University bike study puts older people in the saddle

Brian Hook, front, gives cycling a go with Oxford Brookes University research assistant Ben Spencer

Brian Hook, front, gives cycling a go with Oxford Brookes University research assistant Ben Spencer Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

OLDER people in Oxford are being given the chance to shape the future of cycling in British cities as part of a new study at Oxford Brookes University.

The cycle BOOM project is searching for volunteers aged 50 or above who are willing to cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week for eight weeks on either a pedal bike or electric bike.

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 country.

Ten riders from the Oxford area will take part using their own pedal bikes and another ten will be loaned an electric bike.

Brian Hook, 82, of Abingdon, is one of the participants who will take up the electric option.

The retired council worker, who has been cycling since he was three, 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 problem in Oxford is the current roads aren’t built for pavements and therefore the pavements are narrow and not suitable for cycle paths.

“Sometimes you’re going along a cycle path and you reach a dangerous part of road and it just disappears.”

Senior researcher at Brookes’ department of planning Dr Ben Spencer 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.

“They’ll also keep a diary of their experiences of cycling and how they affect their willingness to get on a bike.

“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 covered by Brookes.

While taking part in the study they have to carry a GPS tracker with them to show where they have been and for how long.

Dr Spencer said: “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.

“It lets them get out and about and can be a social activity with their friends.

“We want to find out how we can better design our towns to make it easier for them to cycle, something becoming increasingly important with our ageing population.”

To take part visit cycleboom.org

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Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:19pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Myron Blatz says...

Frankly, all cyclists should have to take a proficiency test, have insurance cover, and be re-tested every three years when over 65. Too-many older people seem to ride bikes, drive cars snd mobility scooters without the ability to cope with other traffic and road conditions. Did anyone else see that programme on tv last week about over-100 car drivers?
Frankly, all cyclists should have to take a proficiency test, have insurance cover, and be re-tested every three years when over 65. Too-many older people seem to ride bikes, drive cars snd mobility scooters without the ability to cope with other traffic and road conditions. Did anyone else see that programme on tv last week about over-100 car drivers? Myron Blatz
  • Score: -9

4:40pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Wanchai says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Frankly, all cyclists should have to take a proficiency test, have insurance cover, and be re-tested every three years when over 65. Too-many older people seem to ride bikes, drive cars snd mobility scooters without the ability to cope with other traffic and road conditions. Did anyone else see that programme on tv last week about over-100 car drivers?
Quite right Myron, I'm fed up with all these over 65 bicycle hooligans clogging up our roads and causing accidents left right and centre. They think they own the place. It's got to the stage now where I'm afraid to cycle in to town in case one of them crashes into me while they are texting or putting on their makeup or something
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Frankly, all cyclists should have to take a proficiency test, have insurance cover, and be re-tested every three years when over 65. Too-many older people seem to ride bikes, drive cars snd mobility scooters without the ability to cope with other traffic and road conditions. Did anyone else see that programme on tv last week about over-100 car drivers?[/p][/quote]Quite right Myron, I'm fed up with all these over 65 bicycle hooligans clogging up our roads and causing accidents left right and centre. They think they own the place. It's got to the stage now where I'm afraid to cycle in to town in case one of them crashes into me while they are texting or putting on their makeup or something Wanchai
  • Score: 5

4:50pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Wanchai says...

Would love this study to include pollution. We hear a lot about cleaner buses, hybrid engines etc. however when you cycle in Oxford you still can't avoid breathing in lungfuls of foul exhaust fumes. And it's particularly choking when you get stuck behind one of the many buses.
Would love this study to include pollution. We hear a lot about cleaner buses, hybrid engines etc. however when you cycle in Oxford you still can't avoid breathing in lungfuls of foul exhaust fumes. And it's particularly choking when you get stuck behind one of the many buses. Wanchai
  • Score: 5

9:40pm Sat 16 Aug 14

Richard of Wantage says...

Not the saga louts again. You always see them hanging about bus stops.
Not the saga louts again. You always see them hanging about bus stops. Richard of Wantage
  • Score: 7

10:22am Sun 17 Aug 14

grandconjuration says...

Wanchai wrote:
Would love this study to include pollution. We hear a lot about cleaner buses, hybrid engines etc. however when you cycle in Oxford you still can't avoid breathing in lungfuls of foul exhaust fumes. And it's particularly choking when you get stuck behind one of the many buses.
A very recent study by Kings College London suggests that cyclists are exposed to less air pollution than the occupants of motor vehicles.

http://www.cyclingwe
ekly.co.uk/news/late
st-news/cyclists-exp
osed-five-times-less
-air-pollution-cars-
experiment-suggests-
133129

This might seem counterintuitive and I often see claims that cyclists are exposed to more pollution than other forms of transport (usually by the anti-cycling lobby). But where does the air inside a car cabin come from? It comes from the atmosphere! The air inside my car's cabin is sucked in through vents just below the windscreen. A car provides no protection from air pollutants, unless your car is hermitically sealed with its own air supply.

So, enjoy riding your bike, it's only going to make you healthier.
[quote][p][bold]Wanchai[/bold] wrote: Would love this study to include pollution. We hear a lot about cleaner buses, hybrid engines etc. however when you cycle in Oxford you still can't avoid breathing in lungfuls of foul exhaust fumes. And it's particularly choking when you get stuck behind one of the many buses.[/p][/quote]A very recent study by Kings College London suggests that cyclists are exposed to less air pollution than the occupants of motor vehicles. http://www.cyclingwe ekly.co.uk/news/late st-news/cyclists-exp osed-five-times-less -air-pollution-cars- experiment-suggests- 133129 This might seem counterintuitive and I often see claims that cyclists are exposed to more pollution than other forms of transport (usually by the anti-cycling lobby). But where does the air inside a car cabin come from? It comes from the atmosphere! The air inside my car's cabin is sucked in through vents just below the windscreen. A car provides no protection from air pollutants, unless your car is hermitically sealed with its own air supply. So, enjoy riding your bike, it's only going to make you healthier. grandconjuration
  • Score: 7

12:53pm Mon 1 Sep 14

doitall says...

A lot of the conflict - or at any rate mutual irritation - between cyclists, drivers (& pedestrians) arises because roads and cycle routes aren't designed with all three interests in mind, or with a clear overall policy. It doesn't have to be the same everywhere - you could decide that the centre of town would be pedestrian-friendly, with through routes for cycles and/or cars around the core & plenty of lock-ups for bikes (which I think is what they tried to do, but there's a distinct lack of clarity in e.g. Broad St & New Inn Hall St which pedestrians don't seem to realise have traffic), while through routes for cars e.g. Woodstock Rd would have physically separate cycle tracks throughout (not shared bus lanes, a bus is the last thing a cyclist wants to share a lane with!) & better-designed junctions. I think you'd need to study how people use the spaces now to make it intuitive and less irritating - the way they've tried to do it on Cowley Road is horrible for both vehicles and cycles because of the type of traffic - lots of buses and impatient taxis - it basically expects drivers to behave differently because of a painted bike on the road without any protection for cyclists. I don't drive or cycle there if I can help it. Why not study a transport system somewhere that actually works - Holland? - and try to see what contributes to that instead of introducing piecemeal changes with no provision for user feedback.
A lot of the conflict - or at any rate mutual irritation - between cyclists, drivers (& pedestrians) arises because roads and cycle routes aren't designed with all three interests in mind, or with a clear overall policy. It doesn't have to be the same everywhere - you could decide that the centre of town would be pedestrian-friendly, with through routes for cycles and/or cars around the core & plenty of lock-ups for bikes (which I think is what they tried to do, but there's a distinct lack of clarity in e.g. Broad St & New Inn Hall St which pedestrians don't seem to realise have traffic), while through routes for cars e.g. Woodstock Rd would have physically separate cycle tracks throughout (not shared bus lanes, a bus is the last thing a cyclist wants to share a lane with!) & better-designed junctions. I think you'd need to study how people use the spaces now to make it intuitive and less irritating - the way they've tried to do it on Cowley Road is horrible for both vehicles and cycles because of the type of traffic - lots of buses and impatient taxis - it basically expects drivers to behave differently because of a painted bike on the road without any protection for cyclists. I don't drive or cycle there if I can help it. Why not study a transport system somewhere that actually works - Holland? - and try to see what contributes to that instead of introducing piecemeal changes with no provision for user feedback. doitall
  • Score: 0

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