ATV riders participate in York health study

Fifteen members of the newly formed Norfolk ATV club took part in a first-ever nationwide study looking at the health benefits of riding off-road vehicles, reported the Simcoe Reformer Aug. 8. With machines in packs on their backs to measure their heart rate and breathing, their noses plugged and fingers pricked for blood samples, the group rode a 25-minute course in Norfolk County last month. On top of the ride, Norfolk ATV members went through strength and endurance testing such as running on a treadmill.  

The study, which is being conducted by York University and is the thesis for York PhD candidate Jamie Burr (MSc ’06), is at the request of the Canadian Off Highway Vehicle Distributors Council and other stakeholders. Research began last summer. Norfolk’s participation was to help create a profile of a regular off-road rider and the health benefits they experience from riding.  

"We did a coast to coast survey of riders to get a definition of a habitual rider," Burr said. "From there we are testing 200 riders as a sample to determine the physical demands of regular riding."

Test subjects include both men and women ranging in age from 16 to 80 years old. The next step will be to take what they’ve learned from regular riders, for example if they see a higher level of fitness in them than the general public, and apply it to non-riders. "We’ll train 100 people of the general public to ride and see if they experience the same physical demands and activity," Burr explained.

Middleton on Bell’s new ad campaign and Metro supermarkets

Marketing expert Alan Middleton, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, weighed in on two fronts Aug. 8:

  • About Bell Canada’s incoming new owners canning its "spokesbeavers" Frank and Gordon and rolling out a national brand campaign that puts a new face on Ma Bell, Middleton told the Toronto Star: "Bell is on this journey from the old, reliable and not-very-sexy phone company trying to become a lovable and up-to-date telecommunications supplier. The problem with new ad campaigns in this category is they tend to get the order wrong. They tell everybody how great they are going to be before they’ve actually done anything."
  • About Metro Inc.’s rebranding five Ontario supermarket stores – including the iconic Dominion, A & P and Loebs – with the name "Metro", he commented to The Globe and Mail: "The only question is why they didn’t do this sooner." He added that he expects Loblaw Cos. Ltd. will follow suit.  

Former prof started White Ribbon campaign

The international White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women, reported the Toronto Star Aug. 8. Started by Canadian activists such as former York University professor Michael Kaufman and New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton, the White Ribbon Campaign has spread to more than 35 countries around the world, including to Namibia in 2004.

On air

  • Sheila Colla, a biology PhD candidate in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, discussed a report that greenhouse bumble bees infested with a parasite may be spreading the disease to their wild cousins, on CBC Radio’s “Crosstown” in Windsor Aug. 7.
  • Frances Flint, athletic therapy professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, discussed what Canadian athletes could achieve, in reports aired on CFTR’s “680 News” in Toronto and CKGL’s “News” in Kitchener Aug. 7.