Quarter of adults don’t know how to ride a bike, 28% can’t swim

LONDON — Nearly a quarter of adults are unable to ride a bicycle, a surprising new survey reveals. The poll of 2,000 British adults found that 24% of Brits lack this fundamental skill, a significant increase from just one in eight five years ago.

Among those who can’t ride a bike, 22% expressed a desire to learn but feel it’s too late to pick up the skill. The research also sheds light on other activities that many Brits struggle with, including rollerblading (46%), swimming (28%), skateboarding (50%), ice skating (43%), and soccer (30%).

Fear and embarrassment were cited as the main barriers preventing people from learning new skills. Of those unable to ride a bike, 16% attributed their hesitance to a fear of falling off, while 14% admitted to feeling too embarrassed to learn as an adult. The study found that 52% of respondents believe they lack the necessary skills to engage in new sports, and 42% worry about embarrassing themselves in the process.

Despite these apprehensions, the study, commissioned by HONOR UK and conducted by OnePoll, highlights the importance of lifelong learning, with 81% of respondents acknowledging the value of acquiring new skills as they age. However, more than half (52%) admitted they would feel foolish trying to learn a new skill at their current age. Surfing (17%), taekwondo (11%) and gymnastics (9%) ranked among the sports they wish they’d taken up early on.

The research also revealed that 78% of respondents find inspiration in older individuals who master new skills. Interestingly, 58% of participants reported feeling younger than their actual age, and 19% consider themselves more active now than they anticipated 20 years ago.

Lack of motivation (33%) and time constraints (30%) were identified as additional factors hindering the pursuit of new skills and sports. Furthermore, 27% of respondents believe that their inability to participate in certain activities holds them back in life, while 22% feel societal pressure to excel in these areas.

Bond Zhang, CEO of HONOR UK, emphasizes the importance of capturing moments when learning new skills. “People shouldn’t be scared to try a new skill even if it is riding a bike or engaging in any sport. It can feel scary and embarrassing to try a new sport, but capturing those moments can really help you improve,” says Zhang.