only that, but more people joined British Cycling as members in May and June this year than did during the whole of the Tour de France and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
Whether that growth is being reflected in the bike retail market is a moot point. Cynics would surely point to the recent decision by global cycle giant Dorel to downsize its bike division as a sign that interest in cycling isn’t necessarily translating into increased sales. A view backed by last year’s import stats, which saw a rise in value rather than volume.
Commenting on the membership news, British Cycling’s President Brian Cookson OBE, said: “There is no question that cycling is the sport that redefined our national sporting identity last year with unprecedented success across all areas. The fact that our membership now stands at an all time high of 75,000 will only help us to increase our influence for the good of cycling in this country.
“With just ten days to go until Tour favourite Chris Froome sets off in Corsica, we’re thrilled that cycling fever is still gripping the nation long after the closing ceremonies in London.”
Chris Froome added: “Cycling in this country has really hit the mainstream; there has never been a better time to be part of our great sport, whatever you ride.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved, riding their bikes and encouraging family and friends to join them. I’m really pleased that British Cycling now has 75,000 members – and the more people that join us the stronger we become.”
British Cycling’s chief executive, Ian Drake, also added: “The more people that join British Cycling, the stronger it becomes and the more influence it has to change cycling for the better in this country. I’d like to see every cyclist in Britain be a part of British Cycling so we can truly become the world leading cycling nation across both performance and participation.”
British Cycling’s performance director Sir Dave Brailsford also had a few words to say: “This is a big, big day and a big stepping stone for British Cycling. I’d like to thank all of the members, volunteers, clubs for the contribution they made and the continued involvement that they have with British Cycling.”