From The Observer:-
A 2008 Sport England study showed that 1.8 million of us cycle once a week or more, not including commuters, and it is the second-fastest-growing sport in the country after athletics. But the difference is most obvious in our cities. There has been a 107% increase of people cycling on the capital's main roads since 2000, according to Transport for London; it has also risen dramatically in Bristol (up 27% since 2003), Sheffield (60% since 2000) and Leicester (43% since 2003). A ride-and-go cycle scheme was recently set up in Bristol and a London version - which promises to have 6,000 bikes and a docking station every 300 metres - will launch next May.
What explains this cultural shift? A partial list of factors might include ever-rising petrol prices; the 7/7 attacks in London; an increasing awareness of environmental issues; the introduction of the congestion charge; the launch of the Cycle2Work schemes, which provide tax-free bikes funded by the government; erratic public transport; the Tour de France visiting the UK in 2007; the eight gold medals won by British cyclists at the Beijing Olympics last summer; concerns over swine flu. And then there are people who just want some exercise.
Nevertheless, cycling still only accounts for 1% of all journeys taken in the UK (and 2% of trips under two miles), a shameful total compared with 18% in Denmark and 27% in the Netherlands.