An exploration of stroke survivors’ perspectives on cycling and the use of electric bikes

Greenhalgh, Olivia, Mcmahon, Naoimh orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6319-2263, Gaskins, Nicola, Khan, Amna, Frings, Matthew, Janssen, Jessica orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5961-2736, Lightbody, Catherine Elizabeth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5016-3471, Weston, Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2411-6019, Fry, John et al (2019) An exploration of stroke survivors’ perspectives on cycling and the use of electric bikes. Physiotherapy Practice and Research, 40 (2). pp. 117-126. ISSN 2213-0683

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New and innovative approaches are needed to overcome the barriers to engaging people in physical and leisure activity after stroke. Outdoor cycling, including the use of adapted or electric bicycles, may be one approach. However, perceptions of stroke survivors on this topic have not yet been explored.
To explore a sample of stroke survivors’ perspectives, who expressed an interest in cycling, about cycling and the use of electric bicycles.
A convenience sample of stroke survivors were identified through focus groups at a ‘Cycling after Stroke’ event, local stroke support groups, and structured interviews at a national conference for stroke survivors. Quantitative data were analysed descriptively and qualitative data analysed thematically.
Data were collected from 21 stroke survivors, seven of whom were current cyclists. All participants were independently mobile with, or without, the use of a walking aid. Themes oriented around the value of cycling (e.g. getting out of the house, doing something for yourself, and feeling part of a community); concerns and challenges (safety and negotiating adaptations); and how they could be overcome (starting slowly and identifying sources of assistance).
Outdoor cycling may be a worthwhile approach to increasing physical and leisure activity after stroke. However, barriers still exist and need to be addressed to provide inclusive opportunities for adapted and electric cycling for stroke survivors. Due to the small sample size and bias population, further research is needed to explore stroke survivors’ perspectives on cycling to provide solutions to overcome the barriers identified.

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