Gender differences in recreational and transport cycling : a cross-sectional mixed-methods comparison of cycling patterns, motivators, and constraints

Heesch, Kristiann, Sahlqvist, Shannon, & Garrard, Jan (2012) Gender differences in recreational and transport cycling : a cross-sectional mixed-methods comparison of cycling patterns, motivators, and constraints. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(1), p. 106.

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Background: Gender differences in cycling are well-documented. However, most analyses of gender differences make broad comparisons, with few studies modeling male and female cycling patterns separately for recreational and transport cycling. This modeling is important, in order to improve our efforts to promote cycling to women and men in countries like Australia with low rates of transport cycling. The main aim of this study was to examine gender differences in cycling patterns and in motivators and constraints to cycling, separately for recreational and transport cycling.

Methods: Adult members of a Queensland, Australia, community bicycling organization completed an online survey about their cycling patterns; cycling purposes; and personal, social and perceived environmental motivators and constraints (47% response rate). Closed and open-end questions were completed. Using the quantitative data, multivariable linear, logistic and ordinal regression models were used to examine associations between gender and cycling patterns, motivators and constraints. The qualitative data were thematically analysed to expand upon the quantitative findings.

Results: In this sample of 1862 bicyclists, men were more likely than women to cycle for recreation and for transport, and they cycled for longer. Most transport cycling was for commuting, with men more likely than women to commute by bicycle. Men were more likely to cycle on-road, and women off-road. However, most men and women did not prefer to cycle on-road without designed bicycle lanes, and qualitative data indicated a strong preference by men and women for bicycle-only off-road paths. Both genders reported personal factors (health and enjoyment related) as motivators for cycling, although women were more likely to agree that other personal, social and environmental factors were also motivating. The main constraints for both genders and both cycling purposes were perceived environmental factors related to traffic conditions, motorist aggression and safety. Women, however, reported more constraints, and were more likely to report as constraints other environmental factors and personal factors.

Conclusion: Differences found in men’s and women’s cycling patterns, motivators and constraints should be considered in efforts to promote cycling, particularly in efforts to increase cycling for transport.

Impact and interest:

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37 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 53502
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: bicycling, gender, exercise, physical activity, active transport, health promotion
DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-9-106
ISSN: 1479-5868
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 BioMed Central Ltd
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 06 Sep 2012 22:51
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2017 13:25

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