With literally millions of spectators lining the roads of Yorkshire and then Cambridgeshire, Essex and London to watch the visit of this year’s Tour de France, the state of cycling in Britain has never been healthier.
In fact, even before the Tour arrived on our shores, there was already some very positive data about bike use in this country. According to Sport England, the total number of adults now riding their bikes at least once a week is 2.1 million — that’s an increase of 132,000 compared to October 2013. Meanwhile, the last year has also seen a four per cent increase in competitive cycling events and a whopping 28% rise in personal challenge events such as sportives.
But with cycling interest at its peak, some of Britain’s most high-profile bike advocates feel we have to seize this moment if we want to see real, practical improvements in the way wider society approaches cycling.
“The visit of the Tour de France has been a big opportunity for us. But for me the Tour’s most important role isn’t about bike racing — the main thing is that it keeps cycling in the general public’s eye for this summer and gives us another opportunity to talk about cycling.
“In recent years in Britain it’s been a case of: blimey, we’ve won everything at the Olympics; blimey, we’ve won the Tour de France; blimey, we’ve done it again. Now all we can hope for is a repeat of the same. Cycling inevitably becomes less newsworthy. So I think we’ve got about 12 to 18 months to really get traction.”
And not all the results of increased cycle interest are positive. One practical consideration for real-life riders is bike theft. With more people riding better bikes, cycle crime is at an all-time high. Last year more than 97,000 bikes were stolen in England and Wales, 6,000 of which cost £1,000 or more.
To combat this you can take some simple steps: have your bike registered and marked by the police; lock it up properly in a public place with two high-quality bike locks; you should also consider having it insured. With one of our simple and great value policies, you can have complete peace of mind when out on your bike for as little as £16, thanks to our exciting 20% off introductory offer.
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