Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France and Olympic triumphs are said to have helped push British Cycling’s membership past the 75,000 mark for the first time in the organisation’s history. The national federation said today they have been signing riders at an average of 2,800 a month since August 2012.
Historically, British Cycling have governed the competitive side of the sport. However, in recent years, through the offer of a basic membership and insurance product for commuters and sportive riders, they have created a stronger voice for cyclists’ rights, lobbying the government on issues such as better road safety and more funding for cycling infrastructure.
Currently, race riders make up 58 percent of the membership total. Commuters and leisure or sportive riders make up the remaining 42 percent. Gavin Finch, BC’s head of marketing, told BikeRadar in April that half of members said they were commuters, though may take part in other forms of cycling.
The federation give free introductory membership to youngsters who join Go Ride affiliated clubs, although a British Cycling spokesman confirmed that just 2,000 free memberships had been distributed in that manner. They emphasised that the vast majority of youngsters were fee payers.
British Cycling president Brian Cookson – also campaigning for the UCI presidency – said: “There is no question that cycling is the sport that redefined our national sporting identity last year, with unprecedented success across all areas. The fact that our membership now stands at an all-time high of 75,000 will only help us to increase our influence for the good of cycling in this country.”
Kenya-born Chris Froome, a favourite for this year’s Tour who has raced under a British licence since 2008, said: “Cycling in this country has really hit the mainstream; there has never been a better time to be part of our great sport, whatever you ride.”