Mountain Biking in Australia – An Economic and Participation Analysis


In 2019 with a membership of around 18,000 and knowing participation in the activity of mountain biking was considerably higher than membership, Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) commenced a project to quantify participation rates and the associated benefits.

Funded by MTBA and the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Building Better Region Fund, AusCycling (of which MTBA is now a part of) along with consultants GHD, have delivered a report that establishes a baseline of the current levels of participation in mountain biking at a national level, and where possible quantifies the value, of the economic, social and environmental benefits of mountain biking.

Mountain Bike Australia/ AusCycling’s project manager, Denise Cox said although presented with a number of challenges in the form of the 2019/20 bushfires and the COVID19 pandemic which delayed the project, the outcomes are quite compelling, in particular the benefits mountain biking and mountain bikers provide to Australia and its economy.

The report highlights the social value benefits, the personal and community benefits and economic benefits generated from a rider’s participation in mountain biking. A few of these benefits are outlined below.

  • The estimated health benefit (the personal and health system benefits due to healthier, active individuals) is $1.58 per kilometre ridden.
  • The positive association between sport and physical recreation, and educational outcomes, (the human capital uplift), is estimated at $252 annually per rider or $2.50 per ride.
  • The satisfaction people derive from participating in sport and active recreation (consumer surplus) is estimated at $2,624 per annum per person or $25.98 per ride.
  • The civic and volunteering benefit, which is defined as the value people place on volunteering and enjoying sport and recreation activities is estimated at $3,214 per annum per person.
  • The estimated 341,900 mountain bike participants throughout Australia directly spend $630.8 million per annum and support 6,095 full time employees annually through riding at their local trails.

It is expected the finding of the report will enable AusCycling, clubs, government agencies and other stakeholders to make informed future decisions regarding infrastructure investment, support funding applications for mountain bike infrastructure, economic growth and tourism and support broader outdoor recreation and facility planning.

The report is available HERE

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