The true cost of cycling − the UK’s most popular amateur sport

The true cost of cycling − the UK’s most popular amateur sport

Have you taken up cycling while in lockdown? Be it stunning scenery or impressive statistics, it’s become common to see our friends and colleagues share pictures of their latest rides on social media. It’s no surprise then that a recent survey found cycling to be the UK’s most popular amateur sport − with more annual participants than football, rugby and golf combined.

It’s a great way to keep fit without a costly gym membership. Yet us Brits still blow an estimated £1.1billion on cycling each year, so you may want to assess your finances if you’re just starting out.

Read a breakdown of the typical costs involved in saddling up below.

A bike

The bike itself is perhaps the most obvious place to start your shopping list. From mountain bikes to electric hybrids and fold-up options, there are plenty of different types on the market − but a lightweight road bike is your best bet for most cycling adventures.

It’s easy to spend several thousand on a Tour de France replica. If you have the money and know you’ll get value out of it, then why not? But if you’re a little less experienced, you may want to stick to something under £500 while you work out whether cycling is a temporary hobby or something more serious.

Cycling clothes

Next is the kit. Padded shorts are essential for comfort on long rides and can be easily concealed under extra layers if you’re unsure about the skin-tight look. A good cycling jersey meanwhile will keep you cool in the heat with sweat-wicking material and zips for ventilation − plus handy pouches for food and other supplies.

Layering is always a good idea when heading out in unpredictable weather, so throw in a compact waterproof jacket to make sure you’re always prepared. You may also need to find a pair of cycling shoes to fit your new bike pedals.

Tools and safety accessories

You’ll need various tools and accessories to keep you safe and sound on the road. A puncture repair kit is a must-have no matter how far you plan to travel, while chain oil will help keep every cog running smoothly.

There were 17,550 serious cycling accidents on UK roads in 2018, so a sturdy helmet, lights and reflectors are all vital for avoiding or limiting damage. A water bottle and cage will also make sure you don’t become dehydrated on long or strenuous rides.


As with running and other physical activities, technology can enhance the modern cycling experience. Apps and devices with GPS technology allow you to plan and follow routes, track your performance and compare it to other cyclists around the world.

You could install free or paid apps on your smartphone or attach a mini cycling computer to your handlebars.


Cycling’s popularity is only likely to increase as our cities and towns become more bike friendly. Will you be adding any of these items to your wish list?

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