Monday, February 25 2008 @ 11:35 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
But official figures reveal the bike is in fact becoming the transport method of choice for the rich, rather than those further down the earning ladder.
And the richer people become, the further they cycle, according to the Department of Transport's National Travel Survey.
The poll shows that the richest fifth of the population cycle on average five times as far in a year as the poorest fifth.
It also found that those with less money are unlikely to consider cycling as a way of getting around, despite the fact they are less likely to have a car to use instead.
Poorer people appear more concerned about the stigma of riding a bike, fearing that others will view it as a sign of inferiority.
The rich, meanwhile, are likely to be more confident in their social standing so seem to worry less about how others might perceive them from their transport choice.
Those on higher incomes also tend to be better educated about the health benefits of cycling and more aware of the need to be healthy.
Cycling groups believe a negative stereotyping of cyclists, coupled with a lack of education about its benefits, are deterring poorer people.
Studies show that regular cyclists typically have a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger and those cycling regularly beyond their mid-thirties add two years to their life expectancy.