Spring has returned to the mountains and some have already swapped skis for road bikes. We therefore legitimately wondered about the link that unites Facebook users with mountain cycling and took advantage of this to analyze the appreciation of Trail running in the mountains. In short, we went into summer activity, you understood it well.
The figures and the study on mountain cycling
The French are 7% to display cycling and the mountains as centers of interest, this represents in adjusted population a score of 3.8 million bicycle fans on the steep slopes of the Alps or the Pyrenees. Conversely, Italy, which benefits from a very strong cycling culture, rises to 15% or 7.6 million users. Italy is a country of great names of cyclists from Fausto Coppi to Marco Pantani but also of magnificent regions to discover by road bike. Their culture of the little queen is well fueled, especially in the mountains.
The figure which is astonishing is that of Benelux, yet very adept at road cycling with 3.5 million fans. The figure is reduced as soon as one associates the mountain to fall to 1.9 million or 8% of the population.
The slope is not the preferred element of northern Europeans.
“There is a very particular feeling in Belgium. You know, cycling in France is very popular, not necessarily in the pejorative sense of the term, but it’s part of national folklore. Cycling in Belgium is really in people’s hearts and we see it with the public massed on the side of the roads, with the atmosphere that there is as well on the cyclo-cross as on the classics! It is something very special. Your country remains for me the essence of cycling. In the word ‘classic’, there is… ‘classic’, there is a sort of continuity with our elders. And that’s what attracts me to cycling.” says Y ohann Offredo about Belgium. He adds, “When you’re in Ghent, starting from the Nieuwsblad, in the car park, on the team bus, there’s bound to be a little stress, a mixture of stress, fear, apprehension but also excitement. Last July, on the Tour de France, I felt like a neo-pro. People didn’t recognize me even though I’ve been a professional for twelve years and have regularly finished in the Top 10 classics. The Belgian public knows me, the French public a little less. Here, there is an audience of connoisseurs, an audience of enthusiasts. And once again, it’s an audience that has cycling in its heart! “. In our case, it seems to us that sport does not win the vote on the environment.
On the other hand, two large breeding grounds are to be watched, the USA and China, with a respective number of fans of 14 million and 19 million, the bicycle being largely democratized in Asia.
And for the trail…
For the trail, the uses are almost similar, France has 2.8 million followers declared on social networks or 5% of the population. Italy remains ahead with 4.2 million fans and 8% of its population. Switzerland and Austria amount to 1.2 million cumulative users and Benelux to 850,000 posted users.
Just like on cycling, the figures of the American and Chinese populations rectified show us 12 million followers across the Atlantic and 22 million in China. What to understand the policy of certain international sports brands to regain the image of mountain running.
Recent images of Kilian Jornet, the renewed interest of brands for outdoor and running, the development of trails, ultratrails, sports such as triathlon which shows a 130% increase in licensees in 10 years with 100,000 practitioners in 2016, are reasons for the slow but sure development of mountain trail running. Last year, the French Trail Championship saw 1,900 participants leave for the mountains, a record that will soon be beaten.
In an article written for Le Monde, Florence Soulé-Bourneton (Anthropologist) and Sébastien Stumpp (Sociologist) say: ” This enthusiasm owes a lot to outdoor equipment brands (Salomon, The North Face, etc.) who have been able to exploit the movement to “green” sport. However, the economic explanation appears insufficient. The rise of ultra-trail is also to be linked to the progressive imposition in our society of the notion of competence, which systematically weighs the mastery of a high level of performance (“know-how”) ) and the staging of a set of “authentic” attitudes (the “savoir-être”). On the one hand, the development of ultra-trail reflects the key values of a society which enjoins the individual to possess qualities of reactivity, autonomy and adaptability, to evaluate and optimize his physical and cognitive resources to produce the best performance. Equipped with his connected watch, the ultra-trailer can appreciate in real time his speed, his heart rate, his altitude difference, his calorie expenditure, so many parameters which give him the intimate conviction of having control over his performance and of able to juggle the uncertainties of the environment. The runners describe the ultra-trail as an inner experience that is both peaceful and disconnected from everyday realities. The performative purpose of the activity is therefore denied in favor of an enterprise deemed more legitimate consisting of becoming aware of oneself and experiencing oneself. This search for inner harmony gives all legitimacy to a rhetoric of purification of the soul through prolonged contact with nature, whether one thinks of the interest aroused among ultra-trailers by organic food or diets. vegetarians.”
In short, the future of sport in the mountains during the summer season is green, because even if the sporting elements that we demonstrate via this study are niches, in cumulative figures it is beginning to weigh in on mountain tourism. However, the possibility of practicing all these disciplines does not take away the fact that the vast majority of people staying in the mountains, whether in winter or in summer, come to seek a break from everyday life which is often lavished on them by the simple contemplation of the mountain itself. ..