More People, More Active, More Often - Pedal Progression

More People, More Active, More Often

Bath Bike Park:

Getting More People, More Active, More Often

We will be bringing our expertise and experience to Bath to reach a wider audience. Creating opportunities for more people to discover their passion for off road riding and mountain biking. Creating space for free play. Cultivating new riders and educating on active travel. Building sustainable revenue streams in the park that enable significant investment in engaging with and developing community. Seeking to remove barriers that are typically present in our sport that restrict access or discourage participation of certain groups.

Tackling health inequalities is key. Socioeconomic conditions are the biggest contributing factors that cause the most severe cases of ill health and death in B&NES’ most deprived areas. Three of these areas are  within 2 miles of Entry Hill. These are also areas of Bath that have high levels of inactivity and where we would like to focus our outreach work. This will be one of the key drivers of our community engagement.

What we know

The cost of inactivity in B&NES is approximately £15m per year. There are some key barriers that need to be addressed in order to get more people riding more often. These include location (many people do not have transport to get to mountain bike facilities), education, culture and finance.

It is well documented that more people riding for leisure, equals more people riding for transport, including commuting. This has huge benefits not just for health but environment too.

Research undertaken at Ashton Court demonstrates that creating exciting, well maintained trails, increases rider numbers & frequency that those people ride. This research also shows that all weather trails lead to a less significant decrease in participation over the winter.

B&NES ‘Fit For Life’ strategy recognises that making exercise fun and sociable is the key to increasing participant numbers and frequency of participation. Community is also a key factor. It creates and sustains friendships, gives a sense of belonging and breaks down social barriers that will keep people coming back.

What do we do at Ashton Court that we know makes a difference?

We have created clubs and continue to create activity sessions that seek to reach target groups for inclusion. These range from the younger years to teenagers and older age groups too. We proactively engage with local communities and volunteers, to bring the benefits of off road cycling and mountain biking to those who would not normally get the opportunity to take part.

We’ve worked to refurbish the (Bristol City Council owned) trails to a high standard and have set up a charity to secure the sustainability of this work into the future. This will ensure the evolution of the trails and will keep riders coming back, developing healthy habits. These ‘all-weather’ trails keep participants active through the Winter, which is vital to sustaining engagement long term. Through the charity (Ride Bristol), we create projects that engage volunteers in trail refurbishment work. This is a physical activity in itself but it also creates a sense of community and ownership that keeps people coming back. Building community around the trails through trail maintenance and events helps to keep riders engaged all year round.

Pedal progression creates exceptional customer journeys, proven by our TripAdvisor Certificate Of Excellence 5 years running and being the second highest rated outdoor activity in Bristol. Bringing our culture of self-development with us, we encourage people to enjoy the rewards of investing time in themselves and their skills. This leads to a deeper engagement and continued participation in the sport over a longer period of time, which equals increased health and wellbeing outcomes.

How will we build on this at Entry Hill?

We’ll create engaging, exciting & accessible trails by having a park that we can have design and build influence over and a business plan that provides profit reinvested for continually evolving trails.

  • Having a revenue stream through the park enables the business to invest in staffing, marketing and community engagement, as well as having affordable and subsidized capacity to help to overcome barriers for specified target groups.
  • Create and support community development through partnerships targeted at specific groups.
  • Recruit a staff member from the local community who will work on community engagement and marketing.
  • Create outreach projects that seek to take mountain biking to communities and help to overcome the transport barrier that often prevents participation.
  • As a local hub for active travel we will ensure that the theme of leisure cycling as a stepping-stone towards active travel is present in our coached sessions particularly with young people and typically less active groups.
  • Be an advice point for park users and local residents to get information about bikes and products that will support them to use cycling as active sustainable transport year round.
  • Through our marketing we will actively encourage use of the site by exercise groups, yoga classes, personal trainers and other instructors.

For Children and young people

Whether you are planting the seed in an early years group or trying to use mountain biking as an intervention to divert teenagers away from antisocial behaviour, we firmly believe that the key to getting more children, more active more often, is that they do not think of physical activity as ‘exercise’ but as enjoyment. This is where mountain biking can be a powerful tool for change. Because getting children active has positive repercussions on family activity, we feel a strong focus in this area will contribute significantly towards addressing health inequalities.

  • Create a weekly, free, social ride to engage local families.
  • Free or reduced rates for sports clubs to access the park. Our strategy looks to network across different sports, bringing new riders into mountain biking and introducing the benefits it often brings to young people who don’t enjoy more traditional sports.
  • Develop increased family focused programs. A diverse activity program will be provided from balance bikes on the pump track, gravel skills on the green trail to pumping, jumping & drops.
  • We will network with successful female riders and grassroot movements to promote mountain biking as a sport that seeks to offer equal opportunities across genders, using Entry Hill as a networking hub. There are less young female riders so there is more opportunity to increase participation.
  • We will create opportunities to offer free entry for youth groups and charities, particularly those who work with target groups.
  • Create and offer bike maintenance sessions that will empower young people to look after their own bikes, equipping them with expertise needed to ensure they can consistently use their bikes for travel as well as skills for employment.

Engaging and involving BaME communities

Engaging with BaME communities has always thrown up specific challenges, not just for us but for all cycling and sports organizations. There is a conversation going on right now in mountain biking that we are engaged with, and we want to be a part of the solution. The key to involvement of BaME communities seems to be access, opportunity, education and community.

  • We’ll have a specified community outreach worker and will ensure that they have connections in Bath with BaME groups. Engagement of BaME areas will be high priority in year one.
  • Ensure that advertising and imagery are inclusive and representative of the BaME community.
  • Community consultation to listen to why BaME communities feel they are not represented in cycling and mountain biking.
  • Identification of BaME role models and leaders in our sport to elevate their voices and provide channels for connection.
  • Create events specifically to target engagement potential of BaME participants- look for inspiration from other sports with similar traditional demographic – ‘Colour Up’
  • Alongside the work stated above we will work to reduce the barriers of location (we are in an Urban area and have transport for outreach) and activity cost (we will have capacity for free entry to the park in our business plan).

Disability and Long Term Health Conditions

  • Odd Down is a British Cycling Disability Hub and home to Wheels for Wellbeing. We will look to link with them to see if there are ways of their users experiencing the trails at Bath Bike Park. Our green trail will offer a contrasting experience to many all abilities cycling projects as it will wind through the trees and be feel closer to natural surroundings.
  • Create specific programs to try and give a more specific off road experience. ‘Two’s Company’ in Bristol offer tandem rides for the visually impaired and we’d love to do something similar.
  • We will work towards having e-bikes, e-tandems and trikes in our hire fleet to aid our work with these groups.
  • We’re collaborating with young peoples mental health charity, ‘Off The Record’ to put on sessions in Bristol. This work could be extended to Entry Hill.
  • We will work with local schools to ensure that the design and service will be accessible to children and young adults with disabilities.

Active Ageing

With an ageing population we are working to break down the barriers that prevent older people from seeing themselves as an ‘off roader’. In our experience, especially with the introduction of e-bikes, off road cycling is a perfect activity to inspire and excite people who are looking for new low impact ways to stay active. When working with older people we frequently find that GPs recommend cycling as low impact activity especially for those recovering from impact related injury.

Through 2018 and 2019 we partnered with Active Ageing to create a series of subsidised sessions for over 55’s. This gave attendees the chance to ride our mountain bikes through beautiful woodland and on mountain bike trails, often for the first time. In some cases this lead to a new hobby being found with participants going on to buy their own bikes. Active Aging Ambassador and photographer of veteran athletes, Alex Rotas came for coaching with us in 2015 which has since lead to more seniors riding our bikes.

Matt recently coached Linda Ashmore. She became an Ironman World Champion aged 72 and now at 74 is taking up mountain biking! She’s also the oldest woman to swim the English Channel…