How 'accessible' is mountain biking compared to other sports?

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  • How 'accessible' is mountain biking compared to other sports?
  • Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    cycling (as a sport) is elitist compared to a football and 2 jumpers

    its still pretty niche really, which may be a good thing?
    and its definately a middle class white mans game
    also where are all the asian footballers ?

    Premier Icon Nobby
    Subscriber

    where are all the asian footballers ?

    Playing cricket?

    The same can be said of any sport that is relient on equipment for competitive advantage.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Cycling used to be a very working class activity, but it’s recently become “the new golf” so it doesn’t seem that way.

    The shoes I wear for cycling were £20 in Sports Direct and I’m still wearing a jersey that I bought for a tenner from On-One years ago. Cycling’s only expensive if you want it to be.

    thomthumb
    Member

    there seems to be little or no participation from places like Africa

    who won the tdf this year?

    The same can be said of any sport that is relient on equipment for competitive advantage.

    Very true.

    The growth of the MAMIL-influence in road cycling, and the stormtrooper long travel gnarpoonists in MTB haven’t helped either, as it’s seen more and more that to just go out and ride a bike, you have to have all the right gear. Just pootling along the lanes of a weekend? Well, you’ll be needing some crabon fribe and Assos before you’re even out of the shed.

    DickBarton
    Member

    depends but on the whole, not very accessible. it is a rip-off but us mug seem happy to pay the prices which doesn’t help.

    if you fall for the marketing then it is very inaccessible as you will need multiple bikes, tyres, kit; a car to get you to these man-made locations and a small budget for all the ‘accessories’/labels.

    if you don’t fall for the hype you need a bike that you can ride and puts a smile on your face…no need for much else. the kit helps butIisn’t necessary. That makes it a bit more accessible, riding anywhere and everywhere you can also helps…but overall, it isn’t entirely accessible.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    i was in Evans yesterday, saw a stonking GT for £350.

    if it only lasts 2 years it’s still much cheaper, and more fun than gym membership.

    any ‘accessibility issues’ are an illusion.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    Remember in the Good Old Days when £400 was seen as the minimum spend for an entry-level MTB that wouldn’t fall apart the first time you took it off-road? A recent ST magazine had £1500 bikes as entry-level, which is 50% more than I’ve ever paid for a bike.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Kids ride bikes, most kids have bikes. If you look at cycling as a whole you will include things like BMX which is still popular with more kids.

    But to let kids mountain bike you either have to take them – only works if you do it, pay somebody to do it or let them go out alone – with all the monsters etc. in the world which parent would do that.

    Like many things unless it’s something a kid can do at school or have some organised structure into it then it’s going to be hard.

    If it was part of school sports etc. then maybe it would be picked up more than football.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    It’s possibe to go mtbing for less than £100 (thanks to BSOs from the supermarkets, halfords, and even Ebay), so while that may be prohibitive for some, I’d wager not the majority. Perhaps it’s the view of the kids parents (the ones actually buying) the cycling isn’t a recreational thing, purely transport? In which case, they should be buying a car which, equally, can be had for the same £100?

    This may all be rubbish, just thinking out loud…

    I don’t even think of mountain biking as a sport (yes I know it is technically), more of a hobby for well off people, some of whom like to compete.

    It’s relatively expensive, and you can’t do it unless you live with access to mountains, or have the ability to travel.

    All the good downhillers/freeriders are/were kids wih rich parents who had the ability to suport them (probably) and access to places to ride. That video of that 10 year old smashing jumps and drops that was on here last week supports this. There’d be thousands of kids out there with that ability, only they don’t have the means to do it.

    I think road cycling and bmx are far more accessible, and hence you seem to see people from all sorts of backgrounds riding these disciplines.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    Well, you’ll be needing some crabon fribe and Assos before you’re even out of the shed.

    do people really believe that? Top Gear is a pretty popular car program (and probably the only one many people watch) but I’m sure the population as a whole know you don’t have to spend £100K+ on a car to nip down the shops.

    More expensive than a football yeah but to play football properly you need 21 mates (or 10 if your playing the cut price version) and some land. cycling you can do on your own or small groups, so a bit more accessible in that way.

    cycling doesn’t seem particularly popular amongst ethnic minority groups here in the UK

    Aye anecdotally that seems the case, wonder why.

    johnellison
    Member

    It’s relative. I love football almost as much as I love mountain biking/cycling. However I spend way more on cyclign than on football.

    A good mate of mine eats, sleeps and breathes football – he castigates me for spending thousands on a single bike, yet he will happily spend £200 on a pair of football boots. Mine cost £12 from Sports Direct and have lasted two seasons.

    It’s like anything else – if you want the best (and lets face it, who DOESN’T aspire to wanting the best of everything?) then you will quite happily find the means to fund it if you can. And if you can’t you set your sights on it and work like blazes to get it.

    As far as seeing Asian/black kids on bikes – there is a school of thought that some ethnic groups see the bicycle not as a leisure tool but as a poor man’s means of transport. As most of these groups have immigrated to the UK to try to improve their lot, they see the bicycle as a symbol of poverty, and aspire to greater things. This is why most of them are in cars almost from the point that they can reach the pedals.

    cardiac
    Member

    cycling doesn’t seem particularly popular amongst ethnic minority groups here in the UK, you see white kids from poorer backgrounds out on bikes, but not so many Asian or black kids

    well that’s a bit racist

    cybicle
    Member

    any ‘accessibility issues’ are an illusion.

    But they’re not. Compare cycle sport to athletics. Whilst cycling is undoubtedly more expensive, pursuing athletics as a sport is still relatively quite costly, yet there is far more representative participation in the clubs.

    Cycling used to be a very working class activity, but it’s recently become “the new golf” so it doesn’t seem that way.

    The growth of the MAMIL-influence in road cycling, and the stormtrooper long travel gnarpoonists in MTB haven’t helped either, as it’s seen more and more that to just go out and ride a bike, you have to have all the right gear. Just pootling along the lanes of a weekend? Well, you’ll be needing some crabon fribe and Assos before you’re even out of the shed.

    Yes, marketing does seem to have a large part to play in this. And the marketing doesn’t seem to be particularly aimed at women and young people either. A visit to a bike shop is interesting; the vast majority of customers are white men, and even in ethnically diverse areas, it’s vary rare to see non-white staff working there. And often, the ‘womens’ section is almost an afterthought, a grudging admission that they’d better provide ‘something for the ladies’. Yet go to a sports shop selling athletics gear, and the clothing sections are far more equally provided.

    who won the tdf this year?

    A white man from a wealthy family who’s been afforded the best in equipment and training facilities.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    there is a school of thought that some ethnic groups see the bicycle not as a leisure tool but as a poor man’s means of transport.

    don’t think that’s an ethnic thing, pretty sure that’s across the board. Plus we’re talking MTBing here which is riding round in circles for a hobby not actually using a bike for transport, bit different isnt it?

    And often, the ‘womens’ section is almost an afterthought

    isnt that chicken and egg? there’s very few women riding so shops aren’t going to stock much womens gear, shirley? I’m not sure “stock it and they will come” is going to be part of any LBS’s business plan soon. Not that I know much about this sort of thing.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    More expensive than a football yeah but to play football properly you need 21 mates (or 10 if your playing the cut price version) and some land. cycling you can do on your own or small groups, so a bit more accessible in that way.

    Football as a concept can be played by 1 person and a ball with variations up to 22 people and beyond. It’s like cycling you can do it a lot of ways.

    ti_pin_man
    Member

    to achieve this, you need cultural acceptance of the ‘sport’ and then the infrastructure to promote it.

    here:
    to make cycling more accessible here – make fuel prices unaffordable.
    free bikes for school kids – replace football/rugby with cycling.
    safe bike routes for all, the bike is king, not the car.

    third world nations use bikes as transport already but they dont have the sport infrastructure developed nations do. Not sure i have any more brain farts to think of ideas of how you build that side of it up.
    /brain fart]

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    Football as a concept can be played by 1 person and a ball

    true but I can ride my mtb round my front street and i’d be hard pushed to call it mountain biking. Both examples I’d say are more of a skills development session so a part of the sport sure but not the sport on it’s own.

    <edited to try to make more sense>

    wilko1999
    Member

    As others have said largely depends where you live. When I was 17 (22 years ago…) I saved for a bit and bought a Marin Muirwoods for £200, then rode up the woods in clothing I already had and no helmet. Pretty accessible really. And I was having just as much fun then as I do now riding a Blur LTc on pretty much the same terrain 😉

    yunki
    Member

    i was in Evans yesterday, saw a stonking GT for £350.

    if it only lasts 2 years it’s still much cheaper, and more fun than gym membership.

    any ‘accessibility issues’ are an illusion.

    LOL… it’s this
    up until the last five years or so, I was ‘poor’

    £350 to spend on a toy..!!? Never in a month of sundays, not for all the tea in china
    Having £20 to spare on new clothes was a very rare occurrence, perhaps a birthday or Christmas treat
    Never mind having something that valuable in the house.. I would have been a shining beacon for thieves from miles around

    Perhaps simply having to mix with the sort of people that find £350 a trifle is a part of it.. Gym memberships were for posh people

    That said, me and my BIL have ridden most of the Dartmoor tech on upcycled £50 BSOs over the years 😀

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    But to let kids mountain bike you either have to take them – only works if you do it, pay somebody to do it or let them go out alone – with all the monsters etc. in the world which parent would do that.

    I see unaccompanied kids on MTBs all the time.

    A lot of people seem to think that MTBing is only something that can be done in trail centres. You can ride an MTB anywhere.

    PJM1974
    Member

    I don’t even think of mountain biking as a sport, more of a hobby

    This.

    The realistic startup cost is pretty high, plus maintenance costs are frightening for the uninitiated. I remember planning on spending £450 for a Spesh Hardrock, helmet and gloves back in 2003, but by the time I left the shop I was £750 poorer, with a V-brake equipped Rockhopper, £70 worth of SPD shoes, gloves and a 1.5 litre Camelbak!

    Within two months, I’d spent an additional £280 on hydraulic Hopes, a new headset and a replacement chainring and I had a bike I was pretty happy with…until I took it to Wales the following summer and upon my return I splurged £1600 on a Spesh Enduro.

    It’s not a beginner friendly sport, unless you have significant finances available for the initial outlay, then some tosser in a marketing department somewhere decides that your year old bike is obsolete and that you ought to splash out another £2.5k for something with the current headtube diameter/ISCG/wheel size etc.

    joeelston
    Member

    Football is the most accessible sport for youngsters but probably the most competitive, good or bad, I’m not sure. I played in my youth up to county level and the abuse I and my teammates received from parents ( including my own!) is something I’m sure I wouldn’t want for my own kids.

    A few weeks back I was at Glentress and they had some youth cross county competition and the parents seemed to be cheering even if they weren’t doing that well. Big smiles on faces all round. We never got cheered on in football when we were losing!

    I would want my kids to take up cycling.

    As for the expense, well if you ignore all the marketing hype then it’s accessible for a few hundred pounds.

    Premier Icon miketually
    Subscriber

    The realistic startup cost is pretty high

    I started on a GT Outpost that I bought second hand for £140, wearing tracksuit bottoms, hiking boots, and a flannel shirt.

    >i was in Evans yesterday, saw a stonking GT for £350.

    if it only lasts 2 years it’s still much cheaper, and more fun than gym membership.

    any ‘accessibility issues’ are an illusion.<

    Depends on what social cross section you’re talking about surely?

    I think your observations merely reinforce the OP’s points. It’s only accessible if you have £350 going buckshee to spend on a bike. And let’s face it, this forum is not exactly populated by lower income groups. A quick glance down most of the posts confirms this.

    Hob Nob
    Member

    It’s not a beginner friendly sport, unless you have significant finances available for the initial outlay, then some tosser in a marketing department somewhere decides that your year old bike is obsolete and that you ought to splash out another £2.5k for something with the current headtube diameter/ISCG/wheel size etc.

    Such an out dated and over-rated point, which is largely boll*cks.

    You don’t ‘need’ any of that to go mountain biking! You can buy a second hand bike off Ebay, a helmet for a tenner from Tesco & go & blat around the local woods.

    It’s the same for ANY business wanting to make money and be successful.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    Within two months, I’d spent an additional £280 on hydraulic Hopes

    you didn’t have to tho, there’s pics around of people riding snowdon on rigid canti braked back in the day. upgrade if you want but you don’t need to. One of my pet hates is the lack of cheap rigid v-braked bikes, instead of doing basic stuff well bike manufacturers seem to be doing more advanced stuff badly (suspension and disc brakes that don’t work great, weigh a tonne and need constant fettling) There’s some around but not many

    Good point by joeelston, I know my FiL was banned from sidelines when his son was playing, I hear stories from colleagues about aggro at their kids matches, sounds pretty grim.

    Premier Icon pypdjl
    Subscriber

    It’s only accessible if you have £350 going buckshee to spend on a bike

    Well yes, a bike is pretty much an essential component of mountain biking. I’m not sure how you could make it accessible to people that don’t possess bikes.

    joeelston
    Member

    Donk it was due to the fact, that several sets of parents believed their kids would turn professional. Invested so much time and money into that ‘idea’

    Football was not that cheap! I played for four teams. So four games a week adds up to a lot of fuel. Plus training, soccer schools, kit etc.

    I guess it depends how far you want to take it. Same with biking.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    theblackmount – Member

    Depends on what social cross section you’re talking about surely?

    I think your observations merely reinforce the OP’s points. It’s only accessible if you have £350 going buckshee to spend on a bike. And let’s face it, this forum is not exactly populated by lower income groups. A quick glance down most of the posts confirms this.

    my point is this: if you can afford Gym membership – you can afford ‘cycling’

    if you can afford a sky subscription so you can watch teh footy – you can afford a bike.

    if you can afford to go out drinking 2 nights a week every now and then – etc.

    etc.

    lots of people have disposable income which they choose to spend on hobbies – cycling is not particularly expensive by comparison, i’d even say it’s cheaper than lots of ‘normal’ hobbies.

    have you got an iphone so you keep up with twitter + facebook? – you can afford a bike.

    there’s an office 5-a-side thing every friday, it’s £5 to play, that’s over £200/year, not including the beer and curry afterwards. It all sounds like great fun (really!), but it’s not ‘cheap’.

    Is ‘accessibility’ simply a money thing? – of course it isn’t. Lots of hobbies need facilities, friends, specialist equipment, suitable weather. Try rock-climbing, on your own, in a field, in the rain, if you don’t believe me.

    Cycling’s great, even on your own, in the rain, on a machine you can also use to get to work.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    pypdjl – Member

    I’m not sure how you could make it accessible to people that don’t possess bikes.

    £22 per day for bike hire at glentress, that’s pretty accessible- less per hour than hiring a tennis court. You don’t need a bike of your own to enjoy mountain biking (in fact at the bottom end, it’s not neccesarily economic, you need to do about 20 rides without a single further expense- mechanical or consumables- to make it work better than hiring and most people won’t do that in a year. Most bikes end up costing more than £20 a ride I reckon.

    joeelston
    Member

    A Rockhopper on the cycle to work scheme is about the same as a sky subscription. A decent second hand hardtail the same as decent tv. I know which I would rather have.

    cybicle
    Member

    A question that raised itself last night whilst at a friend’s house watching the England game. He said that the great thing about football was that it’s relatively cheap (equipment, access to facilities, training etc), and that he’s glad his son has chosen football over a number of more expensive sports such as tennis, go karting and cycle sport. And the accessibility of football to even the very poorest globally makes it a far more democratic and equal sport; you achieve success through talent and endeavour, rather than through wealth.

    We then got onto cycling/mountain biking as a hobby/sport/pastime, and he commented on how much I spend on bikes etc. Certainly, the cost of a pair of decent cycling shoes compared to a pair of equivalent quality fotobal boots. We agreed that mountain biking in particular seems to be a relatively very expensive activity, which naturally limits participation to those who have the economic means to become involved. Mountain biking world champions are all from wealthy ‘western’ countries, and there seems to be little or no participation from places like Africa from where you’d expect high performing athletes to emerge, especially in endurance events.

    Aside from the economic issue, cycling doesn’t seem particularly popular amongst ethnic minority groups here in the UK; you see white kids from poorer backgrounds out on bikes, but not so many Asian or black kids. The bicycle as a means of recreation doesn’t seem anywhere near as popular amongst those communities (yet they appear to embrace cars as much as any other group). Do black and Asian kids not ask for bikes for christmas as much as white kids?

    A few friends are in cycling clubs (mainly road racing), and they all say that the clubs are almost exclusively white, and above a certain income bracket. Mountain biking seems to be even more polarised in this sense, with the added issue of very low female participation.

    Apparently there are one million bicycles in Beijing (according to popular culture). So it’s not like other parts of the world shun the bicycle. And a really good bike costs a fraction of what a car does to buy and run. So why is it such a ‘rich white mans’ sport? How can it be made more accessible?

    Premier Icon pypdjl
    Subscriber

    £22 per day for bike hire at glentress, that’s pretty accessible- less per hour than hiring a tennis court.

    Ok good point, I think you’d be better off getting a cheap/2nd hand bike (especially as you could ride from home), but yes, either way not that expensive.

    It’s worrying that £350 can be considered a small amount of money on here! And how many poorer working class families have gym membership?!!

    I’m hopeful that the increase in skate parks and BMX tracks we’re seeing locally will give an affordable accessible option for less wealthy kids – £50 or less for a secondhand BMX which will cost almost nothing to maintain. And many great DHers started on BMX.

    And how many poorer working class families have gym membership?!!

    Swap “gym membership” for Sky subscription, massive tellybox and beer ‘n tabs and it’s a different story, though! 😉

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    If MTB is expensive, I wouldn’t have got started on a basic Raleigh, a lid and T+tracky bottoms. £200-worth tops, bike was only 150. Didn’t have any less fun than 20+ years later on a full-tech ~£3000 bike – if anything it’d lost something in all the gadget-hype. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the consumerist side of MTB from the pure experience side of it, but it’s worth trying.
    (sounds a bit jumpers for goalposts but bikes plus the freedom to ride 20+ miles and away from our parents got a small group of us hooked and was the best thing they ever let us do)

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    chiefgrooveguru – Member

    It’s worrying that £350 can be considered a small amount of money on here! And how many poorer working class families have gym membership?!!

    oh the poor working class, gawd bless ’em. (i’m skint, and i work, can i join?)

    if you’ve got an Xbox, you can afford a bike.

    my point is: there are lots of luxuries that people (even poor ones) spend their money on, more money than they’d need to ‘access’ cycling.

    i don’t have Gym membership, an iphone, an Xbox, an ipad, my own car, a big house, a big telly, a tattoo*, etc.

    (*i’d like one, but i can’t afford it, or rather, i choose to spend my money on other stuff, like really nice cheese)

    £22 per day for bike hire at glentress, that’s pretty accessible- less per hour than hiring a tennis court.

    Thing is though, most would have to spend some time getting there, and then faffing about getting used to the bike etc.

    I’d say mountain biking in this respect is more like one of those “organized fun” activities like Go Ape/Paintballing/Quad biking etc.

    Something that’s done once per year, if that.

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