To explore in a feasibility study whether ‘e‐cycling’ was acceptable to, and could potentially improve the health of, people with Type 2 diabetes.
Twenty people with Type 2 diabetes were recruited and provided with an electric bicycle for 20 weeks. Participants completed a submaximal fitness test at baseline and follow‐up to measure predicted maximal aerobic power, and semi‐structured interviews were conducted to assess the acceptability of using an electric bicycle. Participants wore a heart rate monitor and a Global Positioning System (GPS ) receiver in the first week of electric bicycle use to measure their heart‐rate during e‐cycling.
Eighteen participants completed the study, cycling a median (interquartile range) of 21.4 (5.5–37.7) km per week. Predicted maximal aerobic power increased by 10.9%. Heart rate during electric bicycle journeys was 74.7% of maximum, compared with 64.3% of maximum when walking. Participants used the electric bicycles for commuting, shopping and recreation, and expressed how the electric bicycle helped them to overcome barriers to active travel/cycling, such as hills. Fourteen participants purchased an electric bicycle on study completion.
There was evidence that e‐cycling was acceptable, could increase fitness and elicited a heart rate that may lead to improvements in cardiometabolic risk factors in this population. Electric bicycles have potential as a health‐improving intervention in people with Type 2 diabetes.