The idea that cycling is good for you is up there with the status of the pope and what bears get up to in woods, but its nice to have proof. The UK Biobank has done a huge study looking at health outcomes comparing those who cycle and walk and do no exercise at all. The consisted of over 250,000 people although less than 7000 cycled at all to work. Surprise surprise that they found those who cycled as commuters had less mortality over the 3 years of the study (cancer and stroke). The differences in health outcome were highly significant.
What is interesting is it really is a case of cycling is good for you. Walking or mixed mode commuting is a lot less beneficial. A bit of walking doesn’t seem to make much difference which is a bit disappointing. “Mixed mode” commuting had some health benefits but only if there was a cycling element.
This finding should feed into transport strategies particularly with the current particulate NOx issues. Increasing cycling rates are a win win win. Better long term health, less smog and a more pleasant urban environment. Since only 3% of all journeys in the UK are made by bike there is plenty of room for improvement and better health and lifestyle outcomes.