Fun factor is key to getting people back on their bike, researchers say

It's like riding a bike – more than half of adults in Britain and Northern Ireland have been identified as "lapsed riders"
John von Radowitz (PA)

REMINDING people of the fun and freedom of cycling is one of the best ways to get them back on their bikes, a study has found. New research aimed at promoting cycling found that simple and small "nudges" are most likely to change the behaviour of lapsed riders.

The Bike Shed studies, devised with the help of American behavioural experts, highlighted the importance of support from friends and family, breaking down mental barriers, and crucially the enjoyment of cycling.

The research is part of an eight-year partnership between British Cycling and HSBC UK aimed at getting two million people back on their bikes by 2020.

Luke Harper, head of the British Cycling Partnership at HSBC UK, said: "We know that changing people's behaviours is tough, especially when it comes to changing long standing habits."

More than half of adults in Britain and Northern Ireland have been identified as "lapsed riders" – people who know how to ride a bike but have stopped, said the researchers.

Julie Harrington, chief executive of British Cycling said: "Most of us are aware of the many health or environmental benefits that riding a bike brings, but still do not cycle regularly, perhaps because we have concerns about safety or lack confidence when riding on the road.

"Our partnership with HSBC UK is all about understanding those barriers, breaking them down and getting people back on a bike."

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