Does having a mountainboard centre in an area increase the population of mountainboarders? Which county has the most mountainboarders? Which areas have the fewest mountainboarders? What has the greatest effect on the number of mountainboarders in an area; hills or population?
To answer these questions we took a sample population of 200 mountainboarders selected at random from the ATBA-UK database. We marked each of them on a map, along with all the Mountainboard Centres, and we did some statistical analysis of the data.
Here’s what we found:
22.5% of riders live within 10 miles of a Mountainboard Centre, and just over 30% of riders live in counties with a Mountainboard Centre. Herefordshire is the most densely populated county with 8% of riders. West Sussex and Devon were joint next most densely populated with 6% each. Cornwall had 5.5% and Gloucestershire had 5% of the mountainboarders. With an average for a county being just under 3%, it’s clear that having a Mountainboard Centre in an area certainly does get more people into mountainboarding and keep them riding.
The least populated areas were Wales, Scotland, and the East Midlands and Eastern regions. Also, there were surprising gaps in the Somerset/Wiltshire area and in Kent, but this may have been due to the selection process. Wales had 4.5% of the mountainboarders selected, approximately the same as Cheshire. Even though Wales has three times the population of Cheshire, plenty of terrain, and a mountainboard centre, it still has a lack of mountainboarders. Scotland is even worse off than Wales. Even with plenty of terrain and a population of five million people, only 3.5% of our mountainboarders live there. The low number of mountainboarders (just 2.5%) in the area from Scunthorpe down to Northampton and across to Ipswich could be easily accounted for by the lack of suitable terrain, but we don’t have any information to back this up.
So, what does all this tell us? It tells us we all need to support Mountainboard Centres if we want a strong community of riders. It tells us we need to think about ways we can encourage people to get into mountainboarding in areas without centres. And it tells us that we need to think about the big picture of supporting the growth of mountainboarding in the UK.