Shimano & IMBA release economic study about mountain biking

The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) and Shimano American Corporation released a new document titled "The Economics and Benefits of Mountain Biking" this week at the US National Bike Summit in Washington, DC.

"We want legislators, policy makers and the public to understand how significant mountain biking is to both the economy and to keeping people healthy," said Kozo Shimano. "To put the activity in perspective, 50 million Americans ride a mountain bike – more than one and a half times the number of people who play golf."

The study reports that one in five Americans aged 16 and over ride a mountain bike, and contribute US$26 billion annually to the American economy while enjoying the sport. The benefits go beyond recreation. A recent cost benefit analysis concluded that every dollar invested into trails corresponded to almost three dollars in direct medical benefit, and The World Health Organization has recommended riding a bike as a way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Scientific research has also shown mountain biking to be a low impact, environmentally sustainable activity with no more impact on natural resources than hiking, and far less than many other recreational activities.

IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel highlighted the role of mountain bikers as conservationists who volunteer their time, labor and money to protect the natural and cultural resources where they ride. "From the beginning, IMBA members have embraced a stewardship ethic that benefits conservation of our natural lands and waters," said Van Abel. "This timely publication shows how that conservation mindset also gives back with economic benefits."

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