After many, many years of decline cycling is starting to boom again, the sight of people wearing bright lycra outfits and flashy backpacks is once again common. In cities the sight of someone wearing a suit whilst riding a bike, is becoming nearly as common as a suited bus or rail passenger. If you are a cyclist, however, what does this say about you?

The UK’s Department of Transport has recently produced the results of a survey which asks just this question. Firstly the report highlights that people cycled farther in 2010 than in any other year since 1991. In London alone 540,000 trips are made by bike every day which is twice as many as was the case in 2000.

What is fascinating though is that this increase in cycling is most pronounced in those people with highest incomes. In particular the richest 20% of the UK population travel an average of 33 miles a year to work compared to just 9 miles for those in the poorest 20%.

There are probably several reasons why cycling is becoming more popular which include a growing awareness of the need for a healthy life style, rising public transport costs, higher costs of car ownership, searching for a more environmentally friendly method of transport, traffic queues, overcrowded public transport and the growing spend on infrastructure projects that encourage the cyclist. Examples of this are the Mayor of London’s network of cycling hyper ways that criss-cross the city as well as the cycle hire scheme.

In keeping with other figures two thirds of cyclists using the cycle hire scheme have incomes in excess of £50,000 which is perhaps rather surprising. Other facts about the scheme are that 77% of users are men compared to Amsterdam where the majority of cyclists are women.

Other cities have also done their bit to encourage people onto their bikes. Bristol, for instance, has reduced speed limits for cars and created traffic free routes to by pass dangerous junctions. University cities such as Oxford and Cambridge have also done much to be cyclist friendly.

The major factor that discourages most people from cycling is safety. Again Department of Transport figures tell us that 62% of people think that cycling on public roads is just too dangerous. In fact women in particular are most concerned with 75% of them regarding cycling as just too unsafe. In some areas such as London accident rates have been falling but nevertheless 16 people died in a cycling accident in 2011.

Many cyclists believe that busy junctions such as the one at the Elephant and Castle in London are just too dangerous; heavy lorries in particular are most commonly associated with accidents that cause injury to cyclists.

Obviously this is why the right cycling safety gear is really important and you really need to have a cycling helmet, cycle bell or horn, cycling lights and cycling gloves to ensure a safe and comfortable ride. In terms of choosing a bike unless you want to race or go off road the best choice is a hybrid bike. A hybrid bike is a bike that is probably best described as a “good all rounder”, not as fast as a race bike and not as sturdy as a mountain bike but probably the best compromise for general cycling.

For all the best in outdoor gear visit My Outdoor Store, for the best selection of bikes for sale UK.

Author's Bio: 

Bruno Blackstone is a freelance writer interested in all things to do with the outdoors and helping others get the most from the outdoors. Starting with a psychology degree his early career was as a social worker and family therapist working with families to help them achieve more positive and stable relationships. In his more recent career he has coached many senior executives in both small and large organisations in areas such as strategy, human resources, organisational design and performance improvement. He now continues his work in the business world but he is also co-owner of My Outdoor Store a price comparison site for outdoor enthusiasts.