IT'S ABOUT this time each year that some Canberrans begin to fancy themselves as the next Cadel Evans.
Aaron Bashford, manager of OnyaBike in Civic, says it's usually when the Tour de France reaches its halfway point that some people decide to buy a bike.
''We're a bit lucky in Canberra,'' Mr Bashford said. ''There's lots of good cycling, mountain biking in particular, and the weather tends to stay quite nice for riding in winter.''
A study, by University of Sydney Professor Chris Rissel and independent researcher Chris Gillham, found there had been a decline in the per capita level of cycling in Australia.
The study found that there were 38 per cent fewer Australians riding bikes in 2011 than in 1985.
But, as riders took to the start line in Liege yesterday, Canberra's cycling clubs said the territory was bucking the trend and that interest in riding had increased in recent years.
''Our race numbers are probably up over 50 per cent on what they were two years ago,'' Canberra Cycling Club vice-president Peter Gough said. ''Towards the end of the Tour you tend to get a lot more people coming to have a go, and because this year is an Olympic year there'll be that interest as well.''