Reasons for the Increasing Popularity of Cycling in the UK
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Reasons for the Increasing Popularity of Cycling in the UK

Reasons why cycling has been growing in popularity in the UK.

Despite the fact that the UK may not be as cyclist-friendly as countries such as the Netherlands, an increasing number of Britons have decided to take up cycling. More people are buying bikes and the number of journeys they are taking has increased. This is due to a combination of reasons, including the desire to save money, greater environmental awareness, improvements to cycling infrastructure and incentives such as tax-free bicycles for those commuting to work. The prolific achievements of UK road and track cyclists may have also encouraged some people to get back on their bikes.

In a time of recession, most people are looking for ways to save money and, clearly, it costs significantly more to use a car than it does a bike. Car drivers have to pay road tax, insurance, fuel costs and for parking, whilst they also face the stress and inconvenience of congestion. Cycling, on the other hand, is a relatively cheap and convenient way to get around. Once a bike has been purchased, as well as, perhaps, a few additional items such as a pair of cycling shorts and a set of lights, the only costs likely to be incurred are when the chain needs replacing or when it goes in for a general service. Many people in the UK are fed up with the expense of driving and so are turning to their bikes.

People are also being encouraged to ride their bikes more frequently by the government as it continues to push cycling as a healthy alternative to driving. This is reflected in some of the social policy initiatives that have been produced in recent years, with some cities, such as Bristol, designated as 'cycling cities' where investment has increased to create more cycle lanes, bike rental schemes and more bicycle-training opportunities for children. In a drive to get more people riding their bikes, there are also promotional events where people can ride their bikes on closed roads, free from cars and other traffic.

The UK is a long way from having the kind of bicycle culture that exists in the Netherlands, as it is cars that continue to rule the roads. However, despite some of the dangers that cyclists face on UK roads, for many people the health benefits outweigh the risks. Individuals who cycle regularly will find it easier to control their weight and will have less chance of developing heart disease and diabetes as they get older, whilst they will also find it easier to cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Plus, cyclists can feel good about themselves for not contributing to pollution levels, since bikes do not produce carbon emissions.

Not everyone who chooses to take up cycling does so because they see it as a cheap, environmentally-friendly way of getting around and staying healthy. Some individuals have witnessed British professional cycling success and decided that they want to have a go, too. There are plenty of competitive events held throughout the UK – some that are open to individuals of all abilities and others that are aimed at those who train seriously. Either way, individuals have an opportunity to meet fellow-cycling enthusiasts and learn more about their sport.

As the number of cyclists on UK roads increases, the more likely it is that other individuals may be inclined to get on their bikes, too, which makes it difficult to imagine that this popularity for cycling is going to fade any time soon.

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Comments (1)

Voted up. Interesting article