This paper draws on data from a large UK study that aimed to understand cycling among the older population and how this affected independence, health and wellbeing. Part of the study involved an ‘e-bike trial’ where participants aged 50 and over, who were returning to cycling after a hiatus, were loaned an e-bike for an eight-week trial period. Pre-trial and post-trial cognitive tests of trial participants, reported previously Leyland et al. (2019), demonstrated how e-bikes, provide positive benefits to cognitive function and wellbeing. The paper builds on these findings, drawing specifically on the qualitative component, predominantly biographical interviews, written and visual material provided in rider diaries and a focus group discussion, to understand the reasons for this positive impact.
The findings demonstrate how power assistance can provide riders with the opportunity to extend the distance and types of area they are willing to cycle from their homes (their ‘ranging behaviour’) and how this can promote health and wellbeing. Our evidence suggests that e-bikes have the potential to support cycling for leisure as well as everyday travel and that consideration should be given to the positive effects of e-cycling on mental wellbeing in addition to physical activity. This is particularly pertinent in the context of an ageing society, the push towards zero-emission cities and the need to ensure socially inclusive mobility, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Leyland, Louise-Annvan Reekum, Carien M.
School of the Built Environment
Year of publication: 2022Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-10-15