I found this article from Trip Savvy to be very interesting:
As the world locked down a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people searched for a way to stay healthy, sane, and socially distant. Like me, they found it on a bicycle. Countries from South Africa to Italy saw bike sales skyrocket. The NPD Group, a market research company, reported the U.S. had a 121 percent spike for the year in leisure bike sales.1 And when this rapid rise in bicycle transit became apparent last spring, cities and countries around the world rushed to accommodate two-wheeled travelers.
Some countries, like France, began providing biking subsidies to citizens for repairs of up to 50 euros in designated bike shops, and many city governments around the world began expanding cycling infrastructure. London, Brussels, and Bogota all saw new bike lanes added to main thoroughfares and reduced speed limits for the cars driving alongside them. Even in countries where governments were slower to promote biking during the pandemic, citizens started biking anyway. Bike activists in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Nairobi, Kenya, petitioned governments to expand biking infrastructure, while many more citizens began cycling on streets without bike lanes to avoid mass transit lines and potential contagion. The cyclists of these countries showed that while government support helped to grow the bike boom to an extent, the real fuel for it came from individuals themselves.
While many of these riders were using their bikes as an alternative commute to get to work, seek healthcare, or tend to other essential needs, others bought bicycles or broke out their existing ones simply for a safe and fun way to explore their home cities and countries outdoors. Before the onset of the pandemic, bicycle travel in itself had a strong appeal, offering a multitude of benefits to travelers.
“It was a way to get exercise, a way to connect with your surroundings more,” says Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sport psychologist and consultant to USA Triathlon. “You really can’t enjoy your surroundings when you’re going 70 mph.” Those long-standing benefits of bike travel were further amplified by the challenges and stresses of the pandemic, driving more people into saddles this past year.For me, the question will be what happens to the bicycle craze when the pandemic subsides? I was a regular cyclist before the pandemic, and will continue throughout and beyond. I often take cycling trips to other countries. I ride in numerous cycling events here in California. It is my main form of exercise.
Bicycle infrastructure has improved in the past year. Cities have taken the lead in creating safer bike lanes, and roads. The city of Oakland went so far as to close numerous streets to through traffic. The benefits of cycling center around these four: improved mental health, a cleaner environment (less driving), bicycle travel, and improvements to the bicycle infrastructure.
Whatever you do, please keep cycling, and wear your helmet!