Cycling is great for your health – and now it seems it’s fabulous for the economy, too. According to a report by the London School of Economics, cycling boosts the annual UK economy to the tune of £3billion.
The figure is based on a range of factors including the manufacturing of bikes, the sale of all things bicycle related – helmets, jackets, pumps etc – and those employed in the booming cycling market. In 2010 alone, 28 per cent more bikes were sold than the year before, adding 3.7 million new bikes to our roads and byways.
The report also reveals that more than a million people took up cycling last year, bringing the total number of cyclists in Britain to 13 million.
What is behind this sudden new-found interest in cycling?
The report points to an number of factors for the surge in cycling. First is an increase in petrol prices. It’s also thought that better cycling routes are contributing to greater numbers of cyclists.
Campaigns about cycling for better health and a growing number of novice-style cycling sportive events have also led to a growth in the number of female cyclists.
Cycling is great for your health
There is no doubting that cycling is a fantastic form of cardiovascular fitness. The average person cycling at a moderate speed will burn more than 400 calories an hour.
Cycling is also an excellent muscle toner, especially if you’re looking for more shapely legs and bum.
Added to this, cycling is good for the health and productivity of workplaces. A predicted 20% increase in cycling levels by 2015 could save millions of pounds in reduced congestion, pollution levels and NHS costs.
The London School of Economics study reports that regular cyclists take 1.3 less sick days per year, saving £128m through reduced absenteeism.
Perhaps it’s time for you to get on your bike
If you haven’t been on a bike for years you should consider finding a traffic-free location, such as a park. Look for somewhere flat and give yourself plenty of space for pedalling.
Courses, such as those run by Cycling Scotland, can assist adult sin gaining confidence for returning to two-wheeled transport.
You will want to build up slowly so that your muscles get used to cycling. Try cycling a few miles to begin with and then add more miles each time you head out.
In gym cycle classes and cycling on stationary bikes are good for added fitness and for when the weather isn’t so kind.
It’s also possible to buy a turbo trainer so as to turn your ordinary bike into a stationary, in-house fitness gadget.
If you own a stationary bike or a turbo trainer try following an on-line video cycling session in the comfort of your own home.
And, as many people find, once you start cycling you’ll become hooked on the sport. I predict that even more people will get on their bikes as the Olympics draws ever closer.