Objective: To explore whether the reported increase in bicycle sales in Australia is corroborated by increases in numbers of cyclists. Methods: Australian representative data on cycling from annual Exercise, Recreation and Sport Surveys (ERASS) from 2001 to 2008 were used. Based on the weighted proportion of cyclists and 'regular cyclists' each year, the number of 'new' riders each year was calculated. Generous assumptions about the number of new bicycle purchased by new riders plus replacement bicycles by regular riders were compared with industry sales figures. Results: Any cycling increased from 9.5% of all adults in 2001 to 11.6% in 2008, an increase of 2.1% [95% CI: 1.14 to 2.76]. This 2.1% represents an overall increase in cyclists of around 343,552 (95% CI from 186,500 to 441,710 new cyclists). The difference between the estimated number bought and the actual industry total average number of bicycles sold (n = 753,843 per annum) numbered at least 395,000 unused adult bicycles sold each year after sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: There appear to be many more bicycles sold in Australia than are used. Further improvements may be needed in the cycling environment before a possible latent desire for cycling translates to participation.
- Physical activity