Cycling is all about 'me time'and a return to childhood

Nov 24, 2010
Cycling is all about 'me time'and a return to childhood

( -- A ground breaking study into the image of cycling in Britain by a research team from the University of the West of England has revealed that people who regularly make small trips by bike are primarily motivated to get on their bikes by the sense of freedom, the opportunity for a bit of 'me time' and feelings that bring about memories of childhood.

“You feel like a kid again.” (Female occasional cyclist)

'The image of cycling in Britain', conducted by three researchers at UWE's Bristol Social Marketing Centre looked at image themes and the socio-cultural landscape of cycling to explore people's decisions against choosing to cycle for utility trips like travelling to work and going shopping.

Researcher Fiona Spotswood explains, “This research is part of a wider study to discover to what extent the image of cycling deters more people from cycling for regular utility trips. Ultimately we will use what we find to devise better ways of using marketing to broaden the appeal of cycling for everyday trips.

“Much work has already been done to highlight the health, environmental and time saving benefits associated with cycling but when presented as key elements in marketing campaigns to encourage cycling – these benefits can sometimes come across as being a bit worthy and preachy. We were keen to explore what people enjoy about cycling. Our project sought to get to the heart of the prime motivations that inspire people to get on their bikes.

“We used what are known as projective and enabling research techniques. We asked cyclists to draw pictures to demonstrate how it feels to be on a bike and to describe 'planet cycle' and tell us how it looked and what it felt like to be there. Planet cycle emerged as a place where the sun always shines, people are more relaxed and where they know their neighbours. On the other hand planet car was a busy place with people rushing around, stressed out.”

Key perceptions of cycling were found to be very positive – people associate the act of cycling with , being fun, bringing back memories of childhood and a pause in the stresses of daily life allowing a space for 'me time'. Respondents also enjoyed the pure physical pleasure of cycling along, being alive and in charge of your own propulsion.

Describing his drawing: “It doesn't need words! Whoosh! I'm going quickly. Bombing along. No brakes. Flying. These are cars stuck in traffic. These are bombing around, getting there a lot quicker than the cars.” (Male regular/sports cyclist)

“I'm happy that I'm going along. Exhausted when I'm going uphill. Peaceful to be going outside. Any worries or thoughts of the kids screaming, that's all gone. Peaceful.” (Female occasional cyclist)

“It's a bit of a stress buster though. It's exercise so it kicks off natural endorphins. And when the wind's blowing in your face. If you don't have to be anywhere it is a stress buster.” (Female lapsed cyclist)

“I made it to show relaxed, fresh air, outdoor, nice day, being calm, you know, no stress, straightforward. Fresh air, just being outdoors.” (Female leisure cyclist).

“I'll be coming home from work. It's nice to get on your bike after a stressful day. You don't have to sit in the traffic. It's a stress buster. It is. It feels good.” (Male utility cyclist).

The research team have used these findings to create a creative tool kit for a marketing communications campaign that reflects the feelings discovered from the findings. Researcher Sarah Leonard explained that “We believe that if we can get to the heart of describing the positive people get rather than the good they are doing for themselves and the planet that it may be a more effective means of inspiring people to cycle.”

For the next phase of the research project the research team will test the toolkit by testing a set of creative concepts which award winning local agency 'Stuff' has generated based on the research findings. Then the resulting campaign will be rolled out and evaluated to consider the impact of a social marketing approach.

The project, 'The image of in Britain', was funded by South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Councils and Bristol Centre at UWE.

Explore further: Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Provided by University of the West of England

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Maths Research Tackles Problems of Bike + Car

Oct 16, 2009

( -- The efforts to get more people out of cars and on their bikes in the UK could be being hampered by Governments' own transport strategies, claims new research from the University of Derby.

Modern society made up of all types

Nov 04, 2010

Modern society has an intense interest in classifying people into ‘types’, according to a University of Melbourne Cultural Historian, leading to potentially catastrophic life-changing outcomes for those typed – ...

Responses shift when changing languages

Nov 03, 2010

The language we speak may influence not only our thoughts, but our implicit preferences as well. That's the finding of a study by Harvard psychologists, who found that bilingual individuals’ opinions ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.