Want to be superior? Get on your bike! Britons think cyclists are cooler, more intelligent and more charitable

By Alan Ross

Cyclists are more intelligent and more charitable than your average person. They’re cooler too – apparently.

At least that is the verdict from many Britons according to a study released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The psychological testing carried out by Mindlab revealed that cyclist are seen as 13% more intelligent, 10% more charitable and are 13% cooler than the norm.

Cyclists are also more likely to be lucky in love too – one in five people in the North West would choose to go on a date with a cyclist over other sports people.

And more than a third (39) would want have them on their pub quiz team.

The study claims to be an implicit association test examining people’s subconscious attitudes towards different sports.

But can we trust the study?

Neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis said: “Because Implicit Association Tests measure unconscious responses, they are able to reveal what people truly believe.

“They provide insights into people’s beliefs unbiased by any desire to conform to the opinions of others.  These results indicate we view cyclists as possessing attributes of which they can be proud.”

But Ian Whittell of the Manchester Wheelers’ Club does not think that many regular cyclists would see themselves as particularly cool.

“I do not think cyclist themselves would perceive themselves as being particularly cool. In fact for years cycling was not very cool at all,” he told MM.

“I think a lot of it is to do with the success at the elite level like the Olympics and Brad Wiggins and Chris Froome winning the Tour de France.

“Wiggins is a very cool character as well so when the rank and file talk about professional cycling that is who they think about.”

The growth in popularity of the sport in recent years has seen companies such as Rapha, who produce high-end kit, gain notoriety within the cycling world.

“Paul Smith [the fashion designer] is a cycling fan and Wiggins is a mate of Paul Smith and Rapha now produce the kit for Team Sky,” Mr Whittell explained.

“So that has been a factor in the popularity.”

Nancy Prior, Head of Events at the BHF, said: “We see over 28,000 riders descend on the capital for our London to Brighton Bike Ride each year to raise much needed funds for life-saving heart research, so we have always known that cyclists are a pretty special bunch.  These results just confirm that the rest of the nation feels the same.

“With cycling more popular than ever why not make 2014 the year to get in the saddle for charity? Cycling is a great inclusive sport that everyone can enjoy and as well as getting yourself fit and healthy, you’ll be helping to save the lives of thousands of people around the UK suffering from heart disease with the money that you raise.”

More than one in ten people in the North West have completed a charity bike ride and with the rise of cycling events across the country could be the reason why cyclists are seen as more charitable.

“Ten years ago if people were doing sponsored events they would have been running marathons but  because  more and more are cycling people are thinking ‘I will do London to Brighton’ or London to Paris or even a local sportive,” he continued.

Despite the fact that more than a third in the North West would want a cyclist on their pub quiz team the reason why those who ride a bike are seen as more intelligent remains the subject of speculation.  

“It was a bit out of left field that one.  I could not think where the intelligence thing came into it,” Mr Whittell said.

“It is not like you have to be able to fly a jet to ride a bicycle; it is one of the first things you learn as a kid.

“Unless it is a reflection that more and more people think it is a good thing to ride a bike for health and fitness reasons and maybe that is perceived as an intelligent that they look after their body a bit more.”

The North West does not seem to be put off by the sight of those in lyrca and when questioned about their ideal tandem partner they plumped for Alan Carr, who used to live in Manchester and Take That star Gary Barlow.

Picture courtesy of Tejvan Photos, with thanks.

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