Media centre

Media centre

Plymouth named as the UK’s most cycle-friendly city

  • Virgin Money Cyclone Survey rates 60 UK towns and cities
  • Norwich, Bristol, St Helens and Glasgow make the top 5

Cyclists should head to Plymouth if they want to experience the UK’s most cycle-friendly town or city, according to analysis for the Virgin Money Cyclone Survey, with Norwich, Bristol, St Helens, Huddersfield and Glasgow also performing well in the research project.

Virgin Money Cyclone researchers rated towns and cities on a range of criteria including bike thefts; accidents; serious injuries and deaths for cyclists; the availability of cycle routes and the availability of specialist bicycle repair centres.

The project allocated points for towns and cities based on their ranking, which were weighted to reflect the population in order to produce the top 60 cities and towns.

Plymouth scored well for low number of thefts, as well as a low number of accidents and cyclists killed or seriously injured while it ranked in the middle for the number of specialist cycle shops and 15th for cycle routes around the city.

Cambridge – despite its reputation as a cycling city, where one in five journeys are taken on bikes – only just made the top 60, hampered by high incidence of cycle theft, serious injuries and a mid-ranking for bike shops and for cycle routes.

The City of London and Greater London – famous for the launch of its Cycle hire, known as ‘Boris’ Bikes’– also made the top 60, rated 50th and 56th respectively, with the high number of thefts, accidents and deaths the main reason for their ranking.

Virgin Money launched the research to mark its inaugural sponsorship of the Virgin Money Cyclone Festival of Cycling, which involves four days of events for cyclists in the Newcastle area from June 28th to July 1st. Newcastle was ranked joint 21st in the analysis.

Graeme Tones of Virgin Money said: “Cycling continues to increase in popularity and is a major contributor to improving general health and easing traffic congestion. Government and local councils are doing their best to help more of us to get on our bikes through tax incentives, cycle parks and cycle paths.

“Every town and city in the top 60 can be pleased. Reducing the level of accidents and serious injuries requires responsibility from cyclists, care from drivers and the desire from towns and cities to make it easy and safe for people to get on their bikes”.

Virgin Money Cyclone organizer Peter Harrison said: “Everyone will have their own idea of what makes a town or city cycle friendly and the Virgin Money Cyclone research is an attempt to find which towns and cities are more cycle friendly than others and what the issues are. For those taking part in this year’s Virgin Money Cyclone I urge them to have a great time but equally importantly to be safe.”

The 10 most cycle-friendly towns are listed below:
Town/cityRanking
Plymouth1
Norwich2
Bristol3
St Helens4
Huddersfield5=
Glasgow5=
Dudley7
Ipswich8=
Cardiff8=
Walsall10

Full list of 60 towns and cities are shown below.

Regional breakdown

Bike thefts
Bike thefts lowered the final listing for the City of London while Bath, Cambridge and Peterborough also reported high levels of thefts. Cyclists are least likely to have their bike stolen in Belfast.

Cycling accidents
Bournemouth’s score was dented as a result of accidents along with Cambridge and the City of London and Greater London. Barnsley and Bath both had low levels of accidents.

Serious injuries and deaths
The highest incidence of deaths and serious injuries was the City of London. The safest towns are Bath and Middlesbrough.

Cycle routes
Bradford and Bolton performed below par on cycle routes while the City of London and Reading both performed well.

Specialists cycle shops and repairs
The City of London was highly rated for specialist bike shops and repair centres along with Salford while Durham and Gloucester were under-served in this respect.

Top 60 towns and cities town ranking
Town/CityRanking
Plymouth1
Norwich2
Bristol3
St Helens4
Huddersfield5=
Glasgow5=
Dudley7
Ipswich8=
Cardiff8=
Walsall10
Solihull11
Lincoln12
Bath13
Darlington14
Durham15
Kingston-upon-Thames16=
Reading16=
Blackburn16=
Barnsley16=
Middlesbrough20
Newcastle-upon-Tyne21=
Stoke-upon-Trent21=
Luton21=
Telford24
Edinburgh25
Sunderland26
Southampton27=
Wolverhampton27=
Bradford27=
Blackpool30=
Belfast30=
Portsmouth32
Southend33
Salford34=
Sheffield34=
Coventry34=
Brighton37
Liverpool38=
Swindon38=
Leeds48=
York41
Warrington42
Poole43
Wigan44
Bournemouth45
Leicester46
Bedford46=
Birmingham48
Manchester49
City of London50
Bolton51
Nottingham52=
Hartlepool52=
Derby54
Doncaster55
Greater London56
Swansea57
Gloucester58
Peterborough59
Cambridge60


-Ends-

Notes to Editors

* Research conducted in April 2012 by Virgin Money researchers using council police data for thefts, cycle accidents and KSI (killed or seriously injured) rates. Number of specialist bike shops calculated using search tool on TheCyclingExperts.co.uk. Number of cycle routes taken from Cycle-Route.com

For further information

Graeme Tones – Virgin Money

Tel: 0191 279 8187
Email: graeme.tones@virginmoney.com

Kevan Reilly/Chris Jarvis/TobyClark, Citigate
Tel: 0207 282 1096/1088

Images available upon request

About Virgin Money

  • Virgin Money acquired Northern Rock plc from Her Majesty’s Treasury on 1 January 2012. The acquisition included:
    • 75 Northern Rock branches
    • One million customers
    • c.£14bn mortgage book
    • c.£16bn retail deposit book
    • c.2,100 employees
  • Combined with Virgin Money’s existing business of three million customers, the enlarged Group will have over four million customers.
  • The combined business will operate under the Virgin Money brand.
  • Virgin Money’s business ambition is to make “everyone better off” – this philosophy underpins our approach to business by offering good value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive contribution to society and delivering a profit to shareholders.
  • Virgin is the official sponsor of the London Marathon, the biggest annual fundraising event in the world. Virgin Money leads the London Marathon sponsorship with the ambition to help runners raise £¼ billion over 5 years and will use its infrastructure, online capability and financial expertise to deliver that through Virgin Money Giving.

Northern Rock plc

  • On 1 January 2012, Northern Rock was acquired by Virgin Money.
  • Northern Rock is a bank, authorised by the FSA as a deposit taker and mortgage lender. It offers savings accounts and mortgage products to customers in the UK. New products are offered through both direct channels - including a national branch network - and mortgage intermediaries.