The number of British cyclists over 50 is small in comparison to other countries, so a new Cycle BOOM project aims to find out why

Researchers at a Bristol university have begun a study to gauge why over 50s, especially over 65s, do not cycle as much as the rest of the population.

Only one per cent of all journeys made by bike are from over-65s, a huge 22 per cent difference compared to Denmark.

The University of the West of England (UWE) has launched a project called Cycle BOOM to investigate why so few OAPs in the UK take to two wheels.

Using an array of participants all over the age of 50, some who ride a bike still and some who haven’t for a number of years, the researchers will interview to understand the participant’s cycling history, experience and their future cycling expectations.

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Active cyclists will go for a ride with a researcher and watch the ride back upon completion.

The hope is that Cycle BOOM, conducted by the university’s Centre for Transport and Society, will unearth the reasons which both discourage and encourage cycling in later life, and pinpoint how equipment can be modified to improve cycling rates among the over-50s.

“What deters people from cycling throughout the life course could be down to factors such as the physical effort and risk of injury,” UWE’s Dr Kiron Chatterjee explained.

“It tends to be assumed that the capacity and inclination to cycle declines as people grow older and this has led us to design and build physical environments that are unsympathetic to their experience of cycling when you are older.”

Dr Heather Jones, who interviews the cyclists and rides with them, said, “To be able to say something useful about cycling for the over 50s we need to look at the experience of those who really haven’t cycled very much as they’ve gone through middle and later adulthood and this includes those who no longer cycle.”

There is no completion date for the study but if you or anyone you know wants to partake, then register your interest at

Video: Time-saving stretches for cyclists

  • Michal Zadrag

    ”I am sick of hearing some people say that one has to learn to ride safely in traffic. Neither the young nor old are safe to ride in traffic however much training we have. Anyone that promotes VC are selfish and self centred.”


    This is the only significant reason they should find. The Netherlands has a high cycling rate among all ages because of the infrastructure

  • John Smith

    Steal away
    Grandkids are great
    You can have the fun but hand them back afterwards

  • chairzone

    None of my friends ride at all. Some used to somewhat years ago. Been going about 100 miles a week average the last few months.

  • chairzone

    I need to steal this poster. Ha.

  • Roy Heselden

    At the age of 68 I find I have lots more time for cycling, running & orienteering than when I was working (retired two years ago). I often participate in Sportives and go for long training runs through the Hampshire lanes and feel better than ever .. just Iove it. I discovered the joys of two wheels as a child in the 1950’s and have many fond memories of trips around the Yorkshire Dales.

  • John Iball

    Maybe this isn’t due to age as such, but more to do with the prevailing attitudes towards cycling in the UK during the 60s and 70s? I get the impression that at that time the car was considered the future and bikes were only for the poor or eccentrics. So it’s not surprising that people who were young back then never got into cycling at the time, and didn’t get round to it later.

    I’m slightly younger than this age group, and I remember the late 80s when cycling started to be fashionable again – the spread of the mountain bike, cycle couriers, and the Tour on Channel 4. Now I’m technically a MAMIL, but at least I have a few decades of bike riding under my belt – or saddle.

  • John Smith

    Many of us are ..
    But if you did not bring the sport/ habit with you, I cannot see many starting at 50
    The UK is not cycle friendly