Older E-bike Users: Demographic, Health, Mobility Characteristics, and Cycling Levels

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PurposeElectric bicycles (e-bikes) may offer an opportunity to stimulate physical activity among older adults. The current study compared Flemish (Belgian) older e-bike users with those not using an e-bike on sociodemographics, health characteristics, and access to motorized transport. In addition, it examined the association between e-bike use and levels of cycling and the moderating effects of sex, body mass index (BMI), and cycling limitations.MethodsAn online or interview version of the same questionnaire was completed by 1146 participants. Data were analyzed using logistic regression and hurdle models.ResultsWomen, those with a higher BMI, and those with one (compared with no) motorized vehicle in the household had higher odds of being an e-bike user. E-bike use was related to higher odds of having cycled for transport in the past week, and this relationship was stronger among those with a higher BMI (low BMI: odds ratio, 1.89; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.24–2.91; high BMI: odds ratio, 3.34; 95% CI, 2.26–5.00). Among those who cycled for transport in the last week, e-bike use was associated with 35% more minutes of cycling for transport (95% CI, 17%–56%). E-bike use was related to 183% higher odds of having biked for recreation (95% CI, 115%–274%). Among women and those with cycling limitations who cycled for recreation in the last week, e-bike use was also related to 57% (95% CI, 18%–109%) and 180% (95% CI, 63%–381%) more minutes of cycling for recreation, respectively.ConclusionE-bikes may provide an opportunity to promote cycling among older adults, particularly among subgroups at risk for physical inactivity.

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