Cycling is something that I probably enjoy participating in more than I enjoy watching, but even I can’t argue with the popularity and the performance of British cyclists over the last few years. Those years have included spectacular performances in not only the 2012 Olympic Games in London and The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but also the most important international event in the cycling calendar – the Tour De France
British Cyclists Winning Tour De France in Two Consecutive Years
It feels appropriate to begin where I really got interested in cycling as a competitive sport – 2012 and the Tour De France. I remember there being a slight buzz about the race as it seemed like Britain may have a good chance of being victorious. I did not really appreciate the level of achievement this required, but knew that if they were to bring home a win it would be an excellent way to kick start the year of the Olympics. Bradley Wiggins looked like an unstoppable force as he cycled through the streets and roads of France and won, making him the first Brit to ever win the race.
Jumping ahead to 2013, there was a lot of hope in British cyclists fans that following our domination of the Olympics on the road and in the Vellodrome that a Brit may win the Tour again. The expectation was obviously very high and Chris Hume answered the hopes and prayers of many by putting in a sterling performance to become the second ever British winner of cycling’s most coveted title.
London 2012 Olympics and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
Like many sports, there was a resurgence of interest in cycling following Wiggin’s victory in France that continued as Team GB put in their best performance at an Olympics for a very long time. Arguably one sport that Team GB really shone in was cycling in the Vellodrome and in the road race. Bradley Wiggins again proved why he is one of the best sportsmen the country has ever produced with what seemed to be a rather easy win in the road race, while Sir Chris Hoy did what he did best in the Vellodrome. There were also medals from the ladies in the Vellodrome too.
The buzz around sports in general but especially cycling was especially high following on just 2 years later at Glasgow 2014 and although they may not have won as many as they hoped, it was still a good event for the home nations. I think the reason that cycling is as popular as a spectator and participator sport is because the general skills involved are easy for anyone to learn.
Are Less Young People Cycling?
I was slightly disheartened, but not surprised recently when I had a conversation with a bike shop owner about people’s interest in cycling. Based on his own experience, he still thinks that despite all the efforts of Team GB, Chris Hume and Mr Wiggins, kids today would still prefer to sit in home in front of games consoles than get outside on a bike.
As a big fan of cycling as a way to keep fit and have fun, I think that is sad and think that parents should be doing more. Although parents can’t be blamed as there is a real push nowadays for non-physical entertainment in the media and by advertisers.
What are your thoughts? Is our interest in cycling as a nation dwindling and how will this affect our chances of winning medals and tournaments in the future?