Cycling, also known as biking, is a popular leisure activity and, in many cases, a means of transportation. In 2016, around 12.4 percent of Americans cycled on a regular basis. The number of cyclists/bike riders in the U.S. saw a considerable increase between 2012 and 2014, and has remained fairly stable since then. In 2016, there were 66.5 million cyclists and bike riders in the U.S. While the number of cyclists in the U.S. has decreased amongst cyclists aged between six and 17 since 2013, the trend among young adults – people aged between 18 to 24 years – is slightly different. The number of young adults who participated in bicycling increased from 2008 to 2013, when it reached the highest figure of the last decade – nearly 5.7 million. The number of young cyclists in the U.S. showed a declining trend after reaching this peak in 2014.
The U.S. bicycle market, which includes the retail sales of bicycles, related parts and accessories through all channels of distribution, has an estimated size of six billion U.S. dollars annually. In 2015, approximately 17.4 million bicycles were sold. On average, consumers in the U.S. spend about 23 U.S. dollars on bicycles per year. Sales of electric bicycles – bikes that have an integrated electric motor to it – are forecast to experience strong growth in the coming years. By 2023, global sales of e-bikes are forecast to reach approximately 40 million units. Asia Pacific is the most important market for electric bikes worldwide, while North America accounts for less than one percent of the global market.
Events are also a major part of this sport. For instance, just under half of a million people attended cycling events in the U.S. in 2016. The Tour de France, one of the most popular and prominent bicycle races in the world, attracts many spectators and riders. American road bicycle racer George Hincapie is one of the athletes with the most Tour de France appearances – 17 in total – leading the ranking with Australia’s Stuart O’Grady and German racer Jens Voigt. Despite this number of appearances in the tournament, Hincapie had his race results from May 31, 2004 to July 31, 2006 disqualified because of doping. Lance Armstrong, Hincapie’s teammate, was also involved in a doping scandal. Armstrong, who by many is considered one of the best riders of all time, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in 2012 by the International Cycling Union for doping. Any record Lance Armstrong achieved was taken out of the official record book.
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