by Antony de Heveningham
September 5, 2016
Cycling UK (who, showing our age here, we still can’t helping thinking of as the CTC) have teamed up with nascent advocacy organisation OpenMTB to launch the biggest survey to date of the UK’s mountain bikers.
The survey can be found at www.cyclinguk.org/offroad-survey. It aims to build up a complete picture of mountain bikers’ riding habits, and particularly look at the case for widening access for bikes in England and Wales. It covers a broad range of topics, including riding destinations, user conflict, and mountain biking’s financial contribution to local communities.
OpenMTB member (and forum regular) Stace King led the development of the survey. He says “Lots of people already feel that current access legislation doesn’t reflect what’s happening on the ground – so we want to get some solid data on the subject.”
“Don’t just fill it in yourself. Ask your riding buddies, your partner if they ride, your kids, your parents – anyone you know who rides off-road. We don’t want anyone to be left out. We want as broad a response to this as possible – not just the hardcore MTBers”.
It also aims to establish what proportion of riders use Strava and similar platforms. “We’re interested in gathering data on the extent of GPS ride logging. This may enable us to extrapolate from websites like Strava to estimate overall traffic on particular trails and routes” says Stace. “This might sound geeky, but knowing roughly how many people are currently riding trails could prove useful in demonstrating the demand for better access on a local level.”
“We’ve seen in Scotland how off-road cycling can thrive in harmony with all other outdoor users, and Cycling UK now wants to understand how we can bring the same benefits to England and Wales” – Roger Geffen, Cycling UK
The survey follows on from Cycling UK and OpenMTB’s Trails for Wales campaign, where a consultation on Scottish-style access reform generated one of the largest ever responses to the Welsh Assembly.
Cycling UK’s Policy Director Roger Geffen says “Trails for Wales showed us the huge interest in promoting outdoor access through cycling, but it also highlighted a lot of the confusion about what is allowed, as well as concerns about managing potential conflict with other users.
“We’ve seen in Scotland how off-road cycling can thrive in harmony with all other outdoor users, and Cycling UK now wants to understand how we can bring the same benefits to England and Wales.”
The survey is quite detailed so we’d recommend putting the kettle on and setting aside 15 minutes to complete it. All completed responses will go into a draw to win an iPad Mini. And here’s the link if you missed it above: www.cyclinguk.org/offroad-survey