A Halfords-commissioned survey has found that almost three quarters (74 per cent) of British kids would like to cycle more with their families, despite 84 per cent of children spending most family time watching TV.
The TNS-conducted survey comes after the national retailer has announced a 22 per cent increase in the sales of children’s bikes over Christmas, compared year-on-year with 2007.
The report also found that almost all (95 per cent) of the children surveyed would rather be more fit and healthy, but do not exercise with their family as much as they would like to.
Cycling was the preferred means of keeping fit amongst the children, with 74 per cent preferring cycling over walking, running or playing team games.
“It’s great that so many of Britain’s children are taking an active interest in their health and fitness," said David Wild, chief executive of Halfords. "It’s no surprise that so many of them choose cycling because it’s fun and importantly, something the whole family can do together no matter what their level of fitness.
“There has been a real upsurge in cycling since our country’s success at the Beijing Olympics and our increased cycle sales certainly back up this renewed enthusiasm. Children’s bike sales over the Christmas period increased by 22 per cent year on year and sales have continued to grow over the past few months.”
Wild added: “There are clearly families who would like to cycle more given a little support, information and encouragement. One result we found particularly surprising was that one in ten six to nine year olds could not ride a bike. We also discovered that 14 per cent of eight to 11 year olds felt they couldn’t ride a bike well enough to go for family rides."
Wild also revealed the retail chain’s plans to work closely with Government initiative Bike4Life and British Cycling: “Halfords is delighted to announce that we will now be working with British Cycling to get more families to enjoy cycling through the development of programmes that will provide opportunities to build cycling confidence in fun and safe environments for all.
“We have also launched our new website kidscycling.co.uk which is packed full of useful information for families wanting to cycle more and we are also working closely with the government on its Bike4Life initiative to engage more families with cycling as a healthy, low cost and fun way to spend time together. This is a natural extension of our commitment to cycling through our sponsorship of a professional team last year and again in 2009 that will hopefully lead to some of the youngsters of today becoming the cycling stars of tomorrow.”
British Cycling CEO Ian Drake added: “British Cycling has ambitious targets for the sport and participation and is committed to getting 125,000 more people cycling at least once per week for sport by 2012. Halfords is the largest retailer of bikes in the country, so we are delighted to be able to work with them to develop new initiatives to continue to grow cycling within the UK.”
Director of Health and Wellbeing at the Department of Health Will Cavendish commented: "Getting on your bike is a great family activity and the perfect way to get children up and about to help them achieve their recommended 60 active minutes a day.
"Halfords are providing great backing for our new Bike4Life campaign, encouraging more families to take up cycling – saving pounds and shedding pounds as well as having a lot of fun."