Riding performance on a conventional bicycle and a pedelec in low speed exercises: Objective and subjective evaluation of middle-aged and older persons

N. Kovácsová*, J. C F de Winter, A. L. Schwab, M. Christoph, D. A M Twisk, M. P. Hagenzieker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigated cycling performance of middle-aged (30–45 years old; n = 30) versus older (65+ years; n = 31) participants during low-speed tasks for which stabilization skills are known to be important. Additionally, participants’ self-ratings of their cycling skills and performance were assessed. Participants rode once on a conventional bicycle and once on a pedelec, in counterbalanced order. Three standardized tasks were performed: (1) low-speed cycling, (2) acceleration from a standstill, and (3) shoulder check. During Tasks 1 and 3, the mean absolute steering angle (a measure of the cyclist's steering activity) and the mean absolute roll rate (a measure of the amount of angular movement of the frame) were significantly greater for older participants than for middle-aged participants. These large lateral motions among older cyclists may indicate a difficulty to control the inherently unstable system. Comparing the conventional bicycle and the pedelec, participants reached a 16 km/h threshold speed in Task 2 sooner on the pedelec, an effect that was most pronounced among the older participants. Correlations between skills assessed with the Cycling Skill Inventory and actual measures of cycling performance were mostly not statistically significant. This indicates that self-reported motor-tactical and safety skills are not strongly predictive of measures of actual cycling performance. Our findings add to the existing knowledge on self-assessment of cycling skills, and suggest that age-related changes in psychomotor and sensory functions pose hazards for cycling safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-43
JournalTransportation Research. Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Issue numberPart 1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Age differences
  • Cycling
  • Electric bicycle
  • Self-reported skills
  • Steering performance


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