More people in Sheffield are taking to two wheels than ever before – and Tour de France fever is expected to see the popularity of cycling climb even further.
The number of people using a bike to commute in the city jumped by 91 per cent between 2001-2011 putting the city almost in line with London levels of pedal power, according to council figures.
And organisers at the Cycle Boost project believe the figures are still growing as many major cycling companies and independent firms have set up shops in the city.
Last year people who loaned a bike through the free support scheme logged 27,128 miles – more than the circumference of the world.
David Bocking, Cycle Boost officer, backed The Star’s Let’s Get Cycling campaign aimed at increasing the number of people saddling up before Le Grand Depart arrives in July.
He added: “It’s interesting that Sheffield is a hilly city, it’s a poor city and it’s not a very healthy city so we feel this kind of achievement in cycling numbers is an example that others should follow.
“We know few Sheffielders are likely to match Chris Froome’s speed up Jawbone Hill, but we’d like local people to see that taking the challenge of having a go at riding to work can be their stage winner moment in Tour year.”
A challenge run by Cycle Boost – which helps Sheffield companies encourage staff to cycle more and their workers to give it a go – found the quickest commuting method on journeys of up to 4.5 miles was by bike.
And two per cent of the city’s workforce is commuting that way, with organisations such as The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Council surpassing that. Staff at Symmetry Medical have 10 per cent of staff riding to work.
David, who said commuters could save up to £700 a year travelling by bike, added: “Sheffielders are taking to cycle commuting because it’s quick, cheap, good for them and a lot more fun to fly to work on a bike than sit in a traffic jam for 20 minutes.”
Sheffield has a target of getting 10 per cent of all journeys made by cycle by 2025.
Paul Sullivan, council senior transport planner, added: “Over the summer and following years we aim to have programmes to attract all age ranges and all backgrounds to what is a wonderful form of transport.”