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New e-bike study to help people with breast cancer be more physically active

Press release issued: 4 October 2023

People with or who have had breast cancer are already taking part in an electric bike (e-bike) trial, but more people are needed to help. The study, being run by the University of Bristol, wants to find out if e-biking can help people with breast cancer be more physically active.

Researchers from Bristol’s Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences will investigate whether a 12-week individualised e-bike programme is suitable for people with or who have been treated for breast cancer and if they can finish the programme. 

The study, funded by Cancer Research UK, will also look at whether e-cycling can have a positive impact on a range of health outcomes including participants' fitness and quality of life.

The study is now recruiting 20 participants aged 18 or over through the Bristol Breast Care Centre at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) and Penny Brohn.

Everyone taking part will have three visits to the NIHR Bristol Clinical Research Facility to have blood taken, along with weight, height and waist circumference measurements, together with a short exercise test and questionnaire. Participants will also be asked to wear an activity monitor and GPS monitor and keep a travel diary for seven days.

Dr Miranda Armstrong, Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity in Adults and chief investigator for the study at the University of Bristol, said: “Cycling is an activity that can be built into someone’s day but for many people cycling is very hard work and the idea of cycling around a hilly city like Bristol is off-putting.

"Being physically active is very important for peoples’ physical and mental health. However, it can be difficult to be physically active on a regular basis. Many people start off with good intentions but find they don’t have time, they don’t have the right equipment, or it is difficult or too expensive to go to a gym regularly.

"Our research wants to find out if e-bikes could be a fun and easy way for people with or who have had breast cancer to be more active and offer a healthy alternative to using the car for short journeys."

People taking part in the seven-month study will have training on how to ride the e-bike and how to ride on roads. Additional support will be provided to help overcome some of the challenges to becoming more active that people with or who have had cancer face.

Study participants will be lent an e-bike and bike accessories for the duration of the 12-weeks. After the 12-week programme the study will provide participants with information on community-based e-bike schemes or information on where to purchase an e-bike.

Update [25 October 2023]: Please note the study is now full and no longer recruiting participants.
For more information about the study, entitled 'Increasing physical activity levels using e-bikes to enhance breast cancer survival: A feasibility study (CRANK B)', please email

Further information

About the NIHR Bristol Clinical Research Facility (CRF)
The NIHR Bristol Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is hosted by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) and is one of 28 NIHR clinical research facilities networked across England, sharing expertise, training and research infrastructure. The NIHR funds, enables and delivers world-leading health and social care research that improves people’s health and wellbeing and promotes economic growth. 

Our facility is also part of the wider UKCRF Network, which links around 54 Clinical Research Facilities across the UK and Ireland. The network supports CRFs to deliver clinical trials of the highest standard and promotes the UK as the place for investment in and economic growth from health research. It gives us access to a huge amount of expertise and resources and support with important aspects of our work, such as Patient and Public Involvement and Training. 

We work closely with the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre, also based at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston, and we collaborate with other local NHS trusts and universities through CRN West of England.

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