In a 2013 Nielsen report1 on global consumer fitness, cycling was one of the top fitness activities for regular exercisers, out-ranking both running/triathlon (29%) and swimming (27%). Only walking (59%) and gym-type activities (61%) achieved better results.
Here are five more revealing stats behind the rapid rise of pedal power that provide further proof of just how – and why – cycling is taking off:
1. More people are cycling – indoors and out
In the five years from 2008, the number of people in the United States who reported doing some sort of cycling activity (indoors or out) in a year surged from 47.16 million to 67.33 million2.
2. The Tour de France is now the world’s largest annual sporting event
In 2015, the 21-day cycling competition had an estimated worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people, in more than 180 countries, with 1.7 million fans on Facebook and 1.3 million followers3 on Twitter – leaving events like the 2014 World Cup final, with its 1 billion viewers4, for dust.
3. Bicycles and accessories sales are in the billions
Cyclists are a passionate bunch – they don’t just stop at the machine, they want the whole kit. The U.S. Bicycle Market 2014 report, prepared for the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) by the Gluskin Townley Group, put total retail sales of bicycles, related parts and accessories at $6.1 billion5 in 2014.
4. Those hard-to-please millennials are fans
From New York to London, indoor studio cycling is a hit, packing out classes with the crucial 18 to 34-year-old age group, each forking out up to $34 for a class. Information lodged by frontrunners SoulCycle in their IPO on July 30, 2015, shows that their total revenue grew from $36.2 million in 2012 to $112 million in 2014; while their total classes and rides more than tripled from 25,000 and 969,000 in 2012, to over 81,000 and 2.9 million rides in 20146.
5. It gets results
At the end of the day – it just works. Cycling is the ultimate combo of endorphin-inducing exhilaration and stress-reducing calm. A low impact workout that burns anywhere from 350 to 600 plus calories in a 45-minute studio class7, according to the American Council on Exercise (depending on the individual participant and the intensity level of the class).