Success breeds success for British cycling

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It’ll be a while before we see how the Olympics will fully impact the British economy, be it for good or bad, but the U.K.’s cycling dominance this summer is already yielding returns for the sport.

The London School of Economics published a dry, but insightful report titled “The Olympic Cycling Effect” where smart people surveyed 1,000 British citizens before and after the Games about their interest and involvement in cycling.

Apparently 12 medals, including eight golds by the likes of superstars Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy, didn’t hurt. Fifty-two percent of respondents said those two, along with ladies Laura Trott and Sarah Storey, had inspired them to start riding. Also impressive: the number of Brits who consider themselves “frequent cyclists” jumped from 28 percent before the Games to 66 percent following, while 71 percent of respondents were inspired to buy cycling gear and accessories, and 40 percent said they were interested in attending an event at the Velodrome as a live spectator.

Here in the States we’ve seen a similar growth in the passion for women’s soccer, where significant victories (two World Cups and four gold medals since 1991) have inspired American athletes like Alex Morgan to dream about — and eventually achieve — the same success as their heroes.

Sometimes the effect is short-lived, but if Morgan’s shiny new gold medal is any indication, the Brits should have no problem dominating cycling, both on the track and on the road, for years to come.