Please take a university-sponsored mtn biking survey- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Please take a university-sponsored mtn biking survey

    Researchers at the U. of Colorado, the U. of New Mexico and the U. of Padua
    (Italy) want to know about you, your mountain biking, and what you like and
    dislike about different trails.

    So, if you mountain bike a little or a lot, please fill out our survey at

    http://bike.colorado.edu/

    Your responses will give us a better understanding of how mountain bikers
    choose where and with whom to ride.

    Please pass this message on to all your friends who own mountain bikes so we
    can get input from them as well.

    Thank you so much.

    Edward Morey and Dave Kritzberg - U. of Colorado
    Jennifer Thacher and Jeff Bjarke - U. of New Mexico
    Mara Thiene - U. of Padua, Italy


    Dave Kritzberg
    Graduate Student
    Department of Economics
    Campus Box 256
    University of Colorado
    Boulder, Colorado 80309-0256
    [email protected]
    http://dijon.colorado.edu/

  2. #2
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    what exactly is the point of the survey - how will the information be used? Is this homework? Is it for demographics or industry use? What are you controls?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    what exactly is the point of the survey - how will the information be used? Is this homework? Is it for demographics or industry use? What are you controls?
    We're testing a model of mountain biker preferences for trails, and we want to incorporate the social dynamic of riding into the picture. We're coming to this from an academic perspective tinged with an advocacy motivation. The focus is sharpening our tools to help with policy making. Industry might be interested in this, but there is no industry/commercial angle here. We're asking for help from advocacy groups like IMBA, and from academic institutions. The information will be in the public domain. 3 public universities (2 in the US, 1 in Italy) are involved. Our specific goal is to produce estimates of the monetary value of trail characteristics, and to describe how different kinds of riders view trails differently. We also want to learn something about how people trade off riding with friends with other trail attributes. This will help economists (and potentially policy makers) how important singletrack is, for example.

  4. #4
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    comments on survey

    I started the survey during a break at work, then had something come up and had to quit before finishing. Here's what I noticed:

    Did I miss it, or does the survey not tell you how long it might take to complete or how many questions are on it?

    The captions on the photos are hard to read, and I really couldn't tell you what percentage slopes might be on various roads and trails I ride. The photos are nice, though.

    The graphs are awfully tiny.

    I was frankly uneasy about how many questions I was being asked about my willingness to pay a fee to ride, as if willingness to pay and justification for user fees or privatization of public lands was the point someone was driving towards with the survey.
    Last edited by HarryCallahan; 11-03-2005 at 05:51 PM. Reason: more comments

  5. #5
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    not that you can quantify fun, but the fun factor was certainly left out.

    Also, one question involved waiting 30 seconds for the last rider. I don't ride with people who practice that kind of minimal wait, waitandblow. Even if I'm the first one, that's unfair to the last one.

    and $20 user fees? wtf?

    f.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    I started the survey during a break at work, then had something come up and had to quit before finishing. Here's what I noticed:

    Did I miss it, or does the survey not tell you how long it might take to complete or how many questions are on it?

    There is a progress bar along the lower end of the page, but not everyone sees it.


    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    The captions on the photos are hard to read, and I really couldn't tell you what percentage slopes might be on various roads and trails I ride. The photos are nice, though.

    The graphs are awfully tiny.

    There is a tradeoff between including more information and fitting things nicely on the page. We formatted the survey 800x600 for older computers on dialup connection (esp. for Europe) but that costs us in the size of the trail profiles in the choice questions. We also realize not everyone thinks in terms of percentage grades on climbs, but it was relatively easy to add that information into the survey, so we put it there for people who wanted it.


    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    I was frankly uneasy about how many questions I was being asked about my willingness to pay a fee to ride, as if willingness to pay and justification for user fees or privatization of public lands was the point someone was driving towards with the survey.
    I'd like to reassure anyone that we are not driving towards putting user fees on trails, public or otherwise, or interested in privatizing public land. Far from it, actually. As environmental economists, our #1 job is to figure out how to accurately measure the value of environmental goods, in this case recreation in the form of biking on trails. We can't typically observe the value of a trail because there is no "marketplace" for access to public land. In the survey, we use access fees as a way to learn what trail access is worth to people in money terms. If we do a good job of this, then it shouldn't be necessary to introduce fees at all. Policy makers and resource managers would know how valuable mountain bike trails were to people because economists could advise them.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    not that you can quantify fun, but the fun factor was certainly left out.

    Hi formica, thanks for taking the survey. Can you explain this a little more?


    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    Also, one question involved waiting 30 seconds for the last rider. I don't ride with people who practice that kind of minimal wait, waitandblow. Even if I'm the first one, that's unfair to the last one.

    I'd like to hear you explain this more if you could. The way we were thinking, when you're riding with someone who's faster or slower than you, the faster rider would wait for the other to catch up at some natural stopping point. Then they would hang out just a short while, less than a minute, before taking off again together. If you were designing the survey, would you increase that wait? How long would you make it? This is subjective, and I realize every group of friends is different. Maybe the people I pre-tested the survey with were more impatient or competitive than most... I'm interested in hearing comments from people about this.


    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    and $20 user fees? wtf?

    f.

    We put very high values in there in order to get a better read on just how important the different attributes are to mountain bikers. Maybe $20 is pushing it for realism, I don't know. I am under the impression people pay quite a bit for trail access at some of the ski resorts in Colorado, even for cross-country trails. Actually they don't charge for the trails themselves -- they charge for the lift -- but it often amounts to the same thing. Anyway, bigger numbers give us more information statistically. I expect most people taking the survey would reject $20 and that is not a problem in terms of analyzing the data.

    But don't worry that the result will be we would turn around and tell policy makers to put $20 fees on trails -- that's not the idea driving this study.

  8. #8
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    Hi formica, thanks for taking the survey. Can you explain this a little more?
    I'd like to hear you explain this more if you could. The way we were thinking, when you're riding with someone who's faster or slower than you, the faster rider would wait for the other to catch up at some natural stopping point. Then they would hang out just a short while, less than a minute, before taking off again together. If you were designing the survey, would you increase that wait? How long would you make it? This is subjective, and I realize every group of friends is different. Maybe the people I pre-tested the survey with were more impatient or competitive than most... I'm interested in hearing comments from people about this.
    they are probably impatient, competive, or testosterone poisoned. Think of it this way - you've got a mixed ability group. The last rider shows up, the one who is the slowest, or least skilled, or out of shape or all three together. Slow person finally shows up, the rest of the group waits at most 30 seconds, and takes off again. Slowpoke just got there, needs to catch thier breath, take a leak or maybe they just want to enjoy the same view for a few minutes... but nope... the group just took off again. Rinse, repeat. Enough of this and slow rider/newbie gets discouraged/pissed off.. Doesn't want to ride with that group, they have less fun, feel inadequate etc. I take a lot of beginners out and I've never been super fast, so this is an awareness I have that some people just lack. My goal is to make sure people have a really fun time, don't get discouraged, and want to do more. 30 second wait times for the last rider don't always work for this.

    I don't know diddly about creating surveys, but a lot of how I cycle wasn't represented. Fun is something you can't quantify, but there is certainly a "how much fun is a trail" factor that is incredible important to a lot of bikers, more so than elevation gain, miles etc. A fun trail is kind that you finish up and every thinks is "almost" better than sex. There's also the social aspect, not just how many miles and how much elevation you gain.

    I also don't think you addressed the difficulty issue well. Sometimes hike a bike or something over one's ability makes a section more interesting or exciting, it's not always a bad thing.


    Quote Originally Posted by dkritz
    We put very high values in there in order to get a better read on just how important the different attributes are to mountain bikers. Maybe $20 is pushing it for realism, I don't know. I am under the impression people pay quite a bit for trail access at some of the ski resorts in Colorado, even for cross-country trails. Actually they don't charge for the trails themselves -- they charge for the lift -- but it often amounts to the same thing. Anyway, bigger numbers give us more information statistically. I expect most people taking the survey would reject $20 and that is not a problem in terms of analyzing the data.

    But don't worry that the result will be we would turn around and tell policy makers to put $20 fees on trails -- that's not the idea driving this study.
    perhaps instead of user fees you should base it on how much gas you are willing to put in the tank...

  9. #9

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    I thought it was a good survey. The suggestions above are good ones also. This is the first survey of this kind that I have seen so I have nothing to measure against. Good intent and I think the results will be interesting to see.

  10. #10
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    I agree 100% here. I have ridden with great groups of folks who ride as fast as the slowest rider, and I have also ridden with people who ride their own pace no matter what, slower riders be damned. Where I live now, the groups I have encountered on the trail have either told me not to ride with them because they don't want to have to wait for me, or designated 1 person to keep an eye on me while everyone else does whatever they want. I refuse to ride with people like that, and my riding time this year has suffered because the social aspect is huge for me, and riding alone is too much like work. And I'm not even a newbie! I'm just out of shape.

    I also agree with the poster who mentioned distance/drive time to the trailhead as criteria. Having been involved with advocacy, it was difficult to relay to the powers that be that 1 hour or longer one way to the trailhead for a short 6-10 mile trail was preferably avoided for most people. Some people are blessed with trails in their backyard, but some of us have no choice but to load everything into the car/truck and spend a significant amount of time in traffic to get to a trailhead. All things being equal, people will choose the closest trail almost every time (except to mix it up for variety). This is a big deal when you consider urban mtb access, or access in areas with very little public land.

    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    they are probably impatient, competive, or testosterone poisoned. Think of it this way - you've got a mixed ability group. The last rider shows up, the one who is the slowest, or least skilled, or out of shape or all three together. Slow person finally shows up, the rest of the group waits at most 30 seconds, and takes off again. Slowpoke just got there, needs to catch thier breath, take a leak or maybe they just want to enjoy the same view for a few minutes... but nope... the group just took off again. Rinse, repeat. Enough of this and slow rider/newbie gets discouraged/pissed off.. Doesn't want to ride with that group, they have less fun, feel inadequate etc. I take a lot of beginners out and I've never been super fast, so this is an awareness I have that some people just lack. My goal is to make sure people have a really fun time, don't get discouraged, and want to do more. 30 second wait times for the last rider don't always work for this.

  11. #11
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    Survey comments

    I didn't have time earlier to make additional comments. I thought the survey was well done.

    My closest trail, 10 min away, is about 25 miles of mostly wooded rolling singletrack on privately owned land. The owner charges $8 per day or one can buy an annual pass for $175. I'm cool with this because it is private land, and the owner uses the trail profits to pay land taxes. This allows him to keep the land out of developers hands. Others in my area feel $8 is too much, so they seldom ride there, but show up for club rides when the reduced rate is $5 for the day. We have other options within 10 min to 45 min away, so it isn't a big deal.

    I don't feel have the same positive feelings about public "Fee Areas." Most of the fee areas I see are around the improved parking areas and official campsites with running water. I avoid these areas everytime I can, park outside and ride through. I don't feel bad about this considering its my/our property anyway, I already pay enough taxes, and the sweat equity that I have invested in many of the local trail systems would never come close to being covered by fees.

    I'll pick single track over double track of similar topo everytime.

    I'll pick hills over flat everytime. In Virginia, everyone goes west for a good "big" rides. Allowing a 1.5 hour drive time: if you live in flat Tidewater region, you drive to the rolling hills of the piedmont, if you live in the piedmont, you drive to the mountains. If you live in the mountains, you stay in the mountains.

    Riding with a friend is important, I'll ride alone if other's schedules don't work out right.

    I ride with more caution when I'm alone. I don't try stuff that I may do if I know I have someone with me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica
    not that you can quantify fun, but the fun factor was certainly left out.

    Also, one question involved waiting 30 seconds for the last rider. I don't ride with people who practice that kind of minimal wait, waitandblow. Even if I'm the first one, that's unfair to the last one.

    and $20 user fees? wtf?

    f.
    During a trip through Minnesota I found some sweet singletrack that was actually maintained at Lutsen Mt. (ski area). The rest of the trails were grassed over snowmobile trails. Lutsen wanted like 15 or 20 bucks to ride there even w/o using the fatarse lifts. Fee based trails. F U. I'll begin poaching if it ever comes to that. What total BS.

  13. #13
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    Ya people complain about access fees but don't worry about spending upwards of $5000 on a bike or $35,000 on a vehicle to get them to the trail head or 20 bucks on beer and food after the ride.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by richwolf
    Ya people complain about access fees but don't worry about spending upwards of $5000 on a bike or $35,000 on a vehicle to get them to the trail head or 20 bucks on beer and food after the ride.
    Not me homeboy. Drive a 96, a rigid ss (600 dollars)....you got me on the beer though. Usually 6 bucks. So I have to give up my beer for a ride. K, will do. I'll cruise around to bars from now on. Next to bikes, beer is my passion.

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