There has been an explosion in cycling numbers during Covid-19 restrictions with an increase of over quarter-of-a-million people exercising on two wheels.
Research conducted by Sport Ireland has revealed that an estimated 510,000 people within the Republic of Ireland are enjoying cycling as a form of exercise, participating at least once per week.
That represents an increase of approximately 260,000 people compared to the same time last year.
The CEO of Cycling Ireland, Matt McKerrow, welcomed the figures.
"I think everyone in the cycling community has anecdotally noticed more people cycling in and around their towns and suburbs recently, but it is great to see the research with numbers quantifying the levels of increased participation," said McKerrow.
"Cycling Ireland is committed to its role in providing participation opportunities for the physical and mental health of all across the island of Ireland and playing its part in the country’s road to recovery from Covid-19."
A part of the reason for a rise in the figures is the amount of essesntial workers who have been commuting by bike which has been made a lot easier with a reduction in motor traffic.
Many local authorities around the country have introduced temporary cycle lanes during the lockdown although calls to make more of them a permanent fixture are growing louder.
Oisín O’Connor, the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown spokesperson for the Dublin Cycling Campaign, wants to see all the local authorities in the capital to show ambition with regard to expanding lanes around the county.
"Dublin Cycling Campaign volunteers will review the plans in detail and continue to push for further expansion of safe cycling routes," said O'Connor.
"The remaining three Dublin councils need to lay out similarly ambitious plans, to enable people to cycle safely from places such as Tallaght, Dún Laoghaire and Swords."
Meanwhile, Cycling Ireland say they have seen huge demand for programmes developed to support members of the cycling community.
These include a free 7-week online training programme delivered as part of the #BikeLikeMe campaign, aimed at increasing female participation.
Cycling Ireland’s virtual Zwift league has had the highest participation rate of any sports event for the past 10 weeks and a new ‘teach your child to cycle’ resource has proved to be very popular.