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Bike Week returns after surge in lockdown cyclists

By Kirsty Brown

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Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, is gearing up for the launch of Bike Week, the annual celebration of all things bike-related.

The event, which has been running since 1923, will run from May 30 to June 5 and focuses on how cycling boosts our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

The restrictions placed on our daily lives by the coronavirus pandemic caused many people’s physical and mental health to suffer.

Cycling helps to tackle both these problems, by providing physical exercise and also connecting people with nature, while offering a safe alternative to public transport or cars for essential journeys.

The past year has seen a bike boom: figures from Cycling Scotland show that 47 percent more journeys were made by bike from March 2020 until March 2021 compared with the previous year.

Helping keep Scotland pedalling, was Cycling UK’s Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme which saw more than 25,000 bikes fixed since summer 2020.

One beneficiary of the scheme is Sarah McGrory from Clydebank.

A free service has seen her back on her bike and she was delighted to discover how cycling helps her energy levels, with fatigue being part of the fibromyalgia and stress-related epilepsy which she lives with.

She said: “I wake up and feel like I could just stay in bed but I push myself to get up and go out on the bike.

"I feel fitter and have more energy.

"I find cycling is easier than walking with fibromyalgia.

“I’ve got more fit and gone down two dress sizes, which is great.”

Rob Roy Route. Image courtesy of Jim Barton
Rob Roy Route. Image courtesy of Jim Barton

Across the UK, 3.1 million bicycles were purchased in 2020, and the value of the cycle sector soared by 45 percent compared with 2019, to £2.31 billion.

Through Bike Week Cycling UK wants to help embed Scotland’s lockdown cycling habits and see the increase in bike journeys become part of the 'new normal' as restrictions continue to ease.

Anybody can participate in Bike Week by pledging to ride and logging their journeys at bikeweek.org.uk.

Today (May 30) the World’s Biggest Bike Ride, supported by leading bike retailer Evans Cycles, aims to get as many people as possible across the UK cycling on one day.

Everyone who signs up will receive a free region mapping bundle from the ride sharing and planning app Komoot.

Cycling UK has also teamed up with Komoot to offer a collection of 21 family-friendly bike rides across the UK, with four of them in Scotland.

Throughout the week, people sharing their ride on social media using the hashtag #7DaysOfCycling can win great prizes, including a junior bike from Halfords, £100 vouchers from cycle clothing firm Rapha and much more.

The website has lots of challenges, routes and activities to inspire cyclists of all ages, whether they are experienced or novices, as well as virtual events including online advice sessions and yoga classes for cyclists.

Chief executive of Cycling UK Sarah Mitchell said: “Over the past year we have really seen the importance of staying active and getting outside on our wellbeing, both physical and mental.

"We estimate that one in three people in the UK either owns or has access to a bike – that’s about 25 million people.

"This Bike Week we want to see as many of them as possible sharing the benefits and joy of cycling and showing the possibilities of a better world by bike.”

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