What are the main motivators for off-road cyclists? Where do they ride? How much do they spend on cycling trips? What facilities do they like when they get there? Are they investing in technical innovations like GPS and e-mountain bikes? Do women off-roaders share the views of men off-roaders?
And, of particular interest to campaigners, what are the access challenges they face when out on the trails and what can we all do about them?
Find out more from Cycling UK’s new report, Rides of Way. Based on the results of a survey we conducted with advocacy group OpenMTB, it summarises the views of almost 11,500 off-road cyclists, most of whom are experienced, long-term riders. They say, for instance, that:
- health and/or fitness is their strongest motivation;
- off-road cycling is hugely important to their mental health and wellbeing too;
- they mostly choose byways and bridleways, and like Forestry Commission land;
- they rate ‘quality of trails’ above all else; BUT …
- … almost three-quarters said ‘no’ when asked if they thought the existing Public Rights of Way network in England and Wales is suitable for modern cycle usage. Most find it difficult to put together a ‘legal’ route often or sometimes, are seriously confused by the network’s incoherence, and hampered by archaic legislation.
It’s not surprising, then, that they think off-road advocacy groups should put ‘increased access’ at the top of their priorities.