Off-Road Mountain Biking: A profile of participants, setting and preferences, by Gordan Cessford, 1995
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Summary Table: Mountain Bike Rider Preferences for Recreation Settings and Experiences

Setting/Experience Attributes

More Experienced Off-Road

Expert Off-Road

Preferred features of mountain bike riding.

(as rated by riders)

General preference for appreciating views/scenery/nature; exploring new areas; and riding/socialising with friends.
The attribute of exercise/fitness is particularly important for these riders. Attributes of speed/excitement/risk; physical challenge; skill/technical challenge; and developing and improving skills become more important for these riders. Increased preference amongst expert riders for speed/excitement/risk; skill/technical challenge, and racing/training (latter reflects race-entry sample selection).
Statements of most preferred riding features.

(from open-ended question)

General preference for undulating routes; forest settings; smooth/fast/open tracks; good scenery/viewpoints; and rides of 2-3 hours.
Prefer gradual/easy uphills; tracks being smooth/easy/open; tracks being not difficult/few obstructions; and rides 1-2 hours duration. Preference for technical difficulty/challenge; downhills being fast/smooth/open and fast/technical/tight; harder uphills; and tight/narrow/winding single-track. Increased preference for technical difficulty/challenge; downhills being fast/technical/tight; and tight/narrow/winding single-track.
Landscape Preferences
Greatest preference for native forest/bush settings (least for farmland). Beginners had least preference for forestry (pine) areas.
Track-Type Preferences Greater preference for sealed roads, and more tolerant of gravel roads. Much lower preferences for single-track. Emphasis shifts to less-developed routes, and single-track in particular. Distinguished by much stronger preference for single-track.
Track Condition and Difficulty Preferences Greater preference for tracks which are smooth/benched/open/clear. Much lower preference for obstructions/difficulties on tracks, or for pushing/carrying bikes. Preference for rougher tracks/more obstacles; and rough/uneven/tight/narrow tracks. More tolerance for pushing/carrying bikes. Similar preferences for rougher tracks, but less interest in wet conditions and mud. Even more tolerance for pushing/carrying bikes.
Downhill Attribute Preferences Strong preference for slow/gentle/easy downhills. Least preference for speed/excitement/risk. Preference for fast/rough/technical downhills. Increased preference for speed/excitement/risk. Increased preference for downhills which are fast/rough/tight and slow/steep/more technical, and for speed/excitement/risk.
Uphill Attribute Preferences Strong preference for gradual/easy/relaxed uphills. Increased preference for uphills with short/hard/steep sections. Little specific preference for easy uphills. Increased preference for more difficult uphills with short/hard/steep sections, and climbs which are long/hard/steep.
Social Encounter Attribute Preferences
Riders strongly preferred to avoid motorised vehicles, and walkers (to a lesser extent). Most are tolerant of meeting other riders.

Abstract | Summary Table | Executive Summary
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