Sport
NEBRA Racer Survey Results
September 14, 2020
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A month ago NEBRA circulated a survey to our racing population to see how COVID-19 has affected their appetite for bike racing.  There were 557 responses.   Below is a summary of the results and some conclusions:

Do you trust your state?

61% of racers are satisfied with their state’s pandemic response.  25% said it was “slightly too loose,”  compared with 7% saying “slightly too tight.”  Bike racers appear to be slightly more conservative than state officials with respect to reopening, but not shockingly so.  It seems reasonable to say that if you run an event that complies with all of your state’s reopening guidelines, the response from the cycling community will not be strongly negative.

Interest By Discipline

The pandemic has had almost zero affect on racers appetite for cyclocross as a discipline.

Interest in mountain bike and gravel is up, although it’s not clear if this is just a continuation of trends that we were seeing in 2018-19, or if it’s due to the perceived social distancing of these race styles:

Even road racing, the most socially-compact form of racing, has 75% of riders equally or MORE interested in it than 2019.

Racing Interest

Now, the real money question:  what’s happening to your 2020 race season (and probably part of 2021…)  ?

35% of people just aren’t racing this year, and another 24% are “maybe, but if so, very sparingly.”   Only 25% of racers are interested in, or hoping for, a race season where they’re as active as last year.

What this means for event promoters, however, isn’t as negative as it might seem.  While the “demand” of interested racers is clearly going to be too low to support a normal cyclocross season, the “supply” of races for those interested to go to may have dropped even lower.  Registration for early-season training races in Connecticut, for example, has been ahead of 2019 numbers, suggesting that there’s significant pent-up demand in the racing population.

It’s clear that we’re in unprecedented and volatile times, and no one should feel compelled to promote an event this year.  However, given racer responses here and early positive signs of racing reopening in Connecticut, it seems likely that we’re in the promoting landscape of “if you build it (safely), they will come.”

Other Race Formats

About 44% of survey respondents were interested in TT-style events, regardless of discipline.  Wave start formats got lower ratings for road and MTB, but higher for CX.

The jury is still out how just how unsafe mass start events are, but given that 55% of respondents are planning on barely racing this year, it appears as though those who ARE interested in racing are also broadly interested in alternate formats if necessary.

Fun Stuff

Cyclists are so dedicated to cycling that even in a pandemic, only 39% of them report putting time into “non-cycling interests.”

A quarter of respondents are Zwifters, and 37% have tried to replace racing by chasing Strava segments.

Only 1 in 5 racers admit to curling up on the couch and crying over the current bike racing situation.

Demographics

The survey skewed notably older and slightly more male than the overall racing population.  70% of respondents were 40 and up, and 86.6% were male (83% of New England USAC license holders are male).  85% of respondents were from Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New Hampshire.

  

If you’d like to do further analysis (or check our math!), a spreadsheet containing all survey responses can be found here.

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