THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 61 - STATE OF THE SPORT SURVEY May 6th, 2021
Nearly 200 professional riders polled.
While most riders won't find themselves between the tape come Sunday morning, there's no doubt that racing of all kinds has had a massive impact on our little sport. If you set obscenely early alarms to catch live feeds from Europe, or follow all the results and Photo Epics here on Pinkbike, or maybe don't give a toss about racing but ride a bike that was made better by it, there's no doubt that competition has improved mountain biking while also making it more interesting. But what's often missing from the conversation is the athletes' point of view.
With our State of the Sport Survey, James Smurthwaite and Henry Quinney reached out to nearly 200 top professional riders. The goal was to piece together the largest public snapshot ever taken of professional mountain biking in the history of the sport. The survey went out to any rider that's placed in the top-40 of their discipline over the previous two seasons, and it includes everyone from stalwarts to juniors on the come-up. All replies were submitted anonymously, hopefully allowing for open and honest answers. Of the 197 riders who responded to the survey, 61% were male and 39% were female. The majority of riders were from Europe (62.4%) but there were also 45 North American riders, 23 from Oceania, 3 from Asia, 2 from South America, and 1 from Africa. Most respondents either rode downhill or enduro as their primary cycling discipline, but there were 39 cross country racers and 21 slopestyle riders as well.
What'd we ask them? Topics included media and filming, home country support, physical and mental health support, athlete pay, opportunities and equality, racing regulations, and a women's specific section.
''We’ve drawn this up primarily because we love competition and we believe that having more information can only make the sport better for racers and the fans who enjoy it too,'' Smurthwaite explained in the intro article. ''Without a broad, elevated view on the sport, we're unlikely to truly understand the issues that may be at play. Surveys such as this aren’t uncommon in other sports, and we hope that this one adds to the conversations to make the sport more transparent, equitable, and enjoyable for everyone.''
Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.