2. RESEARCH METHODS
2.1 Data collection
The target group for the survey were
those more `active' riders likely to be using tracks and facilities
managed by the department. A sample of such riders was readily
available from two major mountain bike races in the Wellington
area. One was the `Karapoti Classic', which was first staged in
1986. It is one of New Zealand's premier mountain bike events,
attracting over 700 entries in 1993 when the sample was compiled
(reached 1000 in 1994). The other was the `Orongorongo Classic'
which includes many of the same riders. In addition, a list of
bike shop customers was used to provide a contrast between the
`race' sample and more general riders.
When combined, the total initial sample
comprised 786 riders. These were sent postal questionnaires to
complete and return. Envelopes with postage and return-address
were provided, and a letter endorsing the study from a representative
of the New Zealand Mountain Bike Association was included. In
addition, reminder notices were sent to encourage response. The
questionnaire, the covering letter, and the reminder notice are
included in Appendix 1.
2.2 Response Rate
As shown in Table 2.1, response to the
survey was high, particularly amongst the more committed riders
(as defined by their race class). A much lower response was received
from the sample of bike shop customers (referred to as `shop'
sample). This provided justification for the decision to concentrate
sampling effort upon the more specific `active' riders represented
by the `race-entry' sample. In the following tables, unless otherwise
indicated, the sample size being referred to by the percentage
figures is 504 responses.
Table 2.1: Response rate to the postal
(based on race entry)
|Novice Race Riders|
|TOTAL RACE SAMPLE|
|Bike Shop Customers|
2.3 Analysis Notes
Most of the analysis presented in this
report deals with the total response of the sample, and additional
comparison of these responses based upon rider experience. The
experience level groups were identified using the rider's own
definition of how experienced they were at mountain biking. While
this was a subjective self-assessment, comparison of the `rated
experience' with other experience indicators such as `years of
riding', `riding trip frequency' and `number of races' indicated
rider self-assessments were representative of the other experience
criteria. In addition, riders who indicated they were more experienced
had visited a greater variety of Wellington riding sites.
And while the sample was drawn from
riders who had entered a race, it was not considered that they
would therefore represent a group dedicated to racing. The race
events providing the sample included a range of race classes (refer
Table 2.1), which represented a cross-section of rider experience
and orientation towards racing.