New study shows huge positive impacts for Essex from hosting Ford RideLondon-Essex


A new report has found that Ford RideLondon inspires the people of Essex onto their bikes, boosts pride and perceptions of the county while adding hundreds of thousands of pounds to the local economy.

  • New report released on socio and economic impacts of the event in Essex
  • £5.28 million spent by participants, spectators and event organisers
  • 98% of spectators in Essex were proud to host the events
  • Event inspired significant increase in activity and cycling
  • 2024 edition of Ford RideLondon-Essex takes place this weekend (Friday 24 May to Sunday 26 May)

The study, undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre, explored the socio-economic impact of the 2023 edition of Ford RideLondon. It was based on the 30,000 people who registered for any of the 2023 Ford RideLondon-Essex rides, FreeCycle participants and the estimated 34,000 spectators who attended on one or more of the three days the event took place in Essex over the weekend of Friday 26 May to Sunday 28 May 2023.

Headline results show that, as well as a financial boom to the economy, Ford RideLondon-Essex resulted in increased levels of physical activity among those taking part as well as those watching on, with those in the county saying they felt proud of the event being hosted in Essex.

Councillor Lee Scott, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member of Planning for a Growing Economy said: “The findings from this report truly demonstrate the positive impact that the Ford RideLondon-Essex event has had on the Essex economy. The exposure that hosting this event brings to local businesses, landmarks and places and spaces across Essex not only benefits the county over the event weekend, but for the long-term too.”

The report’s findings come the day before the 2024 edition of Ford RideLondon, which starts tomorrow [24 May] and runs until Sunday [26 May].

Findings included:

Economic impact

  • The 2023 edition supported economic activity totalling £5.28m in London and Essex from spending by participants, spectators and the event organisers
  • Includes £1.3m of economic impact (additional expenditure in the host locations from outside the area) in Essex and London
  • Spectators in Essex spent an estimated £640,000 over the three days
  • Estimated £5 million raised for charity

Behaviour change

  • In the three months following participation in one of the events, 67% of respondents had used active modes of transport for commuting purposes
  • The net increase in self-reported general physical activity levels in post-event period was 53% with a 30% increase in the amount of cycling
  • 52% of participants said their participation had inspired people close to them to cycle more

Spectators in Essex

  • 98% of Essex spectators reported feeling proud that Essex was hosting the event, 95% rated the experience as excellent or good, 94% felt more positive about where they live and 90% said it brought their local community together
  • 84% of spectators from outside Essex said the event enhanced their image of Essex as a place to visit and 76% were motivated to return to Essex for a break in the future
  • 81% of spectators surveyed in Essex were inspired to become more physically active (66% were inspired to cycle more)

Funding for Active Essex

  • The London Marathon Foundation (LMF) awarded £1.75 million (£1 million in 2022/23 and £750,000 in 2023/24) to Active Essex to support community and inclusive cycling initiatives in Essex
  • On Tuesday the London Marathon Foundation announced an additional award in principle of £500,000 to continue supporting communities across Essex to lead active and healthy lives. This brings the Foundation’s total funding awarded in Essex to £2.25 million since May 2022.
  • 17,866 unique individuals in Essex are estimated to have participated in activities funded by this investment in 2022/23

Hugh Brasher, Event Director at London Marathon Events, said: “Ford RideLondon is the world’s greatest festival of cycling which inspires thousands of people each year to celebrate the bike. This report illustrates the economic benefits of the event and reemphasises that it brings people and communities together. An event such as Ford RideLondon inspires those who are participating and also those who are supporting, as well as the cities, towns and villages the Ford RideLondon Classique, and the mass participation events, pass through.

“Inspiring activity is our purpose and Ford RideLondon supports methods of active travel both on the event weekend and for months afterwards. I want to congratulate everyone for their fundraising efforts in 2023 and best wishes to the thousands who will be participating on Sunday. It will be another day to remember.”

“The study was commissioned by London Marathon Events and carried out by Sheffield Hallam University’s Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) with data collection and fieldwork in Essex supported by Active Essex.

The 2023 RideLondon-Essex saw more than 22,500 cyclists take part in either the 100, 60 or 30-mile events while around 50,000 more enjoyed the free, family-friendly FreeCycle event, jumping on their bikes to explore eight miles of closed roads and visiting the festival sites.