With UK petrol prices soaring to £1.20 per litre and the average tank of petrol now costing over £60, cycling has never been more appealing.
Bike Week, (June 14 - 22) is the UK’s biggest mass participation cycling event and it starts this weekend. Thousands of events across the UK will offer people the perfect opportunity to dust down old bikes, benefit from some free cycle training and pedal off the post-winter paunch - whilst rediscovering the financial, health and environmental benefits of cycling.
Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England says; “The credit crunch means there has never been a better time to take part in Bike Week and start cycling. Over half of all car journeys are under five miles long, as we pop to the shops or do the school run – and yet swapping short journeys like this with a 30 minute bike ride could save the UK £2.5 billion each year.
"You will work off the cost of a new bike in only a few weeks by filling the tank less regularly – a genuine carbon and financial offset!”
Nokia is the official sponsor of Bike Week and their latest mobile devices can help people make the switch from cars to bikes. The phones have built in GPS tracking, maps and voice-guided navigation ensuring people can confidently plan a cycling trip, discover new routes, or just find the quickest way from A to B.
James Cracknell, Olympic Gold Medallist used a Nokia N82 to navigate himself 1,400 miles across France and Spain on his bike for Sport Relief. “Nokia’s Sports Tracker can help you find the quickest routes to cut down travel time and track your progress to help shed the pounds. With the average person driving 526 miles in short journeys a year, hopping on a bike will work off a whopping 13,150 calories.”
Boris Johnson, the new London Mayor and famous supporter of cycling said; "As you know, cycling is a personal passion of mine. Events like Bike Week are just what we need to get people on their bikes, so they can experience first hand what a fun and all round positive activity cycling can be. Riding and maintaining a bike is something that won't break the bank, and no-one can deny its green credentials or value to health. One of my personal aims is to encourage many more Londoners to get on their bikes, so I hope that Bike Week 2008 helps achieve this, and that all sorts of people get into the spirit of the event."
Bike Week has Sport Relief as its official charity and the event's organisers are suggesting cyclists could dontate some of the money saved on car journeys to this worthy cause. To find out how, visit www.sportrelief.com/bikeweek
On Thursday June 19, Ruth Kelly will announce the towns and cities that have been awarded CycleTown status, part of the government’s attempt to encourage a cycle culture that would put us on a par with some of our more cycle-friendly European neighbours.
To find out what Bike Week events are taking place in your local area, visit www.bikeweek.org.uk and enter your postcode. All participants in official events get the chance to win a Center Parcs holiday.