PEDAL for Scotland generates up to £3 million in economic and health benefits, the first analysis of the country’s biggest cycling event revealed today.
Research by organising body Cycling Scotland has found £1.05m is contributed to the economy from riders’ spending, such as food and drink, accommodation, travel and bike equipment.
A further £1m-2m of health economic benefits are derived from those taking part cycling more before and after the event.
This is calculated by the reduced death rate of participants cycling more regularly.
Cycling Scotland said cycling could also lead to fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary Heart Disease, stroke and depression.
The body said physical inactivity cost the NHS in Scotland £94m and contributed to some 2,500 deaths annually.
It said the 50-mile Glasgow-Edinburgh ride was to show the considerable distances it is possible to cover by bike, and to encourage people to leave their car at home for short journeys.
Chief executive Keith Irving said: “With over 10,000 people taking part, Pedal for Scotland is the nation’s biggest bike event and this economic and health impact data demonstrate its importance.
“The range of Pedal for Scotland rides – from four miles to 110 miles – are designed so anyone, of any age or ability has an opportunity to enjoy cycling.”
The Scottish Government, which funds Cycling Scotland, said it might increase its support for “active travel” - cycling and walking - next year.
Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “Whether it’s for health reasons or for fun, those taking part are embracing a more active and healthy lifestyle and we want to encourage even more people to follow their lead, making active travel part of Scottish life.
“That is why we invested a record £40m in active travel last year and I have committed to at least matching, if not increasing, that figure this year.”