I'm hooked on e-cycling, I can finally be active again”: Perceptions of e-cycling as a physical activity intervention during breast cancer treatment.

Kirsty Mollie Way, Jessica E Bourne, Miranda E G Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Electrically-assisted bicycles (e-bikes) are a means through which to increase individual physical activity (PA) and overcome some commonly reported barriers to engaging in conventional cycling. Fatigue is a common side effect to breast cancer treatment, and the rate of PA engagement drops significantly following a breast cancer diagnosis. The aim of this qualitative study was to examine perceptions of e-cycling as a means of increasing PA in this population. Twenty-four participants (Mean age = 57.88 (standard deviation 10.8), 100% female) who have had a breast cancer diagnosis, completed two semi-structured interviews via Zoom. One interview was conducted prior to an e-bike taster session and a second, after the session. Taster sessions were conducted by certified cycling instructors in the community. Interviews were conducted between December 2021 and May 2022. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using NVivo 12 software. An inductive and deductive approach to analysis was adopted. Five themes were generated: Perceived role of e-bikes during treatment; The relationship between e-bikes and fatigue; Cancer-specific considerations; Is e-cycling ‘enough’? and Optimising the intervention. Negative perceptions of e-bikes noted before the taster session were altered following riding an e-bike. The multiple levels of assistance made cycling manageable and less impacted by fatigue, thereby enabling individuals to re-establish previous cycling habits. E-cycling may be a suitable option to increase PA behaviour amongst individuals being treated for breast cancer, with the potential to overcome many of the barriers of conventional cycling. Enabling this population to trial an e-bike elicits positive physical and psychological responses that may help to promote future engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5197
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Cancer Research UK, grant number C18281/A29019.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Structured keywords

  • ICEP
  • SPS Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences


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