The importance of bike riding


This blog post is in reference to 'RideLondon', an annual two-day festival of cycling taking place over the weekend of Saturday 3 August and Sunday 4 August 2013.


Ride London 2013


Dr Tracey Devonport, Course Leader for MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Wolverhampton, blogs:


"We have entered the one year anniversary of the London 2012 Olympics, and to mark this great occasion a series of events intended to celebrate the games are taking place. Given the medal success of GB cyclists it seems fitting that August 3rd sees a mass participation cycling event inspired by the games.


During RideLondon, 50,000 cyclists of all ages and abilities will complete an eight-mile ride around London. In my own personal challenge, set for 2014, I am planning to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End. So this brings us to the question - what is the importance of cycling and why should more people do it?


In outlining the importance of cycling I will draw upon links with socio-cultural change. The mass media as an agent of change has a pervasive influence on us. When picking up a newspaper or magazine, switching on the TV or radio you may have received messages relating to the global economic crisis, the importance of a healthy lifestyle, or pleas to embrace eco awareness.


Our consciousness is constantly being pricked as to the importance of a healthy lifestyle and we are well schooled in how to improve our health.



However, we know from research that this alone is not sufficient to turn an intention to exercise into action. There needs to be some other motive and/or outcome that aligns with our personal values. This is where the remaining social messages may come into play.


Cycling saves money whilst presenting a form of exercise, and, another advantage, it does not harm the environment. In fact it immerses the cyclist in the environment, which, depending on your cycle route, could leave you cycling among some of the UK’S finest scenery.


Clear evidence that the Government recognises the value of cycling is the Government backed ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme. This is an initiative where employers offer a salary sacrifice benefit scheme for employees to buy bicycles at significant reductions. The rationale offered behind the initiative is to save money for your commute, get you healthy, and help protect the environment in the process. It is perhaps unsurprising then that in recent years you’ve seen more cyclists out and about!"


Tracey and her father are riding John O'Groats to Land's End to raise funds for the Herriot Hospice in Hambleton & Richmondshire. For more information and to donate please visit


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