No hard figures are available on the number of cyclists in the city. The Transport for London office estimates cycling has increased 52% in the capital since 2000, based on the number of cyclists crossing bridges over the Thames River.
Still, only 2% of Londoners cycle to work, compared with 20% in Copenhagen and 28% in Amsterdam. London Mayor Ken Livingstone, a bicycle enthusiast, wants to increase cycling 80% by 2010.
"Cycling is the fastest, cheapest, most healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around London, and more and more people are taking it up," Livingstone said by e-mail. "The number of cyclists has doubled over the last five years, while those killed or seriously injured has fallen by 40%."
Under the London Cycling Action Plan, Livingstone envisions transforming London into a world-class cycling city to reduce congestion and pollution. London now has 273 miles of bike routes, half built since 2000. The goal is 560 miles by 2010.
The sudden influx of cyclists after the July attacks took London by surprise. In July, the number of bike commuters was 26% higher than the same period last year, according to the transport office.
On the day of the bombings, which crippled the transportation system for weeks, bicycle shops sold out of their stock within hours.