The most frequently cited participation statistics (in the U.S.) are produced by a research group called the Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF), which tracks outdoor recreation and publishes the annual Outdoor Recreation Participation Study. The OIF conducts 4,000 telephone interviews each year using scientific sampling to reach a representative sample of Americans, age 16 and over. The 2005 results are applicable to the greater population with a margin of error of +/-1.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
The survey asks general questions about 22 outdoor activities, but the results offer only limited insight into each one. To ensure consistency, the survey has asked the same questions since it began in 1998, although several new activities have been added over the years. A respondent need only participate in an activity once to be counted. Much of the survey’s value lies in its ability to compare results year-to-year and between activities.
There are three key pieces of information for mountain biking:
- Mountain biking is a very popular activity in the U.S., with nearly 40 million participants annually.
- Mountain biking participation peaked in 2001, and has remained relatively steady since then.
- Mountain biking participation is about half of hiking participation, but much larger than other trail activities.ۖ
Additional sources for U.S. bicycling statistics include: