Women of Mountain Biking survey results released!

Sep 10, 2010
by Mike Brcic  
Sacred Rides, one of North America's leading mountain bike adventure companies, has just completed an extensive survey of women mountain bikers. To gain a better understanding about women’s motivations for mountain biking and the barriers they face, the survey polled 710 women from around the world and offers some great insights for members of the industry to help them encourage more women to take up mountain biking - and who wouldn't want that?

Details and survey inside,‘Women of Mountain Biking’ Survey Results Announced
Women Weigh In On Why They Mountain Bike (Or Don’t)

TORONTO (September 1, 2010) – Since its birth on the flanks of Mt. Tam in California several decades ago, mountain biking has traditionally been a male-dominated sport. And until now, most people in the industry didn’t really understand why. That’s about to change.

To gain a better understanding about women’s motivations for mountain biking and how to encourage more women to ride, Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures, one of North America’s leading tour companies, recently completed a comprehensive online survey of women who mountain bike.

The survey was conducted in coordination with the International Mountain Biking Association (Canada) in July and August of this year. A majority of the 710 women who participated in the survey (73%) have been mountain biking for at least three years. Ranging in age from 19-60 and hailing from 13 countries, the respondents came from all walks of life but shared one common trait: a love for mountain biking.

“Understanding who rides a mountain bike is of major importance to both industry leaders and those who advocate for the sport,” commented Lora Woolner, Director of IMBA Canada. “Only 12% of IMBA’s current members are women, and we would love to see this number increase. As such we recognize and endorse all efforts that help get more women on mountain bikes.”

“In most places around the world where we ride, we’re used to seeing a lot of guys on the trail,” states Mike Brcic, founder and president of Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures, “and we’d like to see more women. This survey will help us to further improve our women’s skills camps and epic trips to better meet the unique needs of our women riders. We also hope it will motivate the industry to better serve female mountain bikers.”

Some of the key findings from the survey include:
•The vast majority of mountain biking women participate in numerous other outdoor pursuits
•90% of respondents got into the sport through an invitation by a friend or partner/spouse
•Enjoying nature and building friendships wins over competition as a motivation to ride
•Mountain biking needs to soften its image to connect with more women
•Intimidation and fear of injury are keeping many women off the trails
•One of the best ways to grow the sport would be through women inviting other women to give it a try

Implications for the mountain bike industry and media
The survey results speak directly to the mountain bike industry (bike, gear, and clothing manufacturers). Women are calling for increased customization, better fits, and lower prices—and of the media, they are asking for more women to be featured as sports leaders and role models.

Full survey results below:

Women MTB Survey - Sacred Rides

About The Survey
The online survey was conducted July 20-August 20, among 710 women ages 18 years of age and older. Participants learned about the survey primarily via Sacred Rides’ Facebook Page and via various media outlets that posted/printed the press release associated with the survey’s launch.

The margin of error associated with a sample of this size is ± 4%.

About Sacred Rides
Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures, founded in 1996 in Fernie, British Columbia, has always been committed to leading and innovating the sport of mountain biking, by developing such programs as Mountain Bike University and yoga/mountain bike retreats, and offering women’s only camps and trips.

Voted “#1 Mountain Bike Tour Company on Earth” in 2009 by National Geographic Adventure magazine, Sacred Rides is committed to promoting mountain biking as a force for good in the world. Through their Keeping Rides Sacred program, the company has donated thousands of dollars and countless volunteer hours to community projects in the areas where they ride. Sacred Rides is also proud to support the work of their sister organization Bikes Without Borders.

For more information about Sacred Rides please visit www.sacredrides.com.

About IMBA Canada
The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Canada is a non-profit association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve trail opportunities for mountain bikers throughout Canada. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking worldwide by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, and cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions. IMBA’s Canadian office has been up and running since 2005.

Find out more at www.imbacanada.com.


  • + 7
 that was really interesting.
  • + 3
 "Mountain biking needs to soften its image to connect with more women
•Intimidation and fear of injury are keeping many women off the trails"

mtb doesnt have a soft image as its not a soft sport, as shown by their fear of injury
  • + 3
 Yeah, I'd have to say this is true to some extent. Most definitely the narliest and sketchiest trails out there are pretty inimidating, heck, even 4 foot drops intimidate me. But I don't think it's mountain biking's image that needs to be softened up. It's women's general lack of information that needs changing. Not ALL trails are riddled with 20 foot gaps and 4 inch wide skinnies. There is a wide assortment of trails of varying difficulty levels. And with proper technique and practice, you can eventually ride almost any terrain.

A "softening up" of mountain biking's image is what we don't need. Yes, we should help cater to the women, but you have to be upfront about the dangers of the sport too, not by sugarcoating them and pretending that things are all okkie dokkie. Education and training is what's needed. Women are always surprised at how fun mountain biking really is and that a lot of their old fears disappear once they learn proper riding technique and get some experience.
  • + 2
 I'd say a lot of this is common sense... there definitely could be more initiatives to get women into mtb, but I don't think the survey really delves into them. Unless it inspires "women friends to ask women friends" to go mountain biking together!
Love the IMBA ad at the end.... f*ck yeah
  • + 2
 'Intimidation and fear of injury are keeping many women off the trails'-

There are also plenty males out there who won't mtb for fear of getting hurt.

'Mountain biking needs to soften its image to connect with more women'

Mtbing has got to be one of the most androgynous sports out there. How would you soften its image? Stop making gnarly freeride vids and ban DH?? More flowery designs on frames/parts? I am English but have been living/riding in Colorado for nine years and I am blown away by the amount of women riders there are here, especially compared to back home and Europe. There has always been plenty of women in this sport, just check out the womens categories at any race!

Now, getting more men into synchronized swimming, that's an effort.
  • + 1
 Yeah I think the way to get more men into synchronized swimming would be to make it more gnarly. Eek
  • + 1
 watched a new vid of women bikers and was excited even though the riding was not too crazy...just happy to see my sisters enjoy shredding the trails - i am at best an intermediate but not too shabby for my level, and some of my best times have been helping a couple of women beginners session some trails - i sold a Dh/Freeride bike to a woman and i am certain in a short while she will inspiring me with her progression, but mostly, it is just sweet to ride with her and not always have to put up with my buds testosterone & funky smell on the ride home :-)
  • + 1
 Happy to see a good conversation starting around this topic. There was a huge range of opinion from the women who responded to the survey. Some women said they don't want to be treated any differently than they guys, but many said they'd like the industry to do more to reach out to women, with women's-specific gear, camps, trips, etc...
  • + 2
 ive managed to trick 2 into riding. But they always say i was right; once you start... there's no going back. and everything else now just seems childish in comparison to cycling.
  • + 1
 Some of the question/options such as:
-competition, showing the guys how it's done
-invited to ride by a woman friend

Are leading and poor survey design...what is the delta of these options over "friendly competition" and "invited by a friend"
  • + 1
 Otherwise...interesting and a good initiative/idea
  • + 0
 im sure 'sacred rides' employed some top notch survey writers to do it - and i think the answers were not multiple choice, more like the womens answers were categorized into the different answers. thats how i see it
  • + 5
 I'm lovin all the stats from PB at the moment...good work, keep it up!
  • + 4
 I like mountain biking to play with male egos....
  • + 1
 hmmmm...sharon, tell me u are being playful...there are enough egos in this sport men [ and women by the looks ???] i'm just saying, lets bike because we love biking and not bring our [ own ] issues to it. happy trails.
  • + 3
 great article. go all the girls that shred!
  • + 1
 Be interesting to know how many women are signed up on pinkbike. Anybody know?
  • + 0
  • + 1
 Interesting, I liked it.
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