From the Sofa to the Saddle With Cycling Ireland

In several of our recent blog posts we mentioned that a large percentage of the UK population is classed as physically inactive. In fact, according to Gov.UK statistics published earlier this year, 24% of UK men and 26% of UK women are physically inactive. Furthermore, physical inactivity is as high as 29% for black men and 36% for Asian woman.

With the Chief Medical Officer advising that it is important to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week to help prevent the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes 2 and heart disease, these high levels of physical inactivity mean these groups are putting their health at risk.

What is preventing so many people from becoming active? A recent report (published by Sport England in February 2019): Active Lives Adult Survey Understanding Behaviour was based on a survey designed to understand what motivates some people to take part in a sport or activity versus why others do not. One of the key findings was that 5.5 million people who are not presently active believe that they do not have the ability to be physically active and that “perceived ability is the biggest driver of activity”. In other words, if people don’t think they can do it, they won’t.

“Our intention is to use the findings from this work to produce a market segmentation of adults in England (to be shared this summer) in order to help those working in sport and physical activity increase their understanding of different groups of people, and in turn deliver the ambition of helping more people become and stay active.”
Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight at Sport England

So, in the meantime, how do we inspire the physically inactive to get moving?

The Tour de France was a motivating event when it came to Great Britain for three days in 2014. In the following months, the numbers of people taking part in recreational cycling events, increased by 64% in areas where the Tour de France had taken place.

Maybe cycling is an activity that might appeal to the physically inactive as it was something that many people did when they were young and, therefore, is easy for them to rediscover. Also, it’s suitable for many different types of people who want a range of experiences from exercise and cycling can be done competitively, or for leisure, but also as a form of travel or as a social experience if part of a group.

And then there are the many types of bikes, such as mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes, BMX bikes to name just a few. So, how about dusting off your bike and getting out and about while getting fit at the same time?

One of tahdah’s clients is Cycling Ireland which is the official governing body of cycling on the island of Ireland (and so includes Northern Ireland). They run more than 400 leisure events throughout the year ranging from a short fun ride with the family right up to longer distances of 300km. For those new to cycling they run a variety of programmes to help people get moving and/or develop cycling skills whether riding for the first time or not.

One programme in particular called “Bike for Life” is advertised as a programme which “will make the world of cycling more accessible to everyone, with the main focus being on learning skills, enjoying the bike and meeting new like-minded people”. This 6 week course includes all you need to know about getting on your bike including:
  • what to wear (remember, there's no mandate to wear lycra!)
  • cycling safely on the road in traffic and in the dark
  • bike riding skills
  • bike repair and maintenance
So, if a perceived lack of ability is preventing you from cycling, or if there’s some other reason for not getting on your bike again, why not check out your local cycling organisation to see what they offer and that will get you off the sofa and into the saddle?