Can cycling make you happier?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

CycleBOOM Bikes

A team of researchers at Oxford Brookes are looking at the impact of cycling on older people’s wellbeing and fitness.

The team, headed up by Dr Tim Jones are looking for volunteers over the age of fifty to take part in the study.

Dr Ben Spencer from the Oxford Brookes Department of Planning said ‘the participants in our trial will take tests of their wellbeing at the beginning of the eight weeks and they will repeat them at the end to see how cycling has benefited them.’

‘This will advise us on how the places we live and technologies we use could be designed to encourage older people to cycle.’

Participants in the study get free cycle training and a free bike check, with the cost of basic repairs also being covered by Oxford Brookes.

Cycling is very important for older people because it not only has an effect on their health but there is also a theory it gives them more independence.

Dr Ben Spencer, Researcher, Oxford Brookes Department of Planning

The impact on their fitness and wellbeing will be recorded and the results will help national policy makers make it easier for older people to cycle in cities across the UK.

Brian Hook, 82, who will be borrowing one of the electric bikes for the study said ‘I think traffic and so on puts a lot of older people off cycling.’

‘Traffic doesn’t bother me so much because I’ve been cycling for so long but I think it discourages people in their 60s and up from taking it up.’

The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a toolkit for policy makers and practitioners such as planners, architects, engineers and designers. 

This will advise how the places we live and the technologies we use could be better designed to support and promote cycling among current and future older generations in order to seriously improve independent living, health and wellbeing.

If you're over 50 and interested in being involved in the study or to find out more, go to the CycleBOOM website