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Physiological and biomechanical comparison between electrically assisted bicycles and motorbikes during simulated mail delivery

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Electrically assisted bicycles (EABs) and motorbikes were compared in terms of energy expenditure, internal and external forces, and technique when delivering mail with different loads at different distances from the mailbox. Twenty-two postal workers performed two simulated postal tasks (foot placement [close vs. far] and delivery, and simulated mail delivery circuit) while carrying 0 and 32 kg. Independent of mail load, delivering mail with EABs was classified as moderate intensity and resulted in 33% higher energy expenditure when compared to motorbikes. Ground reaction forces were larger (7–25%) for EAB when compared to motorbike. Larger ground reaction forces were observed when both EABs and motorbikes were positioned further from the mailbox (5–23%). Using EABs during mail delivery has potential to result in numerous health benefits that are associated with moderate intensity physical activity, but can lead to larger external forces when compared to motorbikes.

Practitioner summary: In order to compare electrically assisted bicycles (EAB) and motorbikes, postal workers performed simulated deliveries in the laboratory whilst measurements of energy expenditure, body loads and movement patters were undertaken. Body loads and energy expenditure were larger using EAB, which result in health benefits associated with moderate intensity exercise.

Abbreviations: EAB: electrically assisted bicycles; CI: confidence interval; UHEC: University Human Ethics Committee; MB: motorbike;SH: seat height; SF: seat to floor distance; VO2: oxygen uptake; VCO2: exhaled carbon dioxide; RER: respiratory exchangeratio; TTL signal: Transistor-Transistor Logic; MET: metabolic equivalent; 3D: three-dimensional; IIR: infinite impulse response; Hz:Hertz; N: Newtons; ROM: range of motion; SD: standard deviation; p: significance level; d: Cohen effect sizes
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Keywords: Motion analysis; ground reaction force; joint forces; postal workers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Holsworth Research Initiative, La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia

Publication date: February 1, 2020

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