Study area: Oxford
Cycling history: Diminished
Themes: Fitness, Weight, Weather, Training, Safety, Mobility
Deborah lived on her own in a sheltered accommodation flat in south east Oxford. She had lived in the city since 1987 when she arrived as a refugee from Uganda. After retiring from her academic career she continued to work voluntarily for a charity implementing community development projects in Eastern Uganda.
Deborah learned to ride a bike as a teenager in rural Africa but after moving to Kampala she no longer had access to a bike and used taxis for getting around the city. Deborah gained access to a car when she got married but then left Uganda with her children and separated from her husband. When she arrived in the UK having three children to transport meant having a car was important to her.
Deborah cycled again in her early fifties when she was given a bike when back working in Uganda. She continued to use this bike for short journeys two or three times a year. No longer having a car, Deborah bought a bike in Oxford in 2011 to be able to move around her neighbourhood more quickly than by walking or public transport and to exercise. She was unconfident cycling on the roads and frequently used the pavement but was uncomfortable about doing so. Deborah’s cycling had stopped one winter and her bike was left in the communal store but was in need of attention which discouraged her continued cycling. Deborah was attracted to participate in the cycle Boom trial to improve her health and lose weight.
In this film Deborah explains how she was motivated to join the trial partly by the cycle training offered. She describes her initial uncertainty over what an ‘e-bike’ was and how she learned to ride it. Deborah contrasts her e-bike experience with pedal cycles in terms of the additional skills needed to operate it and the additional weight. She describes the difficulties she had, coming off on one occasion and of cycling in the rain when wearing spectacles but how these were more than compensated for by the advantage of e-bikes on hills and their encouragement and ease of local mobility.