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Women led the way in huge increase in cycling for 2020, Strava data shows

Joe Robinson
16 Dec 2020

Activties for UK women between ages of 18 and 29 rose by 108% during pandemic

Women in the UK spearheaded the worldwide cycling and running boom during the peak coronavirus lockdown over the spring and summer according to fitness tracking app Strava.

Releasing its annual Year in Sport review, Strava revealed that uploads for the 2020 year hit 1.1 billion, almost doubling the total from 2019, with the surge in UK women between the ages of 18 and 29 uploading to the app a leading factor. 

'We’ve seen a real boost from women in terms of overall activity levels during the pandemic year,' Strava marketing director Simon Klima told The Guardian.

'There could be several reasons for that but in the past, our research has found that one of the biggest blocks for women to cycling is a perceived safety risk. But during the pandemic women perhaps felt safer to take to their bicycles, thanks to some temporary infrastructure improvements and quieter roads.'

Strava found activities recorded in the UK by women between the ages of 18 and 29 rose by 108% year-on-year, over double the global increase of 45%. It also found that increases in most other age categories for women in the UK were at least double the global figures, too.

For reference, global uploads to the app from men rose by just 10% in 2020. However, there was a massive 92% jump in activities posted by UK men aged between 18 and 29 throughout the course of the year.

Widespread working for home is believed to have resulted in a 14% upsurge in time logged by all users in 2020 while the UK saw an 82% increase in outdoor rides over the months of March and April as people adjusted to lockdown measures.

Around 9 million Strava users in the UK and Ireland helped contribute 1.5 billion kilometres by bike on the app in 2020 with 13.6 billion metres of vertical elevation. The average ride for UK and Irish riders tipped over the hour mark at 1:00:36 while the average distance came in at the 20.2km mark.

With record-breaking numbers of women out cycling using the Strava app, it came as no surprise to see a 36% increase in segment Queen of the Mountain titles being taken either. Then again, the passing of men's King of the Mountain titles increased by an equally healthy 32%.

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