Cycling popularity changes gear during lockdown

Cycling has been a clear winner of the lockdown.

Whether heading off on a family outing, or just a trip to the shops to top up on supplies, or even for an essential worker's new way of commuting to work, cycling has been a clear winner of the lockdown.

Cycling advocates are encouraging work to be undertaken to ensure this momentum isn't lost, and that when cities are fully re-opened, there is enough space for people to continue pedalling.
Research undertaken in Canterbury showed some people used the lockdown to pick up a new form of exercise.

Cycling was the most popular, at 78 percent, on top of walking (64 percent), at-home workouts (38 percent), and running (37 percent), as the most popular new form of exercise.
The survey - organised by the Christchurch Adventure Park and completed by around a thousand people over Anzac weekend - tried to tap into some of the habits people picked up during the lockdown.

Around a third of the people said they thought their diet had improved, and a third said it had worsened; there was a similar breakdown when it came to how people thought their mental health had changed - one third said improved, one third worsened. Adventure Park Manager Anne Newman said people were enthusiastic to keep their new activities going.

"Cycling specifically was named as one of the things that they had picked up or had continued doing through the lockdown that they'd like to continue," Newman said.

"A lot of people had dusted off old bikes from the garage, and got out there and actually really found that they enjoyed being outside cycling, and it was good for both their physical and mental wellbeing."

The research in Christchurch isn't isolated: in Auckland, evidence suggests cycling and walking accounted for over 60 percent of local trips taken over the lockdown.

Bike Auckland spokesperson Jolisa Gracewood, who compiled the data, is in no doubt why there was such a jump.

"In order to get more fresh air and to get out and about, they were walking and cycling," Gracewood said.

"Then once you're out there, and you discover the streets are relatively stress-free because traffic is low then you're more encouraged to do more walking and biking.

"That's why we saw so many families, especially with young kids, out enjoying the streets they live on."

Source: RNZ