800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:13 pm

It will be interesting to see if this increases usage of the PBW. We live pretty close to it (we're a little way SW of Skipton) and it's rare to see any tyre tracks on those sections away from the main MTB centres
I applaude the work and can appreciate all the (largely unseen) effort but following Bob's comment above, I do sometimes wonder whether there's actually much of a call for long distance cycle trails? While people can obviously choose to ride short sections of a longer trail, surely the logistics make that less appealing than something circular?

These are questions, not statements BTW :wink:
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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by ScotRoutes » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:35 pm

Given my dealings with LEJOG, the Great Glen Way, the Hebridean Way and now the Caledonian Way, I'd say there's a demand for, and certain attraction about, routes that are point-to-point. Logistics are, though, an issue. Thankfully, there are folk like my previous employer providing services to help with this.

Scotrail are currently working on adding additional carriages to some services with proper bike stowage. I've seen the mock-ups and they're at the stage of branding etc so hopefully fully in place for next year.

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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by Pirahna » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:16 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:13 pm
I do sometimes wonder whether there's actually much of a call for long distance cycle trails?
The Divide?

I think that once a trail is published then people will ride it. One or two will post about it on here or a Facebook group, the vast majority of riders won't.

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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:31 pm

How many people ride the UK north south divide route, the HT, the 'popular' TCW or even Lon Las Cymru? In the great scheme of things I'd hazard a guess that it's not that many.
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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by ScotRoutes » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:54 pm

How many of those have been on the BBC news pages? I didn't even know there was a GB Divide route, other than the one we discussed on here a couple of years ago.

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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Sep 06, 2019 2:00 pm

How many of those have been on the BBC news pages?
Probably none but can you remember what was on the BBC news pages last week or last month? People have a habit of getting all fired up from the comfort of their screen, then ............
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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by labrat » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:18 pm

Bearbonesnorm wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:13 pm
It will be interesting to see if this increases usage of the PBW. We live pretty close to it (we're a little way SW of Skipton) and it's rare to see any tyre tracks on those sections away from the main MTB centres
I applaude the work and can appreciate all the (largely unseen) effort but following Bob's comment above, I do sometimes wonder whether there's actually much of a call for long distance cycle trails? While people can obviously choose to ride short sections of a longer trail, surely the logistics make that less appealing than something circular?

These are questions, not statements BTW :wink:
Interesting and valid question. There’s definite *interest* from riders in multi-day trails, eg our off-road survey showed:
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How much that transfers into demand is perhaps a little harder. The official National Trails users surveys we have access to are quite revealing, for example the prominence of cycle users on the pennine bridleway:



When you figure out that only about 1-2% of all countryside visits are off-road cycling or mountain biking (MENE data) then you can see these trails are disproportionately important for riding as an activity - given also that the PBW, SDW and half the ridgeway are openly promoted for cycle use (noting here that the cycle users figures for the SDW survey are somewhat lower than we would expect, cycle counter data I have for the route actually puts cyclists at about 25% of overall traffic, which is somewhat closer to what we see on the PBW) and the pattern of use data suggests that while few of the overall are using it as a multi-day route it clearly stimulates use and attracts additional day or weekend riders. The PBW being a good example of integration with railways in some places in order to offer a linear weekend trip, and our new GNT and the published guide takes on board some of that (eg. Settle to Haltwhistle could be a great weekend ride)

As for how many are using the route as a long distance single journey - numbers are surprisingly high on the PBW user survey.

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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by labrat » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:24 pm

Oops, couple of those charts didn’t go up, but it hopefully shows that we have been looking at the data behind all this rather than just stumbling around blindly.

I’d als add that one of the key lessons is that just publishing a ‘route’ isn't enough - it’s about having some additional support there, user guide, (like the one we’ve just published - one of the things I’ve railed against for some time is the tendency to publish ‘instructions’ for a route without any context, local history, discussion of the reroute, landscapes & wildlife along the way) promoted circular loops using the core route as a base (keep watching...) decent accommodation, bike shops etc, even a route that you can do weekend sections of, etc, over a period of time.

Perfect? Not yet, but look at the popularity of national trails amongst riders in general and I believe we are in a strong place to try and push for better provision for riders - and that this forwards the public & stakeholder image and acceptance of mountain biking as ‘normal’ and an important part of the rural economy, which are both key aspects in getting better access in the long term.
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Re: 800 miles, 98% off road - anyone?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:51 pm

Very interesting stuff Kieran. I hope I came across as Devil's advocate more than negative b'stard :wink:
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