From cars to bikes – the feasibility and effect of using e-bikes, longtail bikes and traditional bikes for transportation among parents of children attending kindergarten: design of a randomized cross-over trial
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Public Health. 2017, 17:981. 10.1186/s12889-017-4995-z
Background The present study aims to increase bicycling and level of physical activity (PA), and thereby promote health in parents of toddlers, by giving access to different bicycle types. There is a need for greater understanding of e-bikes and their role in the transportation network, and further effects on PA levels and health. Moreover, longtail bikes could meet certain practical needs not fulfilled by e-bikes or traditional bikes, hence increased knowledge regarding their feasibility should be obtained. No previous studies have investigated whether providing an e-bike or a longtail bike over an extended period in a sample of parents of toddlers influence objectively assessed amount of bicycling and total PA level, transportation habits, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition and blood pressure. Methods A randomized cross-over trial will be performed, entailing that participants in the intervention group (n = 18) complete the following intervention arms in random order: (i) three months access to an e-bicycle with trailer for child transportation (n = 6), (ii) three months access to a longtail bicycle (n = 6), and (iii) three months access to a regular bicycle with trailer (n = 6), in total nine months. Also, a control group (n = 18) maintaining usual transportation and PA habits will be included. A convenience sample consisting of 36 parents of toddlers residing in Kristiansand municipality, Southern Norway, will be recruited. Total amount of bicycling (distance and time), total level of PA, and transportation habits will be measured at baseline and in connection to each intervention arm. Cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition and blood pressure will be measured at baseline and post-intervention. Main outcome will be bicycling distance and time spent cycling. Discussion New knowledge relevant for the timely issues of public health and environmental sustainability will be provided among parents of toddlers, representing a target group of greatest importance. There is a call for research on the influence of e-bikes and longtail bikes on travel behavior and PA levels, and whether voluntary cycling could improve health. If the present study reveals promising results, it should be replicated in larger and more representative samples. Eventually, inclusion in national public health policies should be considered.