Would be cyclists' fear of 'seeming weird'

Oh, we are a nation of conformists. A recent study disclosed that the fear of not fitting in, as well as having 'helmet hair' and 'turning up to work sweaty' were the biggest reasons for people not cycling to work.

While successive Governments have stumped up cash to get us on our bikes, many of us are not so keen, according to the study, carried out by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

'Most people prefer not to stand out as different, but tend to adopt norms of behaviour that fit in and reflect the majority experience,' said leader of the study Professor Colin Pooley of Lancaster University.

'In Britain, travelling by car is the default position for most people – over 60% of all trips are by car- and car ownership and use is seen as normal.

'The significance of such issues in influencing people’s everyday travel decisions should not be underestimated.'

'Campaigns to promote walking and cycling as normal and something accessible to all and not dominated by super-fit or unusually committed specialists should also be adopted.'

Steph from Leeds, who took part in the study, said: 'I get called the bag lady, because I walk everywhere and I have quite a lot of stuff with me.' Sally from Worcester added: ' 'You do get a sense of some people thinking oh, you’re a bit weird because you’re going up on the bike you know. A bit odd.'

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