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On Your Bike, Sunshine – 10 Cycling Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

To the humble bicycle….

Now that spring is officially here, people are on their bikes all over the country, cycling for charity, for fun, or to lose those extra winter pounds! Cycling to work is a great way to jump on the biking bandwagon and join the growing trend for sustainable transport.

The multiple health benefits of cycling, which include increased fitness, reduced cancer risk and weight loss, are well known. More and more people are taking up cycling, and the growing population of bikes (more than 100 million are manufactured every year) have got to go somewhere.

Cycling is environmentally friendly; unlike cars, bikes don’t require fuel so don’t emit carbon dioxide  and other pollutants. Installing cycle shelters on commercial and school premises is a good way to demonstrate green credentials, especially if you go for a visually appealing option that can be made bespoke to match the company branding and colours.

And here’s some interesting bike facts you probably haven’t heard before!

  • Bikes used to be called ‘velocipedes’. The word ‘bicycle’ was not coined until the 1860s, from the French word ‘bicyclette’.
  • There are over 1 billion bikes in the world, which is more than double the number of motor cars. This clearly demonstrates the triumph of two wheels over four. Another fact – half of those billion bikes live in China.
  • Cycling is almost as safe as air travel – the risk of fatality while cycling is just once every 20 million miles, or over 800 times around the world. It’s so safe that in Copenhagen it was decided not enforce the wearing of helmets when cycling, on the grounds it actually reduced the chances of people using their bikes.
  • Here’s a bit of science – a bike can stay upright without a rider as long as it’s moving at 8mph or faster. One day you might be able to send it to park in the nearest shelter and lock up itself.
  • In the US only 1% of all trips are made with bikes; in the Netherlands this figure is 30%. (Between 12,000 and 15,000 bikes are pulled out of the canals of Amsterdam alone every year.)
  • In 1896 one of the first recorded speed offences in the UK was caught with the aid of a bicycle. Walter Arnold, of East Peckham, Kent, was travelling at 8 mph, 3 times the legal town limit of 2mph for motor cars. Fined one shilling and costs, he was apprehended and successfully charged by a policeman who gave chase on a bike.
  • Between 6 and 20 bikes can fit in a parking space (even more can fit in a cycle shelter, which has a roof on as well.)
  • The iconic ‘Sheffield-style’ bike rack was invented when the frugal citizens of Sheffield had to decide what to do with some old gas piping. Local cylists suggested the hoops, which were an instant hit.
  • Bikes are extremely burglar friendly, as they’re relatively lightweight and easy to make off with, even providing a means of speedy escape from the crime scene. Lock them in a cycle shelter or enclosure with a combination lock for safety and protection from the elements.
  • The longest tandem bike built seated 35 people and was more than 20m long. It’s not on record if there was a cycle shelter to house it or not!


Half a billion bikes in China
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