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 www.cycleboom.org.

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