Objectives: To provide population estimates and explore trends for recreational cycling by subgroups, and to understand the contribution of recreational cycling to meeting the physical activity guidelines among Australian adults. Design: Repeated cross sectional population surveys. Methods: Data from the Exercise, Recreational and Sport Survey (ERASS) for the years 2001-2009 were used. Approximately 13,000 Australian adults (≥15 years) were interviewed each year across all seasons. Data include frequency of cycling during the previous 12 months and average duration of a cycling session, asked since 2005. Three thresholds for meeting the physical activity guidelines were considered using the separate categories: achieving >150. min, >300. min, and 5 sessions of 30. min cycling per week. Results: The pooled prevalence of recreational cycling was 10%. Employed middle-aged men with tertiary education reported the highest prevalence of recreational cycling. An increase in cycling was observed over time, mainly attributed to an increase in "irregular" cycling (<1/week). Among all cyclists a third met the physical activity guidelines of 150. min/week, and less than 20% met the guidelines of 300. min/week or 5 sessions of 30. min/week, respectively. Although a small group, almost two thirds of those participating in organised or partly organised recreational cycling met the guidelines. Conclusions: Recreational cycling is a plausible way to accumulate sufficient health-enhancing physical activity. The majority of recreational cyclists do not cycle in organised rides. Targeted efforts are needed to exploit the full potential of recreational cycling for public health.
- Sex and age distribution