Off-Road Mountain Biking: A profile of participants, setting and preferences, by Gordan Cessford, 1995
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APPENDIX 6

The Top-ranked Features of Mountain Biking

(by experience groups)

This appendix presents tables showing the top three features of riding in the priority order that they were ranked by the respective experience groups. The first three columns in these tables are the ranked top three features. The last column is the combined total response, in which the percentage represents the proportion of the sample who included the feature in their top three. A table is presented for the overall sample, and then for each of the self-rated experience groups.

Table A.6.1: Experience Preference Priorities - Overall (n=495)

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES
% First Choice
% Second Choice
% Third Choice
Total % in Top Three
Speed/excitement/risk

Exercise/fitness workout

Appreciating views/scenery/nature

Riding/socialising with friends

Exploring new areas

Physical challenge (hard riding)

Skill challenge (technical riding)

Racing and race training

Developing and improving skills

Peace/quiet/solitude

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Commuting around town/transport means

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

19

17

10

10

12

7

5

9

3

2

2

2

0

1
12

15

10

10

9

9

11

4

5

3

3

2

0

1
11

10

14

13

12

8

6

4

7

4

2

2

2

0
43

42

38

33

33

24

22

19

15

7

7

6

2

2

These overall results show that there are no single one or two riding features preferred by all riders. If any such existed, they would be more prominent than any of those listed in Table A.6.1. Only 19% indicated achieving speed/excitement/risk as their number one priority, although the total for this was 43% overall, indicating that it was an important element. Only 9% indicated racing as their number one priority, and the total for this was only 28%. This suggests that the race-entry origin of the sample does not represent a major source of bias. Not all of the sample would appear to be `race-oriented' despite their action in entering a race (refer Appendix 2).

This indicates that riders have many different motivations for their riding, and their outcomes from it. However, the preference for these features was found to vary across different experience levels. This indicated that riders did change in their preferences as they gained experience. Some features that were apparently less important overall, were of greater importance to different groups of riders. These changes are apparent from Tables A.6.2 to A.6.5.

Riders appeared to follow a process of specialisation, as the focus of their feature preferences moved from the more general aspects such as exercise and relaxation/easy riding, toward the more activity-specific features of physical and technical challenge, racing, and speed. Along with this general shift were a number of features which appeared consistently important to all riders. these included appreciating scenery, socialising with friends, exercise/fitness and exploring new areas. Other features listed in the tables appeared relatively unimportant to riders in general.

The most preferred feature amongst beginners (Table A.6.2) was for exercise/fitness workout (59%). This was the highest preference expressed for any of the features listed. Following it were appreciating scenery/nature (47%), socialising (47%), exploring new areas (34%) and having relaxation/easy riding. These beginners demonstrated a clear preference for the physical well-being outcomes of riding, and some of its associated

experiences (e.g., scenery, exploration). More riding-specific features associated with skill and challenge were not prominent, nor was the thrill-seeking component of speed/excitement/risk.

Table A.6.2: Experience Preference Priorities - `Beginner' riders (n=56)

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES
% First Choice
% Second Choice
% Third Choice
Total % in Top three
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

Peace/quiet/solitude

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Commuting around town/transport means

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

5

22

14

14

16

0

4

0

0

4

5

13

2

2
5

22

14

7

9

0

4

2

5

4

20

5

0

2
7

16

20

16

9

0

5

2

0

11

7

2

2

0
17

59

47

37

34

0

12

4

5

17

31

19

4

4

Table A.6.3 presents the top features of moderately experienced riders. One major change with greater experience was the increased importance attributed to speed/excitement/risk, which increased from 17% amongst beginners to 43% amongst these moderately experienced riders. Exercise, socialising, scenery and exploring new areas remained important, while preference for the challenge and skill elements increased. The importance of relaxation/easy riding decreased from 31% to 7%. These riders appear to represent a transition from generalised beginner riders, to more `active' off-road riders with increasing interest in activity-specific features such as skill, technical and physical challenge, and speed.

Table A.6.3: Experience Preference Priorities - `Moderately experienced' riders (n=120)

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES
% First Choice
% Second Choice
% Third Choice
Total % in Top three
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

Peace/quiet/solitude

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Commuting around town/transport means

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

20

23

12

15

8

1

6

4

5

2

2

2

0

1
13

16

14

7

16

2

8

9

7

2

2

2

1

0
11

10

16

12

13

2

10

3

10

4

2

4

0

1
43

48

42

34

37

4

24

17

22

8

7

7

1

2

Amongst riders with much experience (Table A.6.4), speed, scenery and exercise/fitness were the main features preferred. Socialising and exploring new areas remained prominent, while increased interest in physical and technical challenge was apparent. The main change with greater experience apparent here was the growth in preference for racing, which increased from 4% previously to 21% amongst these riders. This suggests that as these riders have gained experience in riding, they are beginning to explore new ways to challenge and develop it. However, racing was only the first priority for 9% of these riders, indicating it was not a major feature for these riders overall.

Table A.6.4: Experience Preference Priorities - `Have much experience' riders (n=219)

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES
% First Choice
% Second Choice
% Third Choice
Total % in Top three
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

Peace/quiet/solitude

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Commuting around town/transport means

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

20

16

11

9

13

9

9

5

3

1

0

0

0

1
14

17

14

11

8

5

8

9

4

3

1

2

0

1
12

10

13

13

12

7

8

7

7

4

1

2

2

0
46

44

39

33

33

21

26

21

15

9

2

4

2

2

Speed received its highest preference amongst the `expert' riders (Table A.6.5). Also highest amongst these riders was racing, and the physical and technical challenges. Scenery and socialising were still prominent, although less so than for the less experienced riders, while exploring and exercise/fitness had decreased considerably. Even amongst these riders, racing was not the predominant features. It was included as a top three feature by 44% of these riders, but only 22% put it as their first choice.

Table A.6.5: Experience Preference Priorities - `Expert/very experienced' riders (n=100)

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES
% First Choice
% Second Choice
% Third Choice
Total % in Top three
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

Peace/quiet/solitude

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Commuting around town/transport means

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

25

10

6

7

8

22

5

11

1

2

2

0

0

1
13

6

11

10

7

8

13

21

5

3

0

2

1

0
13

7

14

13

8

14

9

9

5

2

1

1

3

1
51

23

31

30

23

44

27

41

11

7

3

3

4

2

The Five Most Important Features of Riding

Riders selected the five most important features of their mountain biking from a list provided. These results are summarised in Table A.6.6 The % figures represent the proportion of the sample who included each feature as one of their five choices. The three features most frequently chosen are indicated in bold.

Table A.6.6: The Five Most Important Mountain Biking Features (n = 495)

MOUNTAIN BIKING FEATURES

(5 most important)

TOTAL %
Beginners (combined)
Moderately experienced
Have much experience
Expert/very experienced
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 around town/transport

Relaxation/easy riding/cruising

Overnight trips/touring options

Other

60

59

56

54

49

49

47

37

30

20

16

13

9

2
52

72

79

21

12

24

50

39

0

31

33

55

7

1
69

57

57

56

31

41

50

47

16

29

17

13

9

1
61

62

54

57

54

54

42

33

33

17

13

4

4

2
50

41

32

59

68

61

41

27

61

17

12

5

8

1

This table shows that there are multiple factors contributing to rider enjoyment of mountain biking. The relative importance of features for all the riders overall is apparent from the `TOTAL' column. Features relatively consistent amongst all riders included the exploration opportunities; appreciation of scenery, views and nature; experiencing speed, excitement and risk; and socialising with others. Some variations occurred amongst these, with experiencing speed, excitement and risk being less important for beginners, but of higher importance for the remainder. These consistent features could represent the core requirements of enjoyable mountain biking for most riders.

Features increasing in importance with experience included the physical and technical challenges of riding, and the opportunity to participate in races.

Other features appeared to decrease in importance with increasing experience levels. These included the exercise and fitness features; experiencing peace, quiet and solitude; commuting opportunities; and easy and relaxed cruising rides. The latter two were not very important for riders overall, although they were prominent amongst beginners. It is likely that commuting around town is actually a common feature for most riders, but is not seen as being particularly important.

Some changes were varied in their patterns. An interest in developing and improving skills appeared to peak amongst the moderately experienced riders. Presumably the more experienced riders would possess a greater array of skills and felt they did not have much else to learn. This implies some evolution in rider preferences with increasing experience.


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