Authors: Peter Zajca, Nejc Berzelak
Publisher: Journal of Outdoor recreation and Tourism
Categories: Behaviour, management, access
The increased interest in mountain biking on trails in natural areas necessitates the systematic management of mountain biking. In Slovenia, access to forest singletracks and signposted mountain trails, which are highly preferred by mountain bikers, is generally not legal. There is also a lack of mountain biking management and infrastructure at the national level. An important challenge for mountain biking management in natural areas is conflicts with other user groups, particularly hikers. This paper investigates the relationships between riding preferences and styles, conflicts, and attitudes towards mountain biking management among Slovenian mountain bikers. The survey results reveal four riding preference groups, largely consistent with three identified main riding styles of mountain biking in natural areas: gravity, all-mountain, and cross country. The identified key predictors for encountering a conflict with hikers are preferences for riding on hiking trails, the importance of downhill speed, and the frequency of practicing gravity riding in bike parks. Opinions about different management measures suggest the ineffectiveness of formal sanctioning, but a high willingness for volunteer participation in trail maintenance activities. The findings imply that the successful management of mountain biking in Slovenia should combine legislative measures for opening access to trails in natural areas, the establishment of single-use trails for specific riding styles, and indirect management actions to promote education in the fields of nature protection, responsible access, and trail tolerance. Mountain biking clubs and associations may offer a promising avenue for stimulating active involvement of mountain bikers and promoting education and bridge-building actions (e.g., volunteer work).
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