Olympic success gets Brits on their bikes

Laura Trott

Research commissioned by Sky, in partnership with British Cycling, shows that British cyclists’ success at the Olympic and Paralympics Games has had a dramatic effect on the nation’s appetite for cycling.

The research conducted by the London School of Economics (LSE) mapped the impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Games across a wide range of social and economic factors, including cycling awareness and participation.

The poll shows more than half of the country has been inspired by the success of the British cycling team to get on their bikes, with 70% of non-cyclists believing that Team GB success will have a lasting positive effect as cycling feels the ‘legacy effect’ from London 2012.

Increased participation
The research showed that people are increasingly taking up cycling for fun with family and friends. This provides real evidence of the connection between elite sporting success and grassroots participation.

52% of all people indicated that they were motivated to cycle as a result of the achievements of Team GB’s cyclists.

87% of those who said they were inspired to cycle by the Games were also encouraging their children to cycle.

Cycling for fun
The research shows that London 2012 is also encouraging people to think about cycling in a different way. Increasing numbers of people are seeing cycling not only as a mode of transport, but also as a leisure pursuit the whole family can enjoy.

Almost 50% of total cyclists had taken part in mass cycle rides as a result of the Olympic effect, and one in four of all respondents said that they were more likely to take a UK cycling holiday as a result of the London 2012 Games.

Around 40% of the sample indicated that London 2012 had inspired them to visit a velodrome and organised cycle events as a spectator. 42% said they were inspired to watch or visit other paracycling events.

Fresh boost for Britain's bike market
The research paper showed that people were spending more on bicycles and bike kit, driven by the excitement around the medals won by British cyclists.

Retailers reported a surge in demand following the Games. Wiggle reported UK traffic to its website leapt by 71% during the Olympic period.

Legacy effect
The results confirm a resounding degree of support for the sustained growth of cycling in the UK.

Almost 100% believed that the London 2012 Olympic Games will have a lasting effect on cycling participation in the UK.

Over 50% of the group are now motivated to volunteer to support people with a disability to cycle in their local area.

Tricia Thompson, Director of Cycling, Sky, commented: 'Right from the beginning of our partnership with British Cycling in 2008 we have been working hard to bring the grassroots and elite sides of cycling closer together. This research shows the first tangible evidence of the connection between the two.'

Ian Drake, CEO, British Cycling, remarked: 'The partnership between British Cycling and Sky, unique in sport in this country, has been the key to using Olympic and Paralympic success to encourage huge numbers of people to get on their bikes. Our success in driving participation is no fluke but the product of years of detailed planning and preparation.'