Off-Road Mountain Biking: A profile of participants, setting and preferences, by Gordan Cessford, 1995
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APPENDIX 2

Differences between `Racers' and `Non-Racers'

The reason for using race-entries as the basis for selection of the survey sample was to achieve a sample of `active' off-road riders. These represent the types of riders most likely to be using the tracks managed by the Department of Conservation. The sample was drawn mainly from the `Karapoti Classic' event, which is a high profile mountain biking event. This attracts not only top New Zealand racers, but also many other riders who enter to simply complete the event, or to meet their own personal challenges (eg to beat last years time). For many, entering a race does not necessarily represent preference for competitive racing in their general riding outcomes. The extent to which racing was important to the riders in this sample, and how it may have affected their responses to the survey questions is the subject of this appendix.

A2.1 The Importance of Racing to Riders

As part of the survey, riders were asked to indicate from the list provided which were the five most important features of riding to them (Q.9), and of these, which were the top three in order of priority (Q.10). One item on the list was `Racing and race training'. The overall results of these questions are presented in Section 4.1 and Appendix 6. In Table A.2.1, the relatively low importance of racing as a feature of riding for most riders is apparent.

Table A.2.1: Relative importance of racing as a riding feature (%) (n=490)

WAS RACING AN IMPORTANT FEATURE
In the 5 MOST important features of riding
In the TOP 3 priority features of riding
% who included Racing here
30
19

These results indicate that despite having entered the race event from which they were sampled, the importance of racing as an attribute of their riding was not great for most riders. Only 30% included it amongst their five `most important' features of riding. Even fewer included it amongst their `top three' features (19%). Only 9% actually indicated it was their No.1 priority riding feature (refer Table A.6.1 in Appendix 6). The relative importance of racing did increase with higher experience levels, as would be expected where the top riders entering the event are likely to be the more serious competitors. However, even amongst those riders who rated themselves as `experts', only 44% included racing in their top three features.

A2.2 The Effect of Race-emphasis on Results

The next question to consider is what differences there could be between riders with some interest in racing (`racers'), and riders for whom racing was not important (`non-racers'). The differences reviewed here included rider characteristics, relative experience levels, setting and experience preferences, and their management opinions. The tables which follow highlight the main differences that were found. To obtain a distinct contrast between the riders, the following criteria were used to define the `racer' and `non-racer' groups.

Non-racers - those who did NOT include `Racing and race training' in their five most important features of mountain bike riding (n=343).

Some riders who did include racing in their five main features, did not do so for their top three features. These were considered to be less committed to racing, and were not included in the `Racer' group to better draw out any racer/non-racer differences. In effect, they were excluded from this analysis.

Committed Racers - those who DID include `Racing and race training' in their top three features of mountain bike riding (n=91).

All of these `Committed Racers' had self-rated experience levels of more than 3 (Moderately experienced). To enable comparison of riders at higher experience levels, which would identify any differences more associated with the higher general experience levels of racers than with their orientation toward racing, a non-racer group with corresponding experience levels was selected.

Experienced Non-racers - those non-racers who had indicated a self-rated experience level of more than 3 (moderately experienced)(n=228).

It may have been best to compare only the `Expert' riders in each group, but this was not considered to be practical due to the relatively low numbers of `expert' riders amongst racers (44 riders) and non-racers (56 riders). However, reference is made to differences between these expert riders where appropriate.

A2.3 Rider Descriptive Characteristics

Differences between riders were not great. The most distinctive difference was the higher proportion of younger riders amongst `Committed Racers'.

Table A.2.2 : Descriptive characteristics by racing emphasis

CHARACTERISTICS
Non-racers
Experienced

Non-racers
Committed

Racers
NOTES
AGE Under 20

20 - 29

30 - 39

40 - 49

50 - 59

15

44

29

10

2
14

48

27

9

1
30

37

25

6

2
The main age difference for racers is the higher proportion of those aged under 20. It appears race emphasis is higher in this age group. Overall, the proportion of riders in this group did not change with experience (Table 3.2).
SEX Male

Female

82

18
91

9
90

10
Gender balance did not vary according to race emphasis. Experience was more important.
WORK Professional/Technical

Student

Admin/Management

Clerical/Sales/Service

Labour/Transport

Not Working

School

Agriculture/Forestry

Other (non-specific)

38

15

15

11

3

2

3

1

12
36

16

13

11

4

4

1

0

14
33

24

4

14

1

4

4

3

1
The main occupation difference for racers was a higher proportion of students (24%), and lower proportions of administrators/managers and those with `non-specific' occupations. This may reflect the higher proportion of younger riders amongst racers. The differences are not great, and were not affected by experience levels.

A2.4 Rider Experience and Commitment Characteristics

In Table A.2.3, racers rated their experience level higher than did the complete non-racer group. And, upon viewing the other experience criteria listed they did have more experience overall. However, amongst the more experienced racers and non-racers, differences diminished (apart from `number of races done'). When the expert racers were compared with the expert non-racers, differences were minimal (apart from non-racing experts having more years of experience).

Racers are a more experienced group of riders than the general mass. However, not all riders channel their increasing experience into racing, although many clearly do participate in them. It is clear from comparison of the respective expert groups, that both have similar actual levels of experience and participation.

In Table A.2.4, rider commitment through involvement in clubs increased with experience levels and racing involvement (Section 3.3). Expert racers were most often in a club, maybe resulting from the requirement for New Zealand Mountain Biking Association membership before race points count for the national race series.

Racers spend more when buying a bike, although this difference diminishes amongst experts. Most non-racers do not undertake modifications of their bikes, but again this changes amongst the higher experience levels. It appears that the type of bike and its features used by riders is more dependent upon riding experience than racing commitment.

Many riders also included overnight trips in their range of mountain biking activities. Non-racers overall were least involved in these, but this reflected their relatively lower experience. Amongst the more experienced riders, the proportion doing overnight trips was quite consistent.

Table A.2.3: Experience characteristics by racing emphasis

CHARACTERISTICS
Non-racers

(all)

(n=343)
Experienced

Non-racers

(n=228)
Expert

Non-racers

(n=56)
Committed Racers

(n=91)
Expert

Racers

(n=44)
EXPERIENCE Beginner

(self-rated) Moderate (=3)

Have much

Expert/very

16

30

43

11
-

-

75

25
-

-

-

100
-

-

52

48
-

-

-

100
EXPERIENCE 1 year or less

(yrs on MTB) 1 - 2 years

2 - 3 years

3 - 4 years

4 - 5 years

Over 5 years

24

25

18

14

10

8
7

23

23

18

14

15
2

9

16

25

11

36
10

19

17

25

15

13
5

16

16

34

16

16
EXPERIENCE Only ride road

(days ride/yr) Under 6 days

(off-road) 7 - 12

13 - 24

25 - 50

50 - 100

Over 100 days

2

8

12

12

30

21

15
0

0

0

8

32

29

31
0

0

0

1

12

30

55
0

0

1

0

24

31

44
0

0

0

0

23

20

57
EXPERIENCE Never raced

(no. of races) Only 1 race

2 - 5

6 - 10

11 - 20

20 - 50

50 - 100

Over 100

16

17

27

14

14

9

3

1
4

6

21

18

26

18

6

1
2

2

11

11

20

29

22

4
0

1

6

9

23

44

10

8
0

0

0

0

16

50

20

14

Table A.2.4: Commitment characteristics by racing emphasis

CHARACTERISTICS
Non-racers

(all)
Experienced

Non-racers
Expert

Non-racers
Committed

Racers
Expert

Racers
MEMBER YES

(club) NO

26

74
38

62
46

54
55

45
68

32
BIKE VALUE Under $1000

1000 - 2000

2000 - 3000

Over $3000

21

50

19

11
7

43

32

18
2

26

37

34
6

23

40

31
0

17

40

43
OVERNIGHT YES

(trips) NO

39

61
49

51
55

45
50

50
52

48
% who modified their bikes
26
42
57
43
43

In Table A.2.5, some differences were apparent when the other recreation activities of racer and non-racers were considered. Most included mountain biking in their three main outdoor activities, indicating that their commitment to the activity did not differ with race emphasis. The main differences were in their other activities. Amongst racers, involvement in road cycling was generally higher, and increased to 44% of expert riders. This is likely to be associated with their race and fitness training. Non-racers appeared to be more generally involved in a wider range of active outdoor pursuits (e.g., skiing, tramping, other activities).

Table A.2.5: Outdoor activity characteristics of riders

MAIN OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

(Given 3 choices, % indicating activity)

Non-racers

(all)
Experienced Non-racers
Expert

Non-racers
Committed Racers
Expert

Racers
Mountain Biking

Running

Road cycling

Tramping

Walking

Skiing

Sailing/Windsurfing

Hunting/Fishing

Kayaking

Climbing

Outdoor Team Sports

Other Activities

89

29

18

19

21

15

6

5

5

5

17

44
95

28

18

25

12

20

7

15

9

6

12

42
95

27

18

28

9

28

7

12

5

7

8

48
100

22

28

19

10

21

8

7

5

5

7

33
100

23

44

23

7

12

7

7

5

0

7

39

A2.5 Features of Mountain Bike Riding

When comparing the five most important features of riding (Table A.2.6), it was apparent that racers emphasised the characteristics of the riding more than they did the setting of the ride. Expert racers did emphasise the physical and technical challenges, and the development of skills. Non-racers indicated greater importance for exploring new areas, appreciating scenery/views/nature, exercise/fitness, and socialising with friends.

The main change represented by the refinement of the five most important features to the top three (Table A.2.7) was the greater focus of racers upon racing. While this was to be expected, it was at the expense of other riding features. Here the non-racers emphasised the physical and technical challenge features more than did the racers. This was particularly pronounced amongst the expert riders for technical challenge features. This suggests a greater focus by racers on those elements of riding experiences associated specifically with participation in races. Other attributes such as speed and challenge were important, but possibly only within the context of races or training. It is important to note here that these riders do represent a minority, with most other riders indicating a wider array of riding features are important to them.

Table A.2.6: Most Important Mountain Biking Features

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES

(5 most important)

Non-racers

(all)
Experienced Non-racers
Expert Non-racers
Committed Racers
Expert Racers
Exploring new areas

Appreciating views/scenery/nature

Exercise/fitness workout

Speed/excitement/risk

Skill challenge (technical riding)

Physical challenge (hard riding)

Riding/socialising with friends

Developing and improving skills

Racing and race training

Peace/quiet/solitude

Commuting in town/transport means

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

64

68

62

53

47

47

52

37

0

22

18

17

10

1
61

66

53

59

53

55

47

31

19

18

13

5

10

2
57

53

32

62

73

37

59

21

32

18

12

5

12

0
49

32

32

55

60

57

35

35

100

12

11

4

6

1
23

27

32

54

84

66

34

43

100

16

9

4

2

2

Table A.2.7: Top Three Features of Mountain Biking

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES

(the top three features)

Non-racers

(all)
Experienced Non-racers
Expert Non-racers
Committed Racers
Expert Racers
Speed/excitement/risk

Exercise/fitness workout

Appreciating views/scenery/nature

Riding/socialising with friends

Exploring new areas

Racing and race training

Physical challenge (hard riding)

Skill challenge (technical riding)

Developing and improving skills

Commuting in town/transport means

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Peace/quiet/solitude

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

41

49

46

35

38

0

24

21

14

7

9

11

2

1
49

45

42

34

35

0

28

30

13

3

3

10

3

3
57

27

36

34

32

0

34

68

7

2

3

9

7

2
44

19

23

26

17

100

21

22

14

4

2

3

2

1
43

18

25

25

11

100

18

29

16

4

2

4

0

2

A2.6 Setting and Experience Preferences

Riders indicated their setting and experience preferences in their responses to listed setting and experience attributes (Section 4.2). These were compared for racers and non-racers, and those indicative of some difference between these two groups are presented in the following tables (A.2.8 t A.2.13).

When considering the landscape setting of rides (Table A.2.8), racers appeared more positive toward riding in plantation forests than non-racers, but less positive toward riding in native forest. These differences were most pronounced amongst the experts. Although small, these differences suggest that some aspects of riding motivation do differ between racers and non-racers. This suggestion gets some support as these differences were not as apparent across the experience groups compared in Table 4.4 of the main text.

Table A.2.8: Setting attribute preferences - Landscape setting

SETTING ATTRIBUTES

- Vegetation setting

I don't want this
I avoid if possible
OK some times
I usually prefer this
Always essential
NOTES
* Route in forestry area

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


1

0

0

0

0

2

2

4

1

0

43

41

37

30

27

50

54

52

62

70

4

3

7

7

2
Most riders were positive toward this. Racers were more positive than non- racers, but the difference was not great.
* Route in native forest/bush

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

2

2

13

12

16

18

25

75

78

70

70

68

11

10

14

10

4
Most riders were positive toward this, with only a little difference between racers and non-racers. Racers were slightly less positive.

When considering track type settings (Table A.2.9), the non-racers were less positive toward riding on single-track than were racers. However, this represented the influence of rider experience more than race orientation. When the groups of comparable experience levels were viewed, there was little difference between racers and non-racers. But there were differences apparent in rider preferences for other track types.

While most riders were neutral in their preference for riding on gravel roads, the proportion of racers who considered these important for their riding was over twice that of non-racers at similar experience levels. This included 34% of expert racers, compared to 9% of expert non-racers. This pattern was not evident across experience levels (Table 4.6 in main text). This suggests that riding on gravel roads may be more important in the riding patterns of riders with racing orientation.

Another indication of some differences in riding patterns was apparent from the preferences for riding on sealed roads. While most riders were negative towards this, Racers were less so. Amongst experts, 82% of non-racers were negative, compared with 64% of racers. More racers were neutral in their preference for riding on sealed roads. As noted in Section A2.4 of this Appendix, a higher proportion of racers included road cycling as one of their main outdoor activities, which may provide some explanation of this finding. Again, this pattern was not evident across experience groups (Table 4.6 in main text).

Table A.2.9: Setting attribute preferences - Track type

SETTING ATTRIBUTES

- Track type

I don't want this
I avoid if possible
OK some times
I usually prefer this
Always essential
NOTES
* On single-track (eg walking)

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


1

0

0

0

0

5

1

0

0

0

28

19

11

7

18

46

51

52

46

54

20

29

37

39

37
Most riders were very positive toward this. There was little variation amongst the experienced riders. The total non-racer group were the least positive.
* On gravel roads

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


1

1

2

1

0

24

23

27

21

16

59

64

62

48

50

14

11

9

24

27

2

1

0

6

7
Most riders were neutral toward this. Racers were generally more positive than non-racers.
* On sealed roads

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


13

21

25

11

7

46

54

58

50

57

34

24

14

34

32

5

1

2

3

4

2

0

0

1

0
Most riders were negative toward this. Racers were slightly less negative than non-racers.

When considering track condition, the non-racer group were generally less positive about all the attributes listed in Table A.2.10. There were differences between experienced racers and non-racers in their preferences for these. While all experienced riders preferred challenging tracks which were rough/uneven/tight/narrow, racers were generally less positive toward specific types of track difficulty. Experienced and expert non-racers were more positive towards encountering obstructions from rocks/roots/logs (48% of experts non-racers vs 31% of racers).

Racers were also generally the most negative towards riding in wet and boggy conditions. It appeared that this negative preference increased with experience levels (Section 4.2.3). Racers, and experts in particular, were also least positive toward riding with river/stream/creek crossings. This included 31% who gave a negative response, compared with 18% of expert non-racers. As noted in Section 4.2.3, this response was more characteristic of experts, and may have represented concern with the effect of these riding conditions on their bikes.

Table A.2.10: Setting attribute preferences - Track condition

SETTING ATTRIBUTES

- Track condition

I don't want this
I avoid if possible
OK some times
I usually prefer this
Always essential
NOTES
* Rough/uneven/tight/narrow

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


2

0

0

0

0

10

2

2

3

2

39

34

20

27

23

38

51

59

52

59

10

13

20

18

16
The total non-racer group was less positive toward this than were the more experienced racers and non-racers. These had similar responses.
* Root/rock/log obstructions

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


4

1

0

0

0

25

18

7

22

16

48

53

45

48

52

18

22

36

22

27

6

6

12

8

4
Most riders were neutral toward this. Expert non-racers were most positive.
* Mud/bog/wet conditions

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


5

6

11

9

11

24

28

34

36

45

50

49

39

40

34

15

12

12

11

9

6

5

4

4

0
Most riders were neutral toward this. Expert riders were more negative, particularly the racers.
* River/stream/creek crossings

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


1

0

2

1

2

12

13

16

19

29

58

57

50

55

48

22

25

29

20

11

6

4

4

5

9
Most riders were neutral toward this. Expert racers were most negative.

When considering downhill sections in Table A.2.11, preference for fast/rough/tight downhills was least amongst the total non-racer group (54%). This would appear to be an experience related effect, as the more experienced and expert non-racers and racers were more positive. The proportions of expert non-racers (79%) and racers (80%) positive toward these downhills was similar, although the experienced non-racers (67%) were less so than the corresponding committed racers (77%).

When the more slow/steep/technical downhills were considered, the pattern was similar, but more pronounced. Amongst the more experienced riders, expert non-racers considered these downhill conditions absolutely essential most often (41%), and overall 91% of them were positive toward them. Racers were a little less positive, but still included 77% of committed racers and 84% of experts. Experienced non-racers were also more positive (63%) relative to total non-racers (47%). This would also appear to represent more of an experience effect than one of orientation to racing, with those most positive towards these difficult downhills being the expert non-racers.

Table A.2.11: Setting attribute preferences - Downhill sections

SETTING ATTRIBUTES

- Downhill sections

I don't want this
I avoid if possible
OK some times
I usually prefer this
Always essential
NOTES
* Fast/rough/tight

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


3

0

0

0

0

12

4

5

2

0

30

28

14

21

20

34

40

43

43

43

20

27

37

34

36
The total non-racer group was least positive toward this. The more experienced racers and non-racers were similar.
* Slower/steep/technical

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


3

0

0

0

0

13

7

4

2

2

37

30

5

21

14

32

39

50

46

54

15

24

41

31

30
The total non-racer group was least positive toward this. The more experienced racers and non-racers were similar.

When considering uphill sections in Table A.2.12, a similar pattern to that for downhills was apparent. In both cases, total non-racers were least positive. Racers and the expert non-racers were most positive. And in both cases, racers appeared generally more positive than the experienced and expert non-racers. This was particularly evident amongst those considering these uphills as being absolutely essential for their riding. The patterns for both types of uphills were similar. They suggest these are considered positive challenges rather than difficulties by most riders, an expert racers in particular.

Table A.2.12: Setting attribute preferences - Uphill sections

SETTING ATTRIBUTES

- Uphill sections

I don't want this
I avoid if possible
OK some times
I usually prefer this
Always essential
NOTES
* Short/hard/steep sections

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


2

0

0

0

0

9

4

5

2

0

45

40

30

29

18

38

44

48

44

59

6

12

16

25

23
The total non-racer group was least positive toward this. Racers, and experts in particular were more positive than were the corresponding non-racers.
* Long/hard/steep climbs

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


6

2

4

0

0

20

10

5

8

0

48

48

30

30

30

22

31

50

36

43

5

9

11

26

27
The total non-racer group was least positive toward this. Racers and the expert non-racers were most positive.

When considering encounters with other users of areas (Table A.2.13), approximately half the riders were tolerant of meeting walkers, and half would rather not. This was relatively consistent for most racers and non-racers. However, there appeared to be a difference between experts, with racers (54%) being more negative than non-racers (38%). The expert non-racers were the least negative group of riders toward the presence of walkers. Some suggestion of an effect on these perceptions associated with race orientation can be inferred, as there was little difference in this preference across experience levels (Table 4.15 in main text).

Most riders were tolerant of meeting other riders, and approximately 40% were positive towards it. The total non-racer group was least positive (26%), while riders of greater experience were more so. This was highest amongst experts, reflecting the effect of experience shown in Table A.4.8 (Appendix 4). There appeared to be no effect of orientation to racing in the responses to this attribute.

Table A.2.13: Setting attribute preferences - Social encounters

SETTING ATTRIBUTES

- Social encounters

I don't want this
I avoid if possible
OK some times
I usually prefer this
Always essential
NOTES
* Meeting walkers

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


12

10

11

13

15

37

36

27

39

39

48

52

57

46

46

2

1

4

1

2

0

0

2

1

0
Half of the riders were neutral and half were negative. Expert racers were more negative than expert non-racers.
* Meeting other riders

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


1

0

0

0

0

8

6

9

2

2

62

62

51

58

54

21

28

38

35

39

5

4

2

4

4
The total non-racer group was least positive toward this. Expert non-racers and the racers were most positive.

A2.7 Favourite Riding Conditions

In addition to the preference scores described above, an open-ended question was used for riders to describe their favourite riding conditions. Over 50 codes were designed to represent the descriptions used by riders, and up to six of these codes could be used to categorise the responses of each rider. Responses were then combined and tabulated, with the % figures representing the proportion of riders who included the condition in their overall response.

Table A.2.14 combines the conditions specified by all non-racers, and includes the respective results given for the experienced racer and non-racer groups. Following it, Table A.2.15 lists the top ten riding conditions for each of the experienced racer and non-racer groups. This allows a simple view of the relative priorities given by the different riders.

There were often differences evident between the non-racers and racers, but these tended to change as more experienced groups were compared. Many of the differences appeared to result more form different experience levels than orientation towards racing. The total non-racer group often indicated features characteristic of less experience at higher levels than did the racers. Examples from Table A.2.14 included `Few obstructions on track/not too difficult', `Uphills which are gradual/gentle/easy' and `Track surface which is smooth/easy/open'. However, when the more experienced non-racers were considered, the racer/non-racer differences in these features disappeared.

There were some variations between the more experienced riders which suggested differences in the importance of riding conditions based upon orientation toward racing. For example, experienced non-racers indicated greater importance for `Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)', and `Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding'. Racers indicated greater importance for `Track surface which is dry/hard (not rocky)'.

Overall, these results did not indicate any major differences in rider preferences based upon race orientation. Most differences appear related to overall experience levels rather than any orientation toward racing. This was most apparent for uphills which are gradual/gentle/easy, which was 24% amongst the total group of non-racers, but declined to below 10% for the more experienced racers and non-racers.

Table A.2.14: Summary of favourite riding conditions (open-ended)

TYPES OF RIDING CONDITIONS PREFERRED BY MOUNTAIN BIKERS
Non-racers

(all)
Experienced Non-racers
Expert Non-racers
Committed Racers
Expert Racers
Some technical difficulty/challenge
38
45
41
34
41
Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
33
29
27
26
20
An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
29
31
23
37
34
Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
24
31
37
43
45
Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
33
32
33
18
23
Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
22
37
55
29
38
Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
21
19
20
23
23
Ride duration between 2-3 hours
18
21
21
22
20
Track surface which is smooth/fast/open
21
21
20
19
20
Good scenery and viewpoints
23
18
27
17
23
Rides going through a variety of terrain/settings
15
21
16
23
18
Rides including a variety of track surfaces
16
19
6
20
16
Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
13
21
23
23
25
Single-track and other (farm track/4WD)
14
19
21
19
23
Few obstructions on track/not too difficult
19
8
8
7
4
Track surface which is dry/hard (not rocky)
14
14
14
27
29
Uphills which are gradual/gentle/easy
24
9
4
5
7
Ride duration of between 3-4 hours
16
17
12
10
7
Track surface which is rough/technical/fast
15
17
25
13
18
Uphills with short steep/technical sections
11
12
16
13
16
Track surface which is smooth/easy/open
14
4
0
1
0
Ride duration of between 1-2 hours
12
7
8
5
7
Others (all individually < 10% overall)
-
-
-
-
-

When the top ten riding conditions of experienced racers and non-racers were compared (Table A.2.15), it was apparent that these riders differed little in their riding condition preferences. Many of the same riding conditions were included in the top ten listed for each group, although the order and percentages did vary. These differences were genrally less than 10%.

From these results (Table A.2.15), there are several preferred riding conditions which were consistently common to all experienced riders. These included forest settings, and native in particular; tight single-track riding; downhill sections which were either fast and open, or were fast and of technical challenge; general technical challenge to skills; uphill sections which provided long, smooth but steep climbs; and an overall variety of undulating terrain and different settings. A ride duration of between 2-3 hours was also common.

The main differences which did occur were the inclusion of a preference for dry/hard track surfaces (not rocky) by both groups of racers. No reason for this is available from the results of this study, but racers were most negative towards track obstructions and adverse conditions such as wet and boggy surfaces. This may represent a racer preference for good racing conditions, while non-racers may be more inclined to appreciate the variety and challenge provided.

Table A.2.15: Top Ten Riding Conditions of Experienced Racers and Non-racers

EXPERIENCED NON-RACERS:

- Favourite Riding Conditions (Top 10)

%
COMMITTED RACERS:

- Favourite Riding Conditions (Top 10)

%
1 Some technical difficulty/challenge
45
1 Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
43
2 Single track which is tight/narrow/winding
37
2 An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
37
3 Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
32
3 Some technical difficulty/challenge
34
4= Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
31
4 Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
29
4= An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
31
5 Track surface which is dry/hard (not rocky)
27
5 Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
29
6 Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
26
6= Ride duration between 2-3 hours
21
7= Riding in a forest setting (not type specific)
23
6= Track surface which is smooth/fast/open
21
7= Rides going through a variety of terrain/settings
23
6= Rides going through a variety of terrain/settings
21
7= Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
23
6= Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
21
8 Ride duration between 2-3 hours
22
EXPERT NON-RACERS:

- Favourite Riding Conditions (Top 10)

%
EXPERT RACERS:

- Favourite Riding Conditions (Top 10)

%
1 Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
55
1 Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
45
2 Some technical difficulty/challenge
41
2 Some technical difficulty/challenge
41
3 Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
37
3 Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
38
4 Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
33
4 An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
34
5= Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
27
5 Track surface which is dry/hard (not rocky)
29
5= Good scenery and viewpoints
27
6 Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
25
6 Track surface which is rough/technical/fast
25
7= Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
23
7= An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
23
7= Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
23
7= Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
23
7= Good scenery and viewpoints
23
8= Ride duration between 2-3 hours
21
7= Single-track and other (farm track/4WD)
23
8= Single-track and other (farm track/4WD)
21

A2.8 Rider Attitudes to Opinion Statements (by race orientation)

Overall, notable differences in the responses of racers and non-racers occurred for five opinion statements (Table A.2.16). Most riders disagreed with the statement that riding should not be allowed on walking tracks. This was felt most strongly by experienced and expert non-racers. Racers were a little less pronounced in this response, with the proportion expressing a neutral response being slightly higher. Suggestion of some acceptance of problems on walking tracks was apparent from the proportion of riders agreeing, which approached 20% for most groups. Expert non-racers were the exception, with only 11% agreeing that riding on walking tracks should not be allowed.

Further indication that riders recognised there were some problems with riding on tracks was apparent form the proportion that agreed some tracks were susceptible to damage, and were therefore unsuitable for riding. This agreement was consistently above 60% for both racers and non-racers. Differences were apparent in the smaller proportion who disagreed. Expert non-racers in particular were most likely to disagree (24%). Only 11% of expert racers gave a corresponding response. The reason for this difference was not apparent from these results.

Riders were convinced that many problems attributed to mountain biking were over-estimated, in the case of environmental impacts, or imagined, in the case of walker perceptions. The main difference in these responses was between the total non-racers and the more experienced riders. Total non-racers were less pronounced in their agreement, reflecting the effect of their greater proportion of inexperienced riders. As was shown in Section 5.2 of thre main text (Table 5.2), less experienced riders were less likely to agree with these statements.

Most riders disagreed with the statement that views/scenery/nature were not essential. The main difference between the groups was in the degree to which they disagreed. While almost all racers and non-racers disagreed, non-racers were more likely to disagree strongly. Racers included higher proportions who only tended to disagree, or who gave a neutral response. This does suggest a small but evident difference in the importance attributed by racers.

Table A.2.16: Racer and Non-racer responses to different opinion statements

ATTITUDES TO OPINION STATEMENTS
Strongly Disagree
Tend to Disagree

Neutral
Tend to Agree
Strongly Agree
* Mountain bikes should not be allowed on walking tracks

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


16

19

28

18

21

43

46

50

36

35

19

16

13

24

27

17

17

7

18

16

4

4

2

4

2
* Some walking tracks unsuitable for riding - easily damaged

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


4

3

4

2

2

12

16

20

7

9

16

15

14

24

18

44

43

40

47

46

24

23

22

20

25
* Environmental damage by mountain bikes over-estimated

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


0

1

0

0

0

9

9

4

4

4

25

16

9

16

14

38

35

36

43

39

28

40

52

37

43
* Un-informed walkers imagine problems from biking use

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


0

0

2

1

0

5

6

6

2

0

32

22

16

26

23

44

47

36

46

50

18

25

40

25

27
* Views/scenery/nature are not essential for riding enjoyment

- Non-racer (all)

- Experienced Non-racer

- Expert Non-racer

- Committed Racer

- Expert Racer


52

48

45

28

27

31

31

25

36

41

8

8

1

15

16

7

10

12

16

16

2

3

7

3

0


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