Participation in cycling is in rude health, with 161,000 more people cycling now than six months ago and 80,000* more than a year ago.
That's according to the new Active People report from Sport England, which also found participation among women has risen, with 54,000 more women cycling now than six months ago.
British Cycling has been set cycle participation growth targets by Sport England as part of Olympic legacy targets, aims which are firmly on target according to BC. The plan is to see – by 2013 – 150,000 more people cycling at least once a week.
“Cycling in this country has never been in better health,” said British Cycling chief exec Ian Drake.
“We’re on course to achieve our target of delivering a sustainable participation legacy before London 2012 thanks to our partnerships with Sport England, Sky and local authorities, without whom we would not be seeing these results today. These successes are also a credit to the fantastic work of our volunteers – at regional, club and event level – without whom our sport would not function."
British Cycling’s pointed to its annual Sky Rides which last year saw over 200,000 people take part across the UK. BC added that initiatives like female-focused Breeze have also helped boost cyclist numbers.
Participation among people with a disability increased too, said Sport England's report.
Drake added: “We’re on course to achieve our target of delivering a sustainable participation legacy before London 2012 thanks to our partnerships with Sport England, Sky and local authorities, without whom we would not be seeing these results today. These successes are also a credit to the fantastic work of our volunteers – at regional, club and event level – without whom our sport would not function.
“Grassroots initiatives like Sky Ride and Breeze are continuing to inspire people to get on their bikes and enjoy life on two wheels and it is particularly encouraging to see a rise in women’s participation.
“At the start of what could be British Cycling’s greatest summer, our ambitions remain high and the focus is on maintaining momentum and continuing to build on our success over the next Whole Sport Plan period 2013 to 2017.
“Membership is at record levels and our riders are aiming for success in the Tour de France and at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.”
Is the growth sustainable? Yes, according to British Cycling. Over 20,000 people are now regularly racing across virtually all disciplines and almost 3,500 competitive cycling events now take place each year.
Youngsters are also participating in increasing numbers. 100 Go-Ride clubs have signed up to take part in the Go-Ride Games - a national summer festival of cycling for young people. Last year, British Cycling delivered over 100,000 opportunities for young people to get into cycling.
British Cycling membership grew by 1,000 in the last month, taking its total membership count to almost 50,000.
Sport England’s cycling specific results can be found online on the link to the left.
*Once a week participation. Cycling is defined in the report as recreational (but not exclusively for travel purposes) and competitive cycling, BMX, cyclo-cross and mountain-biking.
PIC CREDIT: British Cycling