Cycling UK has today released its Rides of Way: Cycling UK Off-Road Report for 2017.
The report’s findings are based on a survey conducted by the cycling charity with off-road advocacy group OpenMTB, with ran for eight weeks from August to October 2016.
A first of its kind in the UK, Rides of Way provides unique insight into the current off-road cycling scene based on the 11,482 responses the initial survey received. Cycling UK believes the report will be of particular use to decision makers at a local and national level, major land owners, the cycling trade and campaigners who are looking for up-to-date information on the cyclists that take to the UK’s trails and tracks every day.
The report covers motivations for riding off-road, the impact it has on physical and mental health, riding habits, tourism benefits, the impact of technology and what the community believes is the best way of maximising the benefits of off-road cycling. In addition, Rides of Way looks specifically at the differences in the thoughts, attitudes and experiences of women who ride regularly.
Among the findings of the report are the following:
- Health and fitness are top motivators for riding off-road for both men (31%) and women (26.3%)
- 91% rate off-road cycling as fairly or very important for their mental health, and 90% for their physical health
- Two-thirds cycle straight from their front door to ride on Rights of Way
- One-third of cyclists ride regularly on trails whose status they do not know, with a further 74% considering the current Rights of Way unsuitable
Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “Over 30 per cent of the 3.5 million bikes sold every year in Britain are designed for off-road use. That’s a lot of people who are looking to buy a bike purely for leisure; whether that’s riding with their families or heading to the trail centres, but there have been very few organisations doing anything to represent their interests.
“It’s time someone stood up and championed this silent majority. Cycling UK’s Rides of Way report shows most people are clearly frustrated by a system which could be much more accessible. There is so much more we can do to make off-road riding easier without creating conflict, and that will be Cycling UK’s goal as it launches its off-road campaign in the spring.”
Cycling UK president Jon Snow added: “Cycling UK has been at the vanguard of opening up thousands of miles of off-road access for cyclists; from winning the rights to use royal parks in 1885, to gaining the right to cycle on bridleways and long-distance cross-country routes in 1968 and successfully campaigning for the Right to Roam in Scotland in 2003.
“Scotland has shown how it can be done with respect for all users and the environment, and for greater access to our green and pleasant land. It’s about time people in England and Wales enjoyed the benefits too.”
As one of its first actions with its new campaign, Cycling UK will look to draw up codes of conduct with other user groups, such as the British Horse Society and will promote responsible off-road cycling behaviour.