Health and well-being benefits of e-bike commuting for inactive, overweight people living in regional Australia

Health Promot J Austr. 2022 Oct;33 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):349-357. doi: 10.1002/hpja.590. Epub 2022 Mar 17.

Abstract

Introduction: Pedal-assisted electric-bikes (e-bikes) are bicycles fitted with electric motors. Motorised functions on e-bikes only operate when the user pedals, allowing riders a moderate amount of physical activity. This study aimed to explore the mental and physical health and well-being impacts related to ebike usage for inactive overweight or obese individuals living in regional Australia.

Methods: Twenty inactive, overweight/obese people who seldom cycled were provided with an ebike over a 12-week period. Individual semi-structured interviews conducted at the end of the trial generated data about participants' experiences of using ebikes. Inductive thematic analysis of interview data using Thomas (2006) data analysis framework and NVivo 12 software was undertaken.

Results: Data analysis revealed that e-cycling improved participants' mental and physical well-being and that they felt happier when riding an e-bike.

Conclusions: Riding an e-bike can improve mental and physical health, happiness and overall sense of well-being. Greater uptake of e-bikes would have positive health implications for the wider community. Results from this study can be used to inform active transport policy. SO WHAT?: Our study demonstrated that encouraging active transport in the form of e-cycling can improve the overall health and well-being of overweight and obese Australians. More specifically, e-cycling demonstrated a positive impact on mental health well-being.

Keywords: active transport; cycling; e-bike; electric bicycle; happiness; mental health; obesity; physical activity; quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Bicycling* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Overweight*
  • Transportation