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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 Aug;116(8):1565-73. doi: 10.1007/s00421-016-3408-9. Epub 2016 Jun 14.

Pedelecs as a physically active transportation mode.

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Department of Integrative Physiology, UCB 354, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA.
Department of Integrative Physiology, UCB 354, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309, USA.



Pedelecs are bicycles that provide electric assistance only when a rider is pedaling and have become increasingly popular.


Our purpose was to quantify usage patterns over 4 weeks of real-world commuting with a pedelec and to determine if pedelec use would improve cardiometabolic risk factors.


Twenty sedentary commuters visited the laboratory for baseline physiological measurements [body composition, maximum oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), blood lipid profile, and 2-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)]. The following 4 weeks, participants were instructed to commute using a pedelec at least 3 days week(-1) for 40 min day(-1) while wearing a heart rate monitor and a GPS device. Metabolic equivalents (METS) were estimated from heart rate data. Following the intervention, we repeated the physiological measurements.


Average total distance and time were 317.9 ± 113.8 km and 15.9 ± 3.4 h, respectively. Participants averaged 4.9 ± 1.2 METS when riding. Four weeks of pedelec commuting significantly improved 2-h post-OGTT glucose (5.53 ± 1.18-5.03 ± 0.91 mmol L(-1), p < 0.05), [Formula: see text] (2.21 ± 0.48-2.39 ± 0.52 L min(-1), p < 0.05), and end of [Formula: see text] test power output (165.1 ± 37.1-189.3 ± 38.2 W, p < 0.05). There were trends for improvements in MAP (84.6 ± 10.5-83.2 ± 9.4 mmHg, p = 0.15) and fat mass (28.6 ± 11.3-28.2 ± 11.4 kg, p = 0.07).


Participants rode a pedelec in the real world at a self-selected moderate intensity, which helped them meet physical activity recommendations. Pedelec commuting also resulted in significant improvements in 2-h post-OGTT glucose, [Formula: see text], and power output. Pedelecs are an effective form of active transportation that can improve some cardiometabolic risk factors within only 4 weeks.


Active commuting; Cycling; Electric assist bicycle; Intervention; Transportation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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