You are here

NSGA: Bicycling participation flat in 2014

Published May 28, 2015

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (BRAIN) — The number of Americans who rode six or more days remained flat last year compared to 2013 figures, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, which tracks participation trends for cycling and 53 other sports and recreational activities. 

The NSGA released the latest editions of its Sports Participation reports Wednesday. 

Total participation in bicycle riding among Americans ages 7 and older was 35.6 million in 2014, unchanged from 2013. When broken out by age, the trend line was the same with participation flat among youth ages 7-17 and among adults ages 18 and over. Youth accounted for 10.1 million and adults for 25.5 million, both are the same as 2013 numbers. 

Biking ranked as the No. 9 sport/activity among Americans based on total participation, down from No. 8 in 2012 and 2013. 

“Basically, the summary for 2014 is that things have held steady compared to 2013,” said Dustin Dobrin, director of research and information for the NSGA. 

Dobrin said there were some differences when looking at participation by gender. Last year, male participation increased 6.5 percent while female participation was down 7 percent. But he cautioned about drawing conclusions from data from a single year. 

“Over the course from 2000 to today, there have been declines in both male and female participation and the percentage drops are about the same long term,” he said. “I like to look at longer periods of time and the declines have been consistent between men and women since the year 2000.”

Off-road riding/mountain biking participation was 5.4 million last year, a small increase over 2013’s 5.2 million, or about 2.7 percent. 

Riding frequency has also remained about the same last year as the year before, with about 13 percent of total riders being frequent, 46 percent occasional and 41 infrequent. The NSGA defines frequent riders as those who ride 110 days or more in one year; occasional riders log 25 to 109 days in the saddle, and infrequent riders log 6 to 24 days on the bike. 

Dobrin said bicycling is typical of most of the other activities the NSGA tracks in that most participants are occasional. 

The NSGA’s findings are based on an annual survey where Americans are asked about participation in sports and recreational activities over the previous year. The survey was fielded in January and the methodology has remained the same since the 1980s. The NSGA defines participants as having ridden 6 or more times per year, and tracks participation among Americans ages 7 and older. 

Of the 54 sports and activities the NSGA tracks, it reported increases in the number of participants among 33 of them, including open water activities, shooting sports, indoor gaming, fitness activities and outdoor activities. 

Wheel sports, which includes bicycling, saw a 2.5 percent increase, but this category also factors participation in activities like inline roller skating and skateboarding.

Meanwhile, participation declines were seen across personal contact sports, snow sports, team sports and individual sports. 

The NSGA participation research includes cross participation, lifecycle demographics and single sport reports. For more information on each report, visit

Join the Conversation