With the cost of driving and public transport going up and up all the time, cycling has only continued to grow in popularity, with more people than ever taking to two wheels to get around. The Cycle to Work scheme, amongst other things, has contributed to a huge rise in the number of people cycling regularly, with more people than ever choosing to cycle to work instead of driving or taking public transport.
Across the UK, and in London in particular, a lower percentage of households owned a car in 2011 than they did a decade earlier, with the percentage of people regularly cycling to work rising in the same period. The London 2012 Olympics went a long way towards helping, with the success of Olympians such as Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins spurring people on to use two wheels instead of four, helping to spearhead the rise of popularity for cycling in the UK.
Although the boom slowed slightly as the Olympic effect wore off, cycling’s popularity has continued to rise. With road tax costing more year on year and insurance and fuel costs rising across the board, the cost of driving is now higher than ever, and public transport can often be far from reliable and certainly not particularly cost effective, either. With a decent road bike setting you back less than £200 from Halfords, the free fuel and zero tax is often more than enough to get people onto two wheels and away from four.
Convenience comes at a price, and it’s not always a financial one. The health impact as well as the environmental impact of driving around in gas-guzzling cars means that more and more people are starting to realise that cars perhaps aren’t quite the miraculous inventions we’ve taken them to be for the past few decades, and that car usage may have peaked in the UK.
It’s worth noting that, as a nation, we’re becoming evermore concerned with health and fitness, and it’s no secret that cycling is a great way of getting fit and keeping fit, especially when compared with driving. Being able to get fit whilst saving money and helping to save the environment gives a three-pronged approach which will appeal to most people, if not all, in some way or another. And it’s these benefits which have contributed to the huge rise in the popularity of cycling in the UK in recent years.