Article Title



Jennifer Sella1, S. Morgan Hughey1, J D. Adams1, Sarah Porto1, Daniel Bornstein2, Dimitra Michalaka2, Kweku Brown2, William J. Davis2, Safae Amahrir3, Kari Watkins3.1College of Charleston, Charleston, SC. 2The Citadel, Charleston, SC. 3Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.

BACKGROUND: With over half of American adults not meeting national physical activity guidelines, one way to promote regular activity is through bike share systems. A growing trend among bike-share systems is offering electric-assist pedal bikes (e-bikes). This study 1) quantified the differences in energy expenditure between regular bikes and e-bikes, and 2) examined differences in perceptions of difficulty and enjoyment between regular and e-bikes. METHODS: Fifteen participants from Charleston, SC completed the study, all of whom were 18-40 years old, had no underlying health conditions, and met physical activity guidelines. First, participants completed a bicycle maximal fitness test and body composition in the laboratory. Then, on separate days, participants completed two, hour-long steady-state bicycle rides at a local park, one on a regular bike and one on an e-bike, the order of which was randomly selected. During each bicycle ride, continuous heart rate and speed (kilometers per hour) were measured with a Polar H7 Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Using the Borg scale, participants reported perceived exertion at four intervals of each ride. Similarly, on a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly agree to 5=strongly disagree), participants reported perceived enjoyment, difficulty, and tiredness at the end of each ride. Paired t-tests were used to assess differences between the e-bike and regular bike rides. RESULTS: Participants (n=15) were mostly female (66.7%), with an average age of 27.1 and an average body mass index of 22.9. Participants exerted more energy at a greater percentage of maximum heart rate on the regular bike (mean=66.4%) compared to the e-bike (mean=58.3%, p=0.006). Participants also rode at significantly greater speed on the e-bike (mean=20.9km/h) compared to the regular bike ride (mean=14.7; p=0.000). Enjoyment was higher on the e-bike (mean=1.4) than the regular bike (mean=2.2; p=0.009). Perceived exertion, difficulty, and tiredness were lower on the e-bike (mean= 9.6, 4.0, 3.6, respectively) compared to the regular bike ride (mean= 12.0, 2.9, 2.3, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: E-bike rides resulted in lower energy expenditure than regular bikes, though both modes could still have health benefits since they fell within the moderate-intensity physical activity category. E-bikes may be attractive for integrating activity in daily routines since participants reported less difficulty and more enjoyment. Grant or funding information: This work was supported by 1) the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Program at the College of Charleston, and 2) the Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE), a Regional University Transportation Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation's University Transportation Centers Program.

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