Bicycle Network: Prevention
How much physical activity do the riders put together?
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- Harry Barber
The respondents know that bike riding is has been proven to be one of the types of physical activity that prevents disease.
Q 10, 11 and 23 and 24 Physical activity through bike riding
Many respondents (64%) (Members 68%) knew that bike riding has been proven to be one of the types of physical activity that prevents disease. The balance nearly all (98%) knew bike riding was good for them.
Only 5% said this was the most significant factor in their decision to ride, but another 32% said it was an important factor. 52% said it was one of the benefits.
In a subsequent question with an open answer, respondents were asked to nominate a reason for riding ahead of health. The most popular group of reasons related to fun and enjoyment. The second most popular number one ahead of ‘health’ was a grouping including ‘fitness’, ‘exercise’ and ‘weight control’. The other ‘number 1’ groupings were smaller and included environment and transport related benefits.
In question 23 we asked for a priority ranking off a fixed list and allowed multiple voting. 66% nominated Fun; 56% environment and 52% health as their number one.
This is a difficult area to unpick as the multiple benefits of bike riding form a kaleidoscope in which the same elements shift into a new pattern for each rider.
We then asked the respondents to rank the societal benefits. 50% of respondents rated health system benefits as the most significant societal benefit. 32% put environmental benefits first, 14% nominated transport benefits first and 4% nominated neighbourhood benefits.
From the responses in this survey we cannot say that health is the only or preeminent reason for riding. For many fun or enjoyment are ahead of health. However health, fitness, exercise, weight loss and other related concepts could be described as a core reason to ride for most people. At a societal level when fun and enjoyment are not in the equation – health clearly comes out as the main social contribution the respondents believe bike riding brings.
Q15 – 22 Physical activity levels
Nearly all respondents (91%) put together 30mins or more physical activity each day. 70% do at least half of this physical activity on their bike. 20% said they walked more than they rode. Other popular alternatives greater than bike riding were running, swimming and gym. Similar activities were reported alongside and to a lesser degree than bike riding.
Half the riders said that they wouldn’t reach their physical activity goals if they couldn’t ride.
This level of physical activity is well ahead of the general population where only half the population reach the minimum guidelines of 30mins of physical activity on most days.
46% of riders ride mainly by themselves. 56% report they have frequent social contact outside work and home and 63% say they would be able to stay socially connected without bike riding. This suggests that this important aspect of health is not one that bike riding is particularly suited to provide.
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