The introduction of e-bikes into the cycling industry has resulted in a growing market, with sales demonstrating an increase exponentially over the last five years. Globally it is predicted that e-bikes will reach and potentially surpass 130 million by 2023 (Lee et al., 2019). In 2018, it was projected that the sale of e-bikes in Europe would increase from 2.4 million units to 4.6million in 2022 (Technavio.com, 2018). Despite this rapid ongoing growth, little is known about the current demographics, motivations, and behaviour of eMTB users and the potential impact on the environment within GB. Broadly, cycling has been repeatedly shown to lack ethnic or gender diversity and instead is dominated by older, rich, white, men. Generally, mountain bike riders are largely motivated by fun, enjoyment and connection with nature and accordingly shown a willingness to protect nature (Campbell et al., 2021).
eMTBs enable riders to access the countryside of Great Britain, providing an alternative to built-up environments and busy traffic filled roads. However, little is understood about the behaviour of eMTB riders in this space and their impact on fragile and trail environments. The current stakeholders were keen to explore opportunities to increase eMTB participation, whilst mitigating any negative impacts on trail, environment, and interactions between user groups.
There were four aims associated with this study:
1. To understand the growth/direction of the market and user group.
2. To increase overall knowledge regarding trail design and environmental impacts related to eMTBS use in both trail centers and the wider countryside.
3. To provide land managers/owners and stakeholders with data to help assist future decisions/education and policy relating to eMTB use in a responsible and sustainable way.
4. To understand the population of riders to help inform responsible behavior and behavior change in the desired locations.
Ingram-Sills, L., Campbell, T., Kirkwood, L., & Florida-James, G. (2023). The future directions and trends for off road e-bike use and impact in Great Britain. British Cycling