Off-Road Mountain Biking: A profile of participants, setting and preferences, by Gordan Cessford, 1995
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APPENDIX 8

Favourite Riding Conditons: total list


This appendix summarises the top-ten open-ended responses of riders when asked to describe their favourite riding conditions. Table A.8.1 summarises the overall sample, and the following tables then present their top-ten responses in order of importance to them. This allows comparisons of how these responses vary in importance for different groups.

Table A.8.1: Favourite riding conditions - Total sample

TOP 10 RIDING CONDITIONS

- Total sample

% that stated this
Beginners
Moderate experience
Have much experience
Expert/very

experienced
Some technical difficulty/challenge
37
18
31
41
41
Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
31
24
42
28
24
An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
30
26
24
35
28
Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
29
2
18
34
41
Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
28
28
30
28
28
Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
26
2
14
29
47
Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
21
22
23
20
22
Ride duration between 2-3 hours
20
18
18
22
21
Track surface which is smooth/fast/open
20
13
23
21
19
Good scenery and viewpoints
19
24
22
14
25
Rides going through a variety of terrain/settings
17
4
10
23
18
Rides including a variety of track surfaces
17
7
15
22
13
Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
17
2
11
21
26

In the following pages, Tables A.8.2 - A.8.5 present the top-ten conditions specified by each of the experience groups, arranged in order of importance to them. In each table, the corresponding results from other experience groups are included. This does result in some repetition of result presentation overall, but is useful for comparative purposes.

Favourite Riding Conditions - Beginner riders

The top riding conditions stated by beginners are listed in Table A.8.2. Differences in the importance of these conditions between riders of different experience are apparent. In tables for other experience groups, some conditions are listed again, but their relative importance changes. And new conditions are sometimes also included. Here the favoured conditions are listed in order of importance to the beginner group (in the first column).

The top three riding conditions of beginners emphasised riding which was not too difficult. Preference for clear tracks without obstacles, and gradual uphill climbs was highest here. Other conditions emphasising preference for easier riding were also present. These included shorter ride duration (1-2 hours), gentle/easy downhills, riding on sealed roads, and riding on farm tracks/4WD. These conditions all decreased rapidly in importance amongst the more experienced riders.

Some conditions remained constant across experience levels. These included preferences for natural forested settings, good scenery and views, undulating routes, and ride durations of 2-3 hours. This indicates these conditions are generally preferred by all riders.

The only condition which increased in importance with increasing experience was that of some technical difficulty/challenge. Although not rated at the same level of importance as apparent for more experienced riders, almost 20% of beginners did indicate they preferred some technical difficulty/challenge.

Overall, the riding conditions favoured by beginner riders emphasised preference for relatively easy tracks with gentle routes and smoother surfaces, attractive natural settings, and with some variety to maintain interest and provide limited challenges.

Table A.8.2: Favourite riding conditions - Beginner riders

TOP 10 RIDING CONDITIONS

- Beginner riders

%
% for moderately experienced riders
% for riders with much experience
% for expert riders
Few obstructions on track/not too difficult
50
29
7
2
Uphills which are gradual/gentle/easy
48
23
9
5
Track surface which is smooth/easy/open
42
17
4
0
Riding in forest setting (specifically native)
28
30
28
28
An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
26
24
35
28
Ride duration of between 1-2 hours
26
11
7
7
Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
24
42
28
24
Good scenery and viewpoints
24
22
14
25
Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
22
23
20
22
Some technical difficulty/challenge
18
31
41
41
Ride duration of between 2-3 hours
18
18
22
21
Downhills which are slow/gentle/easy
18
2
1
0
Riding on sealed roads
17
1
0
0
Farm tracks/4WD on farms
15
8
6
2

Favourite Riding Conditions - Moderately experienced riders

The top riding conditions stated by riders with moderate experience are listed in Table A.8.3. They are ranked in order of importance to this group as listed in the second column (%) of the Table.

The most generally preferred condition amongst all riders was that for downhills which were fast/smooth/open. Preference for this condition peaked amongst moderately experienced riders. This preference declined amongst more experienced riders, suggesting that preference for this condition represented a stage in rider development, which once satisfied, gives way to other challenges. It is notable that the next most preferred condition was that of some technical difficulty/challenge, which continued to increase in importance with experience. And the first appearance amongst the top ten conditions of a preference for downhills which were fast/technical/tight reinforces the suggestion of there being a transition to experiencing more challenging conditions. In part however, fast/smooth/open downhills do represent the maximum potential for experiencing extreme downhill speed, which would appear to also remain attractive to many experienced riders.

A similar pattern of preference was apparent for the riding condition of single-track which was smooth/open/clear, which made its only top 10 appearance here. Beginner riders may not have had the skills or confidence to start riding on any single-track, while the more experienced riders exhibit greater preference for more technical and difficult single-track. The preference for smooth/open/clear single-track amongst the moderately experienced may reflect a transition of riding preference towards more difficult conditions. Support for this suggestion was provided by the continued decline in importance of those conditions characteristic of preference for easy riding.

Table A.8.3: Favourite riding conditions - Moderately experienced riders

TOP 10 RIDING CONDITIONS

- Moderately experienced riders

% for beginner riders
%
% for riders with much experience
% for expert riders
Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
24
42
28
24
Some technical difficulty/challenge
18
31
41
41
Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
28
30
28
28
Few obstructions on track/not too difficult
50
29
7
2
An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
26
24
35
28
Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
22
23
20
22
Track surface which is smooth/fast/open
13
23
21
19
Uphills which are gradual/gentle/easy
48
23
9
5
Good scenery and viewpoints
24
22
14
25
Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
1
18
34
41
Ride duration between 2-3 hours
18
18
22
21
Single-track which is smooth/open/clear
7
18
6
4
Track surface which is smooth/easy/open
42
17
4
0
Rides including a variety of track surfaces
7
15
22
13
Ride duration of between 3-4 hours
4
15
18
9

Favourite Riding Conditions - Riders with much experience

The top riding conditions stated by riders with much experience are listed in Table A.8.4. They are ranked in order of importance to this group as listed in the third column (%) of the Table.

An increased preference for technical challenge in riding was apparent for these riders. This was apparent in a number of ways. The importance of riding single-track which was tight/narrow/winding increased, as did preference for fast/technical/tight downhills, and for some technical difficulty/challenge.

There was added focus on the preference for single-track riding from the 25% who stated preference for using a mixture of single-track and other route types (e.g., farm track/4WD) on their rides. This was also representative of the greater preference for variety in riding conditions amongst these riders.

An important condition which did not make the top ten here was that of experiencing good views and scenery. Amongst these riders it was preferred by only 14% The reason for this was not addressed in this study, but it may represent another stage in rider development. This may result from the focus on skill and technical development dominating the more aesthetic aspects of riding. The re-emergence amongst expert riders (Table 4.13), of a preference for good scenery and viewpoints on rides suggests that once many technical challenges are overcome, the scope of rider interests grows broader. However, there is some suggestion that those particular riders who channel their development towards racing in fact narrow their focus further.

The only remaining condition characteristic of easy riding preferences was that for smooth/fast/open downhills. This decreased considerably from it's importance to moderately experienced riders. Rider preferences appear to have shifted toward the more challenging technical downhills.

Table A.8.4: Favourite riding conditions - Riders with much experience

TOP 10 RIDING CONDITIONS

- Riders with much experience

% for beginner riders
% for moderately experienced riders
%
% for expert riders
Some technical difficulty/challenge
18
31
41
41
An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
26
24
35
28
Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
2
18
34
41
Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
2
14
29
47
Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
28
30
28
28
Downhills which are smooth/fast/open
24
42
28
24
Single-track and other (farm track/4WD)
4
13
25
23
Rides going through a variety of terrain/settings
4
10
23
18
Ride duration between 2-3 hours
18
18
22
21
Rides including a variety of track surfaces
7
15
22
13
Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
2
11
21
26
Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
22
23
20
22

Favourite Riding Conditions - Expert riders

The top riding conditions stated by expert/very experienced riders are listed in Table A.8.5. They are ranked in order of importance to this group as listed in the last column (%) of the table.

Preference for tight/narrow/winding single-track was clearly at its highest amongst expert riders (47%). Other conditions characteristic of greater challenge and difficulty were also at their highest levels. And maintained throughout was also a continued preference for riding in forest settings, which were stated by 50% of expert riders in total. These all suggest that challenging single-track types of riding opportunities in natural settings are highly important as the premiere settings for riding.

Preference for fast/smooth/open downhills also remained amongst expert riders. This suggested some desire amongst more experienced riders for pure speed from simple fast downhills. This was also apparent from the maintained preference for track surfaces which were smooth/fast/open. However, the overall pattern of preferred riding conditions for experts was toward greater challenge and difficulty. ranked in order of importance as listed in the last column (%) of the Table.

Table A.8.5: Favourite riding conditions - Expert/very experienced riders

TOP 10 RIDING CONDITIONS

- Expert/very experienced riders

% for beginner riders
% for moderately experienced riders
% for riders with much experience
%
Single-track which is tight/narrow/winding
2
14
29
47
Some technical difficulty/challenge
18
31
41
41
Downhills which are fast/technical/tight
2
18
34
41
An undulating route/mixture of ups and downs
26
24
35
28
Riding in a forest setting (specifically native)
28
30
28
28
Uphills which are long/steep/smooth
2
11
21
26
Track surface which is dry/hard (not rocky)
11
12
18
26
Good scenery and viewpoints
24
22
14
25
Downhills which are fast/smooth/open
24
42
28
24
Track surface which is rough/technical/fast
2
12
14
23
Single-track and other (farm track/4WD)
4
13
25
23
Riding in a forest setting (not type-specific)
22
23
20
22
Ride duration between 2-3 hours
18
18
22
21
Track surface which is smooth/fast/open
13
23
21
19


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