Cycle BOOM – design for lifelong health and well-being

Cycling is undergoing a Boom. But what about the older population?

Cycling can contribute to physical and mental health and wellbeing amongst an ageing UK population. For example, by providing a means of engaging with the outdoor environment for recreation and relaxation, as well as a way of  accomplishing everyday activities such as visiting friends or going to the shops.

But did you know that cycling accounts for only 1 per cent of all journeys amongst people aged 65 and older in the UK compared to 23 per cent in the Netherlands, 15 per cent in Denmark and 9 per cent in Germany?

Some people adapt to changing physical circumstances and continue to cycle in older age, but for many people in the UK, cycling becomes more physically challenging and the risks associated with riding a bicycle in a less than supportive environment force many to stop for fear of injury. Programmes across the UK to promote cycling, such as improvements to cycle paths, provision of cycle training and promotional events, together with the growth in availability of assistive technologies such as electric bicycles (‘e-bikes’), could be helping to reverse this trend.

cycle BOOM is a study to understand cycling amongst the older population and how this affects independence, health and wellbeing. The ultimate aim is to advise policy makers and practitioners (e.g. planners, architects, engineers and designers) how our environment and technology can be designed to help people to continue to cycle in older age or to reconnect with cycling.

The project runs from October 2013 to September 2016 and involves researchers at Oxford Brookes University, Cardiff University, University of Reading and University of West of England (Bristol).



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