Belfast Telegraph

Charity urges NI folk to scratch seven-year itch and get back on the bike

By Sophie Inge

The average Northern Ireland person hasn't ridden a bicycle in seven years - with one in seven people avoiding the saddle for more than a decade.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is now urging people to get back on their bike and take part in the London to Brighton Bike Ride on Sunday June 18 to raise money for lifesaving research.

In a UK-wide survey, it was estimated that an astonishing 6.3 million people - one in eight - don't even know how to ride a bike.

The survey also found that the average household in the UK owns just one bike.

Forty-one per cent of households in the UK don't own a bicycle at all.

People in Northern Ireland fared much better than the UK average, with only one in 20 admitting they can't ride a bike, and almost two in three (61%) of the community saying they own one.

However, nearly one in 10 people in Northern Ireland (8.5%) admits that it's been so long since they've ridden that they've forgotten how to do it.

Encouragingly, though, many appear to have ambitions to start cycling again.

One in eight surveyed - the equivalent of 6.3m - said they had received a bike as a Christmas gift.

And more than half (57%) said they would consider a cycling challenge as a way of getting back into the activity this year.

Elizabeth Tack, event leader for the British Heart Foundation bike ride, said: "It's surprising to learn that while there is a clear appetite for cycling in the United Kingdom, there is still a vast amount of us who are not getting on our bikes often enough, or even at all.

"Cycling is a fantastic way of keeping your heart healthy, which is why we're encouraging everyone to dust off their bikes this year and challenge themselves to take on our London to Brighton Bike Ride to help support our vital research into heart disease."

She added: "We can provide all the support you need to get you back in the saddle this year, with free training guides and advice available for all registered cyclists in the run-up to the big day.

"It's a fantastic day out for all the family, and every pound you raise will help make a difference to millions."

To sign up for this year's London to Brighton Bike Ride, visit bhf.org.uk/L2B

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