Bikes are back on the front cover of The Times. Cycling is getting a pretty good press at the moment and this is leading to tills ringing

Cycling is on message bigtime

The Times today reports on the bronze medal of track cyclist Yvonne Macgregor and headlines her age: afterall, not many 39 year olds win Olympic medals for aerobic sports. The underlying message is that cycling is good for the health and not just for whippersnappers. All positive stuff.

And on yesterdays BBC Six OClock News, Peter Keen, the BCFs performance director, linked cycling with the fuel crisis.

Filmed at the Manchester Velodrome, Keen said of the medals won so far (another has just been won, the bronze for the team pursuit):

Cyclings timed it nicely, we started to win medals in the middle of the fuel crisis. Bikes are the best way to get around.

Instead of the usual sarcastic put down, the reporter concluded his piece (which also included footage of the Hotta factory in Devon, where Jason Quellys bike was built) by repeating much the same thing, saying that cycling was on the up and up. The World Class Performance Plan has clearly worked wonders for the image of cycling.

And most IBDs are reporting increased sales. As well as the messages on the bulletin board about better-than-usual footfall, BikeBiz has been doing a ring-round and most IBDs are reporting brisk business.

Just as people decide to stock up on candles and torches after theyve suffered a night-time power-cut, some of the slack has been taken up in the cycle market by people deciding to buy bikes should there be another fuel shortage.

Militant truckers and farmers have shown how easily Britain can run dry and bikes demonstrably a sure-fire way of getting around town when theres a fuel shortage. In The Independent on Sunday, a car commuter was forced to ride to work and she said she loved it so much shes going to keep cycling).

Because of the fuel crisis, people who may have been meaning to buy bikes for ages are given a good excuse to bring forward their purchase.

And success on the track adds to the pro-bike message. It may seem a long way from Lycra-clad superheroes pedalling furiously around wooden boards to extra sales of low-end hybrids but every media mention of cycling is a good thing: people start to think bike.

Roll on the next fuel crisis but in the meantime lets cheer on the Brit cyclists in Sydney!

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