Rebecca Bernstein, MD; Robert Schneider, PhD; Whitney Welch, PhD; Anne Dressel, PhD; Melissa DeNomie, MS; Jennifer Kusch, PhD; Mirtha Sosa, BA
Introduction: This pilot study tested the efficacy of a bicycling intervention targeting inactive, low-income, overweight adults on reducing perceived barriers to bicycling, increasing physical activity, and improving health.
Methods: A nonblinded 2-site randomized controlled trial was conducted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in summer 2015. Participants included members from 1 largely Latino community and a second primarily African American neighborhood. A certified bicycling instructor led a 12-week bicycling intervention. Outcome measures including biking-related attitudes, self-reported physical activity, fitness as measured by the 6-minute step test, and biometric data were collected at baseline, 12 weeks, and 20 weeks.
Results: Thirty-eight participants completed the study. Barriers to bicycling declined significantly among intervention group participants at 12 weeks with some declines persisting to 20 weeks. Bicycling for leisure or non work transportation increased significantly more in the intervention than control group from baseline to 12 weeks but this difference attenuated by 20 weeks. Both groups increased their fitness between baseline and 12 weeks, with a trend towards greater gains in the bicycling intervention group. No significant change in biometric measurements was seen at either 12 weeks or 20 weeks.
Conclusion: Despite the small study size, this bicycling intervention decreased perceived barriers to bicycling and increased bicycling activity in low-income minority participants. These findings support a larger-scale study to measure fitness and health changes from bicycling interventions.