Mountain biking is a new and growing activity in off-road recreation areas. For the managers of these areas, it poses a new array of physical and social impact issues. While little research has been done on mountain biking, that which has been completed has addressed these impact issues. However, no substatial research has been undertaken to identify what actually are the preferred physical setting and recreation experience requirements of mountain bike riders. This report presents the results from a postal survey of 504 off-road mountain bike riders. The report describes their characteristics and activity levels, their preferences for settings and experiences, and some of their management-related attitudes. Riders displayed a diversity of setting and experience preferences, and many of these changed in importance with more riding experience. These changes generally emphasised an increased desire for challenge in riding experiences. Natural settings, challenging riding, variety in settings and experiences, and opportunities for excitment and speed were important components for most riders. Riders acknowledged some impacts were occurring, but considered they were exaggerated and generally misunderstood. They considered voluntary self-regulation in setting choices and riding behaviour was most appropriate for dealing with them. The report identifies some key findings from this research, and makes some recommendations for future management and research.
KEYWORDS: mountain-biking, environmental setting preferences, recreation experience preferences, effect of experience-levels, attitudes to management, conflict perceptions.