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Think e-bikes are cheating? Think again!

Press release issued: 20 September 2018

An innovative new project explores the health benefits of electric bikes for people suffering with type-2 diabetes.

The study, named PEDAL, saw researchers from the School for Policy Studies and the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre team up with local charity Life Cycle to trial the use of e-bikes. 

Funded by the NIHR, the project enabled 18 people with type-2 diabetes to try an electric bike for several months. The participants generally became fitter, and a number of people lost weight – in some cases several kilos. But the best result was that the participants were extremely positive about the experience of e-cycling and 14 purchased their bikes at the end of the study.

The results were so encouraging, that the University commissioned a video in which two participants tell how the e-bikes changed their lives.

Poppy Brett, CEO of Life Cycle, said: “Lots of people have the impression that using an e-bike is ‘cheating’.  What this study has shown is that e-bikes have as many health benefits as push bikes.  The advantage of an e-bike is that people can cycle further for longer, tackle hills that they might have avoided otherwise and can get as much exercise as someone on a push bike.”

Ashley Cooper, Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health from the from the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences at the University of Bristol, commented: “This was a small study, but we are excited by the results and will be looking to do further research next year into the benefits of e-cycling for people affected by type-2 diabetes.  Anyone with the condition who is interested in taking part in a future trial should email“


Further information

Life Cycle UK is a registered charity that transforms lives and the environment through cycling projects and services including cycle training for adults and children; bike maintenenace training and a range of inclusive cyclign projects that support people who need extra help and support to get cycling.

About the National Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre
The research centre, awarded to University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol) and the University of Bristol by the NIHR, will conduct cutting-edge research to develop new, ground-breaking treatments, diagnostics, prevention and care for patients in a wide range of diseases. A strand of population health science runs through all themes of the BRC, with a focus on translating scientific discoveries that have arisen from population science into better care for NHS patients.


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