Why London has embraced cycling

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The UK has had a slew of cycling heroes of late. Olympic gold medalist Chris Hoy, Tour de France winners Bradley Wiggins and the more recent Chris Froome have all played their part in raising the profile of the sport.

After such amazing feats, cycling participation rates have increased year-on-year. In 2012 after many victories in the world of cycling, Sport England announced that the UK saw 200,000 more participants in cycling as a direct result of notable sport stars performing well on a global level.

Additionally, to continue this surge in participation rates, the UK government saw this as the ideal opportunity to combat the growing obesity levels and environmental concerns in London. The Bike to Work Scheme was implemented and embraced across England, Scotland and Wales. However, it saw unrivaled success in urban areas such as London. “More than 400,000 people signed up to the scheme,” which has also had a positive influence on reducing pollution and lessening the amount of cars on the road. Cyclists get approximately 42% of the purchasing of a bike through the scheme, which has been a contributing factor to the high number of applications.

Promoting healthier journeys to work has also impacted other regions in London. Airports like Gatwick are now accessible to cyclists because of the National Cycle route that runs through the airport. Developments like this have even seen businessmen and women travel to airports via bike especially those on short haul flights with limited luggage because it cuts out getting caught in traffic on the busy roads of London.

Similar to the Bike to Work scheme, London has also implemented a hire policy outside all underground train stations. London’s public bike sharing system is on offer to people 24/7 with more than 10,000 bikes available to use across the city. The scheme has been labeled ‘Boris Bikes’ after London Mayor Boris Johnson who devised the hiring system to lessen the impact of pollution and other environmental issues on the city. It cost about £2 ($3) to use a bike for 24-hours, which far exceeds any other form of transport as the cheapest in London and it’s a great way to see the sights.

The many ingenious schemes that the UK government keeps introducing are undoubtedly improving the cycle routes in and around London and the rest of the UK. With British cyclist also on an incredible run of form, which in turn has elevated the sport to unprecedented levels, expect cyclist to go from strength-to-strength over the next decade.

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