Using Crickles data we can get insights into how the lockdown has affected us and answer questions such as:
Did we do less outdoor cycling during the lockdown?
How much more time did we spend on the turbo trainer?
What else did we do more or less of?
Are we reverting to pre-lockdown behaviours yet?
Have changing patterns of exercise behaviour varied between countries?
Here’s a single chart that addresses all of these:
Each column represents a geographical zone – the UK, the EU except the UK, the US, and the rest of the world. Each row depicts an activity – outdoor cycling (Ride), indoor cycling (VirtualRide, including all turbo trainer rides), running and walking; there is also a row for all other activities. Each point shows the average hours over a month for which people in each region engaged in each activity. The blue line shows January to August last year and the pink line shows the same period this year.
Looking at the UK (the first column), we see that the amount of outdoor riding was down on last year in February, March and April but recovered to 2019 levels by May. On the other hand, the amount of indoor cycling has been markedly higher this year since February, especially in the period from April to June. We’re also doing more walking and more of other sports, the most significant of which are workouts and weight training.
The picture is broadly the same elsewhere but there are differences. Europeans were back cycling outdoors at or above 2019 levels by May – a month earlier than us Brits (inc. Northern Irish) – and were only notably down on their 2019 levels in April. They took to their turbos with equal gusto but got off them a month or so earlier than we did. The majority of their large number of Other hours recorded in January 2020 are unsurprisingly accounted for by skiing,
Europeans – at least those on Crickles – do more running than Brits and increased their 2020 levels relative to 2019 in May and June. Our US cohort does even more running than the Europeans, and less cycling, Their indoor cycling levels were already higher than in 2019 from the start of the year – perhaps because Zwift and other indoor platforms have been well marketed in the US, where more extreme winter weather in much of the nation may be expected to generate a receptive home market. Other than that, the most marked change from last year in the US is an increase in walking and hiking in the Spring.
In the rest of the world the most conspicuous change this year has been a dramatic switch from outdoor to indoor cycling in April and May, with the momentum on indoor platforms persisting beyond that.
Overall, the chart seems to show that, at least for now, most people have reverted more or less fully to their former exercise behaviour, perhaps with more walking.