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Where is the cycling boom?

Thursday 29th October 2020

There's not many silver linings to come out of this pandemic but you can argue the uptake in cycling participation whether it be for exercise or commuting is one of them. Trying to buy a brand new bike is like trying to get hold of toilet paper at the start of lockdown. Pop up cycle lanes have come and gone with a mixture of success but which region is seeing the most interest? Leisure Lake Bikes broke down the stats with some interesting findings...

COVID-19 took the world by surprise and forced us all to change our everyday lives in some way or another. Many of us have used our time to prioritise our health more than ever before. After the UK was forced into lockdown back in March 2020, the short-term closure of gyms and fitness facilities left us no choice but to explore new, COVID-safe ways to keep fit as well as safe during the pandemic. For many of us, the answer to this problem was cycling.

We’ve all heard of the upsurge in bike purchases over recent months—but which regions in particular are responsible for this increase? Based on UK Google search volume data collated between October 2019 and September 2020, we uncover which regions in particular are responsible for the cycling boom!

The Big Picture

It’s no surprise that the majority of cycling-related terms have experienced an upsurge in searches since lockdown was announced. There have been an incredible 3,080,160 searches for cycling-related terms in the data range given. Contributing the most to this is Wales, which accounts for 5,313 of every 100,000 searches for bike-related terms. Northern Ireland has also embraced the cycling trend. The country accounts for the second-highest total of 5,148 searches per 100,000 for cycling-related keywords.

On the other hand, it seems that those in the London region don’t share the same adoration for cycling that Wales and Northern Ireland do. London accounts for only 893 searches for bike-related searches. The North East region has a different preference for outdoor activities too, accounting for just 1,702 bike related searches per 100,000.

What the nation is searching for?

With all things considered, it’s fair to say that the UK has obtained a new-found love for cycling over the recent months. But with the cycling world now being more than just a pedal bike and helmet, what type of bikes are people searching for the most?

Cycling and Adrenaline Rushes

For the likes of Northern Ireland, people appear to share a keen interest in the electric bikes sector. Searches for ‘2 seater electric bikes’ experienced a 378% increase during the timescale given. Wales has also embraced a sense of modernity with its cycling choices and has experienced a search increase of 95% for this term. Data also suggests that those in Scotland seek the adrenaline aspect of riding a BMX bike, with searches for the term ‘18 inch united BMX’ experiencing a 496% increase. It seems the South East seeks the thrilling side of biking too. Searches for ‘18 inch GT BMX bike’ increasing by an astounding 1,000% over the date range given.

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Extreme Sports in the Bike World

As for other extreme sports the bike world has to offer, data suggests that the UK has took an interest in mountain biking more this year too. In the Scotland region, searches for ‘mountain bike touring’ have increased by 522%, while searches for ‘mountain bike kids bikes’ rose by 333%. With the Scottish Highlands being home to an abundant amount of picturesque views, countryside landscapes, and indigenous woodland areas, it’s no surprise that Scotland is a hotspot for mountain biking adventures.

This lines up with the fact that bike-related searches are spiking mostly in rural areas. This suggests people are searching for bikes for health and fitness purposes, rather than commuting. The most densely packed urban region, London, has the lowest volume of searches.  

Speaking on the cycling boom the UK has experienced over recent months, Ben Mercer, Marketing Manager at Leisure Lakes Bikes, said: "Across the UK we've seen huge increases in bike sales as people seek out outdoor activities to support their mental health through lockdown. The search data for the various terms has highlighted that Welsh people really enjoy cycling, probably owing to the stunning scenery through the nation and hugely popular cycle routes like the North Wales Coaster and the Six Dams route in the Elan Valley. "We also found huge spikes of interest in electric bikes, especially in more rural locations, which could correspond to a more sustainable way of life and living in general."


As UK lockdown restrictions tighten once again, what better time is there to indulge in a new independent activity? Whether you’re looking for a way to keep fit without the added costs of a gym membership or do your bit for the environment and ditch the car for a bike, the cycling world presents an abundance of fun ways to try something new.