Cycling’s popularity is growing faster in most of Tayside and Fife than the Scottish average, according to new figures.
The number of cycling journeys has rocketed by as much as 480% in Dunfermline during the pandemic period, according to the Cycling Scotland statistics.
The average Scottish rise is a 52% increase in cycling journeys over the year.
There were 1,251 more journeys on bicycles in the first three weeks of March this year on Kingseat Rd, Dunfermline, compared to the same spell the previous year.
The number of cycling journeys in the Fife town grew from 259 to 1510.
Arbroath cycle journeys up more than 100%
In Arbroath – where there has been strong opposition to a £13m scheme to rework the A92 to make cycling easier – journeys by bike have more than doubled.
They have increased from 683 to 1392. That’s a rise of 709 or more than 103%.
In Kirkcaldy’s Dunnikier Rd, counters recorded 926 more cyclists. The numbers growing from 1268 to 2194.
Pierluigi Carena, who has lived in Dundee for more than 50 years, suggested everyone should get on out on a bike.
The teacher, who took up cycling regularly about two years ago, said: “I started before all this happened with lockdowns, but I am not surprised to hear that the number of people getting out on bikes has increased during the pandemic.
“It definitely helps with physical and mental health and I would encourage everyone to give it a try.”
Mr Carena, who lives in the West End, is on his bike most days and can often be seen on the cycle path to Broughty Ferry.
He added: “It can be quite busy on the Ferry path and at Riverside, with people walking as well of course — although not so much on a windy day like today (Monday).”
More than 1,500 more Dundee journeys
National cycling body Cycling Scotland, which has offered advice on cycling throughout the pandemic, has reviewed data from counters in Arbroath, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Perth and Dundee.
Cycle journey numbers on the Tay Road Bridge have grown from 2,969 to 4,562. That’s 1,593 more trips on bikes than last year.
While on the Lade Way path, in Perth, numbers crept up from 1,383 to 1,417. On the city’s Glasgow Road they grew from 386 to 461.
Cycling Scotland collected data from 47 counters placed in cities and towns.
Total cycling journeys recorded prior to the first lockdown between March 1 and March 22 grew 52% from 62,629 in 2020 to 95,506 this year.
Cycling Scotland chief executive Keith Irving said: “It has been a horrendous year, but one of the few bright spots has been more people getting back on their bikes.
“Helping far more people to cycle is key in delivering a green recovery from Covid-19 and supporting a just transition towards a net-zero Scotland.
“We’re delighted at the massive increase in cycling and it’s vital we see it continue and expand.”
Stirling more ‘cycle friendly’ than Dundee
Keen cyclist Leah Hall is often out on her bike for her delivery job with Uber Eats — but also spends her own time cycling to improve her mental and physical wellbeing.
The 20-year old, who was trying out the recently introduced e-bike hire scheme in Dundee, said: “I have been cycling ever since I was a child. It’s something I have always liked to do.
“Obviously with my work I’m out quite a bit, but I like to get out on the bike in my own time as well.
“I can see why it has become more popular during lockdown. It’s a great way to get some exercise done while getting out a bit.
“I have done a lot of cycling in Stirling as well. I feel they have more cycle lanes and is slightly more cycle friendly than in Dundee.”