A survey conducted by Sport England has some good and bad news for the health of the nation, revealing that overall some of us are doing at least the bare minimum of exercise in the neverending war on physical atrophy – but interest in taking up cycling appears to have peaked.
Bike riding across all three key transit prongs – travel, leisure and sport – has declined, say the numbers, with outdoor rides seemingly shifting towards more indoor cycling sessions on machines in gyms, with analysts rushing to blame potholes and dangerous drivers for chasing some riders off the roads.
Walking, climbing and weightlifting are on the up in place of hammering away down A-roads on your Halfords steed, with the data showing that more women are getting into organised sports too. But around 350,000 fewer people reported getting on bikes for commuting or a laugh, leading the UK's cycling bodies to demand a redoubling of pro-bike messages from within government.
British Cycling's policy manager Nick Chamberlin said: "...perceptions of safety and access to pleasant, traffic-free spaces to ride remain the biggest deterrents preventing more people from cycling. While cycling remains statistically safe, traffic speed, close passing or potholes can often make riding a bike in Britain intimidating and unpleasant, especially for those who are trying it for the first time." [British Cycling via Cycling Weekly]