Tony Hancock Vision For Mountain Biking and MTBA.

  1. Governance of cycling:

While this topic is avoided by many, it undoubtedly has some of the biggest benefits to be realised throughout MTBing.

MTBA is but one piece in the puzzle that makes up the governance of cycling within Australia. While we can control much of our future we are also reliant on the combined power of both sporting, recreational and tourism groups that proliferate the cycling landscape.

I have a vision that with shared focus and goals all these groups can work together in achieving our collective goals. A lot to be said for united we stand and divided we fall.MTBA can take a lead position in this future. We have many of the fastest growing segments in cycling and definitely have great appeal outside of competitive sport with recreation, education and tourism.

Club support regardless of head office governance is crucial to growth. My vision here would be to see support models including staff shared to assist clubs regardless of their national body affiliation.

  1. Places to ride:

MTBinghas multiple disciplines and doesn’t have huge infrastructure costs. This in itself affords a much better economic model for authorities to invest in MTBing as either a recreation/ sport or for tourism.

The history of MTBing in all disciplines has often relied on private land holders.Our future as a recreation and sport is however reliant on the recognition of public land holders and their ability to open land for the growth of our recreation and sport.

I see MTBA as playing a major part in enabling the opening of more places to ride all cross Australia. These spaces need not be restricted to rural settings as urban MTB infrastructure will see more opportunities to ride. My vision is for public “skills” activities to become as common as skate parks and exercise stations along our urban streets and parks. With a mix of urban and rural facilities, public landholdersinvestments would see local benefits of connected communities, local health benefits and potential for local and regional economic benefits.

I believe places to ride for Elite riders are currently lagging behind in Australia. As our base of recreational and age category riders increase the need for more facilities to accommodate their development grows. Here proximity for the major population bases to access high difficulty level trails is crucial if we are to maximise our pathways for development. My vision is to have elite options for training and competition within short distances from most capital cities and larger population bases.

  1. Getting people to ride:

Health, Recreation and Education, three words that should be on high focus for all of cycling. To become part of the Australian cultural fabric cycling must first acknowledge the recreational aspirations of the majority of cyclists and then work to develop and encourage this ever increasing area of western life. General sports trends are swaying away from commitment to single sporting pursuits. “Experiential” events are the growth areas reinforcing the community’s willingness to engage in a variety of pursuits that offer challenge and satisfaction.

The vision must be to engage the masses and then build from that base. The recreational rider is central to this.

Education becomes crucial as filling a skills and knowledge void that has crept in around cycling with our youth. National inclusion in the school curriculum will ensure better safety, enjoyment, participation and empathy in cycling for the future.

Health is the huge benefit if our vision can be successful. With a more active community the benefits are well documented. Our vision must be to play a major role in the government plans towards this.

  1. Keeping people riding:

Once we have people involved we need to keep them engaged. Clubs and events are crucial elements in providing a social and sporting frame work in which people can foster their passion in MTBing. Clubs abilities to engage the recreational riders as well as offer competitive options for those that way inclined is a tough challenge and definitely in need of more assistance. The model which has been proven is to aim for “Regular, Engaging Affordable, Local” activity. This could very well become the catch cry for MTBA in all its activity. Keep it REAL! The governance vision here has a lot to offer. With shared resources in states all cycling bodies would reap the rewards of more cyclists, members and participants.

  1. Pathways for elite:

The Elite Pathways are reliant on the REAL model as well. The more activity attracting more riders makes it viable for sustaining elite pathways. This model would rely on a co-ordinated approach mapped by MTBA and delivered by clubs and state bodies along with MTBA. As an Olympic and Commonwealth Games Sport XCO has potential to encourage new riders while the huge growth in “Adrenalin” sports such as Down Hill is fast becoming a huge financial incentive for other riders being gifted in such disciplines.

  1. The business of bikes:

Commercial stability is a vision that requires new thinking. A vision of the future and the commercial opportunities is something that all sports are grappling with. Tourism, Events and the “Adrenalin / Entertainment” aspects of MTBing should be the foundation of our models moving forward. Red Bull has taken much of this challenge on with private enterprise. The vision would see the parent body in some form being financially supported with this opportunities. How successful we are with tapping into these commercial opportunities for the benefit of cycling will greatly aid in the feasibility of many of the visions I share.