A remarkable year for the bicycle – By Rob Penn

Rob Penn the well known cyclist, broadcaster and author has written a lovely round up of the year over on his blog, and it mentions The Bicycle Academy!

While you’re working out how to work off that turkey and chestnut stuffing ring that seems to have sprung up around your middle, it might be time to reflect on what a remarkable year the bicycle has had.

Many commentators saw the triumph of Mark Cavendish at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year competition as the icing, or indeed the cake itself. I’m not so sure. He was certainly due the recognition, but I sense he would have got it even if he’d won the rainbow stripes and the green jersey in the same season, a decade ago. The extent of his victory, though – Cavendish collected 49.47% of all votes hints at some greater force than he at work in the fast expanding world of the bicycle.

There are plenty of other indicators that the cycling has turned a corner. Here is my shortlist:

The Bicycle Academy was one of the start-up, small business stories of the year. Through a crowd funding scheme run by Keo Films, it hit the funding target in a record six days:

Scalextric are manufacturing a Team GB Velodrome Cycling set – no, really. They are!

David Millar’s book was a Sunday Times bestseller on publication. Having spoken to Millar’s editor at a party just before the book was published, I know the success of the book is out of all proportion to the expectation.

Tickets for the London 2012 UCI World Cup Classic Series Event at the new velodrome in February sold out in minutes.

The London School of Economics published a report recently on cycling’s contribution to the UK economy. The headline numbers on participation in cycling: some 3.7m bicycles were sold in 2010, up 28% on 2009. The net addition of new cyclists last year is estimated at 1.3m, bringing the number of adult cyclists in the UK to 13m.

May you have many, many happy miles in 2012.

Bon velo!