Stat of the month: Cyclemania - 27m - Number of cyclists in Britain

Our weather is unpredictable and our roads potholed, but more and more of us are adopting the 'two wheels good, four wheels bad' lifestyle once exclusive to students and eccentric lecturers. There are a number of reasons for this. One is environmental: two people commuting three miles by bicycle would, over a year, save a small car's weight in CO2. Another is financial: it now costs £2,200 a year to run a car. Then there's the health factor - a regular cyclist is as fit as someone 10 years younger. And if you live in the big city, you get to speed past those gridlocked cars and buses. The number of journeys by bicycle in the capital increased by 50% - to 450,000 per day - between 2000 and 2005, and latest industry figures value the UK cycling industry at £500m a year. Newt-loving London mayor Ken Livingstone has championed cycling, despite not even owning a bike himself. He brought the Grand Depart of the 2007 Tour de France to the city and committed Transport for London to £24m worth of investment in cycling last year. The best indicator of cycling's growing popularity? A bike is stolen every 71 seconds in England.


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