Cycle sales to soar as Brits take to the saddle

With the 2012 Olympics just weeks away, experts have predicted that sales of bicycles will soar to an all-time high.

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According to analysts Mintel, Brits will not only be getting behind Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton, Mark Cavendish and Chris Hoy, but will swap four wheels for two, and a rise of eight per cent in cycle sales is predicted this year.

Currently more than a third of Brits cycle regularly with men considerably more likely to take to the saddle.

Four out of ten described themselves as a current cyclist, compared to one in four women, while twice as many male cyclists as female claim to take a bike ride most days.

The chaps were also more safety conscious. Some 23 per cent of men said they wore a helmet regularly, compared to a risk-taking 15 per cent of women.

Sadly one in five insist they would be put off cycling should the wearing of helmets become law, despite 49 per cent worrying that it's too dangerous to ride on the road, which may go some way to explaining why just two per cent have opted to use a self-service hire scheme such as the 'Boris Bikes'.

And while 60 per cent agree that cycling is a great way to cut down on traffic congestion, some 53 per cent of Brits believe cyclists get away with breaking the rules of the road too often.

Nevertheless, experts are hoping Olympic gold might encourage more people to take up cycling.

Mintel senior analyst Michael Oliver told the Daily Mail: "With obesity rates rising among both adults and children, there is clearly a political and financial imperative to encouraging greater physical activity, and cycling is a relatively inexpensive way of doing this.

"Role models in the Olympics means there is now an almost unrivalled opportunity to try to stimulate cycling participation."

What do you think? Are you a cycling enthusiast or do dangerous roads put you off? Leave your comments below...