A critical analysis of the relationship between cycling tourism and wellbeing

WINGFIELD, Harriet Laura (2022). A critical analysis of the relationship between cycling tourism and wellbeing. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00526


This thesis critically analyses the relationship between cycling tourism and wellbeing. With 5% of adults globally suffering from depression, wellbeing dominates national health agendas and sport tourism is recognised as an endeavour with the means to enhance it. Despite the rising popularity of cycling tourism globally as a form of sport tourism providing opportunities to improve wellbeing, this group are relatively under-researched. This study investigated wellbeing via a positive psychology lens, considering the two dominant philosophies: hedonia (immediate experiences, pleasure and pain avoidance) and eudaimonia (longer-term satisfaction and fulfilment). With limited sport tourism studies applying theories from positive psychology, this research took an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on self-determination theory and subjective wellbeing theory to address the knowledge gap. The research is qualitative and employs an inductive methodology, based on 40 semi-structured interviews with UK cycling tourists from organised trips. Data was analysed via thematic content analysis to identify emergent themes. Key findings identify cycling tourism as an emplaced experience connecting the mobile body, senses and place, which promote social identity development and self-efficacy to enhance wellbeing. An important link was identified between unpleasant negative experiences stimulating eudaimonic outcomes. The originality of this research emerges via the revelatory discovery of emplacement as an appropriate theoretical lens to conceptualise wellbeing, not yet applied to sport tourism contexts. Practically, this research contributes knowledge to tour operators for product development and marketing strategies to improve client wellbeing and generate revenue. The core contribution to knowledge is presented through the conceptual framework which offers a unique understanding of the relationship between cycling tourism, motivation and wellbeing and is potentially transferable to other contexts. With a UK-based sample, the findings are not generalisable to the entire cycling tourism population. Moreover, researcher positionality can affect ethical research. Gaining non-western perspectives should be the focus of future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Doran, Adele [0000-0002-4964-6908]
Thesis advisor - Ali, Alisha [0000-0002-7667-4293]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Adele Doran / Supervisor: Dr. Alisha Ali.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00526
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2023 16:07
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 13:46
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/32075

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