Off-Road Impacts of Mountain Bikes


Summary Table: Mountain Bike Rider Preferences for Recreation Settings and Experiences

Setting/Experience       Novice/Beginner/Casual       More Experienced Off-Road                                     
Attributes                        Riders                        Riders                     Expert Off-Road          

Preferred features of     General preference for                                                                    
mountain bike riding.          appreciating                                                                         
(as rated by riders)     exploring new areas; and                                                                   
                         riding/socialising with                                                                    

                       The attribute of             Attributes of                   Increased preference amongst    
                       exercise/fitness is          speed/excitement/risk;          expert riders for               
                       particularly important for   physical challenge;             speed/excitement/risk;          
                       these riders.                skill/technical challenge; and  skill/technical challenge, and  
                                                    developing and improving        racing/training (latter         
                                                    skills become more important    reflects race-entry sample      
                                                    for these riders.               selection).                     

Statements of most                                                                                                  
preferred riding          General preference for                                                                    
features.               undulating routes; forest                                                                   
(from open-ended        settings; smooth/fast/open                                                                  
question)                      tracks; good                                                                         
                         scenery/viewpoints; and                                                                    
                           rides of 2-3 hours.                                                                      

                       Prefer gradual/easy          Preference for technical        Increased preference for        
                       uphills; tracks being        difficulty/challenge;           technical                       
                       smooth/easy/open; tracks     down-hills being                difficulty/challenge;           
                       being not difficult/few      fast/smooth/open and            downhills being                 
                       obstructions; and rides      fast/technical/tight; harder    fast/technical/tight; and       
                       1-2 hours duration.          uphills; and                    tight/narrow/winding            
                                                    tight/narrow/winding            single-track.                   

                         Greatest preference for                                                                    
Landscape Preferences  native forest/bush settings                                                                  
                          (least for farmland).                                                                     
                           Beginners had least                                                                      
                         preference for forestry                                                                    
                              (pine) areas.                                                                         

Track-Type             Greater preference for       Emphasis shifts to              Distinguished by much stronger  
Preferences            sealed roads, and more       less-developed routes, and      preference for                  
                       tolerant of gravel roads.    single-track in particular.     single-track.                   
                       Much lower preferences for                                                                   

Track Condition and    Greater preference for       Preference for rougher          Similar preferences for         
Difficulty             tracks which are             tracks/more obstacles; and      rougher tracks, but less        
Preferences            smooth/benched/open/clear.   rough/uneven/tight/narrow       interest in wet conditions and  
                       Much lower preference for    tracks. More tolerance for      mud. Even more tolerance for    
                       obstructions/difficulties    pushing/carrying bikes.         pushing/carrying bikes.         
                       on tracks, or for                                                                            
                       pushing/carrying bikes.                                                                      

                       Strong preference for        Preference for                  Increased preference for        
Downhill Attribute     slow/gentle/easy             fast/rough/technical            downhills which are             
Preferences            downhills. Least preference  downhills. Increased            fast/rough/tight and            
                       for speed/excitement/risk.   preference for                  slow/steep/more technical, and  
                                                    speed/excitement/risk.          for                             

Uphill Attribute       Strong preference for        Increased preference for        Increased preference for more   
Preferences            gradual/easy/relaxed         uphills with short/hard/steep   difficult uphills with          
                       up-hills.                    sections. Little specific       short/hard/steep sections, and  
                                                    preference for easy uphills.    climbs which are                

                        Riders strongly preferred                                                                   
Social Encounter            to avoid motorised                                                                      
Attribute Preferences  vehicles, and walkers (to a                                                                  
                         lesser extent). Most are                                                                   
                        tolerant of meeting other                                                                   

Figure 1. Model for decision making on mountain bike use of tracks.