At work

Traffic, transport and environmental psychology


Hello, I'm Ian. I am a professor of environmental psychology at Swansea University where I do research on road safety, travel choices, energy consumption, water use and the built environment. Previously I was at the University of Bath for many years and then the University of Surrey.

My research focuses particularly on unconscious and low-awareness causes of everyday behaviour like habits, the environment around us and unconscious stereotypes. You might be here because of my work on motonormativity, the cultural and psychological blind-spot that makes people overlook the harms of motoring; my work on drivers overtaking bicyclists; our study showing people buying cars are more concerned about looking and feeling good than they are about the environment; or our sector-leading work on reducing household energy consumption through 'smart' value-framed messages. You might even be here because I think electric cars are a motonormative non-solution that encourages people to keep living in inefficient and harmful ways rather than address real questions about our way of life.

My work has seen me collaborate with such bodies as the Department for Transport, Wessex Water, Western Power Distribution. RWE npower, SaveWaterSaveMoney, Transportøkonomisk institutt Norway, lots of local authorities, and Cycling England.

  • Over £11m research income from UKRI, H2020 and industry
  • Winner of Bath's highest teaching award
  • Years of university management and leadership as Head of Department and Associate Dean for Research
  • Senior teaching observer

At leisure

Ultradistance sport


Book cover

Outside work, a big part of my life is ultra-endurance cycling. In 2019 I broke the world record for cycling between the northernmost and southernmost points of Europe. I rode 6,367 km in 16 days, 20 hours and 59 minutes - an average of 377 km per day to take the official Guinness World Record. Although the Guinness record conditions don't distinguish supported and unsupported attempts, I did the whole thing unsupported. My record attempt was also, I believe, the longest Audax ride ever recorded.

Before that, in 2018 I took first place in the North Cape 4000 - a non-stop 4300 km bicycle race from Italy to the top of Norway. Earlier in 2018 I finished first in the TransWales bicycle ride and, in 2017, I completed the Transcontinental Cycle Race.

My experiences of going from couch potato to record-breaking long-distance cyclist are captured in my book, Endless Perfect Circles. You can find more details, a free chapter, and links to buy a copy here.

And just because it means so much to me, here's a short video the North Cape 4000 race made of my winning finish in 2018:

Before I started cycling, I was an ultradistance runner. You can read a two-part magazine article about this here and here. Back when I ran, I raced UTMB, come top 10 in the Arc of Attrition and am one of a pretty small group of people to have run the Cotswold Way Century in under 24 hours.

Books you need to buy

They're really really good

In the media

I appear on podcasts and programmes from time to time. Here are a few, from which you can learn more about my work and/or my endurance cycling

  • BBC Sliced Bread - talking about bicycle helmets and why we should spend focus on stopping people being run over rather than let it happen and hope a helmet will solve things
  • Endurance podcast, with Mark Beaumont - We talked a lot about my work on transport and physical activity, before moving on to my own cycling at the end
  • The Lost Race: London to Holyhead - an hour-long film on GCN+ where Conor Dunne and I rode the route of the old London-Holyhead race, which was the world's longest one-day race. Fascinating history of the sport in this one.
  • Going the Distance - a one-hour GCN+ documentary on the world of ultradistance endurance. Features some of the world's biggest names in ultracycling... and me
  • The Bike Show podcast - recorded live on a cycle ride around South Wales just before the first Lockdown of 2020, this was a really fun chat about transport research and long-distance riding which saw me managing to answer questions while ascending 15% slopes!
  • Veloccino podcast - Recorded very shortly after I broke the world record for cycling across Europe, mostly focusing on this ride
  • Streets Ahead podcast - Here it's all work: we talk about behaviour change and what research has told us about how to influence people towards healthier travel habits
  • 33 Fuel Podcast - Talking about mental toughness and how to build solid habits for athletic success
  • The War on Cars podcast - a personal triumph, as I love this team and their work. This is me talking about our research on motonormativity
  • Cycling Europe podcast - a really nice chat with somebody who basically did the same route as my world-record ride but at a very different pace. We talked lots about the geographical satisfaction of an end-to-end journey
  • - a video interview recorded just after I finished first in the North Cape 4000 racec
  • Global Cycling Network - with my professional hat on, I'm on the GCN Show talking about the perennial issue of cycle helmets (it's a quick 5-minute slot)
  • Making Passenger podcast - A podcast about public transport and mobility. On this episode, I talk about behaviour and the role of the built environment in travel and safety. Lots of psychology in this one
  • Cycle Station podcast - This was a really nice casual chat about both my professional and my racing lives.
  • The Spokesmen podcast - a gentle, fun chat about my ultracycling book, Endless Perfect Circles
  • Always Another Adventure podcast - a really nice podcast chat covering both my endurance cycling story and my cycle safety reserach. I was pretty relaxed for this one!

Want to find me on social media?

Here you go