“Get on your bike and the UK could save £2.5 billion this year,” suggests Bike Week promo

Bike Week pushes the economic angle

Cycling is green, fun, smart and fast. But it’s also a way to save cash, and with petrol prices soaring to £1.20 per litre and the average tank of petrol now costing over £60, cycling instead of driving short distances can save a ton of cash.

This is a key message from Bike Week, aiming to capitalise on the media’s current obsession with rising fuel prices.

“Families have been hit the hardest by the fuel crisis making this year’s Bike Week (14-22 June) a timely way to help families feeling the pinch,” said a statement from Bike Week.

The annual event, sponsored for the next two years by Nokia, starts this weekend.

“Thousands of events across the UK will offer families the perfect opportunity to dust down old bikes, benefit from some free cycle training and pedal off the post-winter paunch – whilst rediscovering the financial, health and environmental benefits of cycling.”

Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England said: “The credit crunch means there has never been a better time to take part in Bike Week and start cycling. Over half of all car journeys are under 5 miles long, as we pop to the shops or do the school run – and yet swapping short journeys like this with a 30 minute bike ride could save the UK £2.5 billion each year.

“You will work off the cost of a new bike in only a few weeks by filling the tank less regularly – a genuine carbon and financial offset!”

Nokia’s press office said the company’s latest mobile devices can help families make the switch from cars to bikes. The phones have built in GPS tracking, maps and voice-guided navigation.

James Cracknell, an Olympic gold medallist, used a Nokia N82 to navigate himself 1,400 miles across France and Spain on his bike for Sport Relief. “Nokia’s Sports Tracker can help you find the quickest routes to cut down travel time and track your progress to help shed the pounds.”

Boris Johnson said: "Cycling is a personal passion of mine. Events like Bike Week are just what we need to get people on their bikes, so they can experience first hand what a fun and all-round positive activity cycling can be. Riding and maintaining a bike is something that won’t break the bank, and no-one can deny its green credentials or value to health. One of my personal aims is to encourage many more Londoners to get on their bikes, so I hope that Bike Week 2008 helps achieve this, and that all sorts of people get into the spirit of the event."

On Thursday 19th June, Ruth Kelly will announce the towns and cities that have been awarded Cycle Town status.

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