BetterRide Probes Minds of Riders Who Want to Improve
May 24, 2012
Sent to Bicycle Paper from BetterRide
To learn about and better serve mountain bikers, BetterRide created an online survey. The data wasn't collected or analyzed with scientific rigor, but we thought we'd share some of what we found in the responses.
Some notes about the survey: We asked lots of open ended questions and let people type any response (rather than provide choices). Ex: “Why are you interested in becoming a better mountain bike rider?” We then grouped the responses that fit into categories like racing, safety, fun, etc.
2,112 individual surveys were administered to mountain bikers who care enough about improving to seek skills content online (and took the time to take a survey about it – thank you to all who did!).
About 90% of respondents reside in the US, but we heard from mountain bikers in 23 countries with 6 continents represented.
Where is your ideal US destination to MTB?
Colorado was the overwhelming winner with about 25% of the vote. Utah was next with 20% followed by California with 11% and Arizona and Washington rounding out the top 5. 21 different states got at least one vote.
How long have you been mountain biking?
As skills coaches, we were happy to see that our respondents ranged from total newbies to grizzled veterans of the sport and everyone in between. 26% have been mountain biking for less than one year! The average response was 7.5 years. According to our survey, 1985 was a popular year to start mountain biking, but not as popular as 2012! One respondent claims to have been mountain biking for 40 years.
How many days per week do you ride? percent each. 1 and 4 got about 15% each. 85% of mountain bike racers chose either 3, 4, or 5 days per week of mountain biking. There are actually a few people (1.5%) who profess to mountain bike every day of the week!
What other sports do you do?
Road cycling was the most common response category, followed by ski/snowboard, running, ball sports, Xterra, and yoga.
Why are you interested in becoming a better rider?
Again, we surveyed riders who sought us out for skills information and riding tips. So we asked why. Over 50% of the responses fell into the category: Fun/Love/Flow/Freedom. This category included every response centered on love of the sport, fun had riding, etc. The second largest contingent (21%) were riders literally interested in expanding the amount of physical terrain they can ride a bike on. Including specifically (“There's a gnarly root I haven't been able to clean”) and generally (“to ride more technical trails”). There was a tie for third (at 10% each) between those who cited competitive reasons (racing goals, etc) and those concerned primarily with safety and crash prevention. Two of our favorite responses included: “I am training for the end of the world” and “So everyone will think I am rad.” We certainly wish the respondents success in both endeavors.
What is your biggest challenge as a mountain biker?
The most common answers cited fear, hesitation or mental reluctance in some form. Some riders chose to cite a specific maneuver they struggle with. Common answers included: steep drops, cornering, climbing, wheelies, manuals, switchbacks. The next most common response was to name a specific friend the rider wants to outride; slightly ahead of riders who named a specific local trail they want to conquer. One rider noted that their biggest challenge in mountain biking is “picking up chicks”. Our advice: work on your skills. Women love skilled riders!
What are your strengths as a mountain biker?
Interestingly, 40% of respondents named a mental aspect of the sport as their biggest strength. “Attitute/open to learning” came in first with 25%, followed by persistence/determination/toughness with 15%. 12% of responses cited endurance/fitness as a strength. Uphill riding beat Downhill riding by over 2 to 1 when it came to being listed as a strength (13% to 6%).
What got you into mountain biking?
More people than not cited another person that got them into it: friends /family (53%), sigificant other (18% - including this gem: “a boyfriend in my 20's, lost my passion for him, but not for mtn biking!”) Travel – vacations and moving permanently got 24%. One individual simply answered: “became boatless.”
What aspect of mountain biking is the most interesting for you?
A majority of responses revolved around the sense of accomplishment. Two of our favorites: “Little puzzles right in front of me - either I solve them or I fall off.” “Learning to ride trails I never imagined I would be able to.”
We would love to hear mountain bikers' feedback on our survey. We plan to continue to survey riders who want to improve. Email us if you have a question you would like included in the survey, have questions about our methodology, or comments in general: email@example.com.
BetterRide provides structured skills coaching designed to get you riding your best. We offer a free online skills course and monthly tips as well as two and three day camps across the US and abroad. BetterRide was founded by pro racer and USA Cycling Expert Coach Gene Hamilton who has over 20 years of professional coaching experience including 13 years coaching mountain biking skills.
BetterRide's coaching highlights include many top pro racers taking our camps (Chris Van Dine, Mitch Ropelato, Sue Haywood, Ross Schnell, Sarah Kaufman . . .) and over 2,000 riders who just want to get better. All camps are instructed by coaches trained and certified by Gene to communicate his core skills curriculum effectively. Gene and his certified coaches are passionate about coaching, riding and helping others reach their goals. For complete camp schedules and rider reviews and free online skills course visit www.betterride.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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