Electrically assisted cycling for individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Jessica E Bourne, Sam Leary, Angie Page, Aidan Searle, Clare England, Dylan Thompson, Robert C Andrews, Charlie Foster, Ashley R Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and its associated complications puts considerable strain on healthcare systems. With the global incidence of T2DM increasing, effective disease management is essential. Physical activity (PA) is a key component of T2DM management; however, rates of PA engagement are low in this population. Developing effective and sustainable interventions that encourage PA is a high priority. Electrically assisted bicycles are becoming increasingly popular and may increase PA in healthy adults. This study aimed to provide evidence of the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of an e-cycling intervention to increase PA and improve health in individuals with T2DM.

METHODS: A parallel-group two-arm randomized, waitlist-controlled pilot study was conducted. Individuals were randomized to either an e-bike intervention or standard care. The intervention incorporated two one-to-one e-bike skills training and behavioural counselling sessions delivered by a community-based cycling charity, followed by a 12-week e-bike loan with two further sessions with the instructors. Feasibility was assessed via measures related to recruitment, retention and intervention implementation. Post-intervention interviews with instructors and participants explored the acceptability of the study procedures and intervention. Clinical, physiological and behavioural outcomes were collected at baseline and post-intervention to evaluate the intervention's potential.

RESULTS: Forty participants (Mage = 57) were randomized, of which 34 were recruited from primary care practices. Thirty-five participants were retained in the trial. The intervention was conducted with high fidelity (> 80% content delivered). E-bike training provided participants with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to e-bike independently. Instructors reported being more confident delivering the skills training than behavioural counselling, despite acknowledging its importance. The study procedures were found to be acceptable to participants. Between-group differences in change during the intervention were indicative of the interventions potential for improving glucose control, health-related quality of life and cardiorespiratory fitness. Increases in overall device measured moderate-to-vigorous PA behaviour following the intervention were found, and there was evidence that this population self-selected to e-cycle at a moderate intensity.

CONCLUSIONS: The study's recruitment, retention, acceptability and potential efficacy support the development of a definitive trial subject to identified refinements.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN, ISRCTN67421464 . Registered 17/12/2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number60
Number of pages19
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2023


  • E-cycling
  • Electrically assisted cycling
  • Physical activity
  • Pilot randomized controlled trial
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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