Recently I sent out the annual NCNCA new rider survey to about 400 people who took out a USCF license for the first time this year. so far we have gotten about 60 of the surveys sent back in and I thought I'd post a summary of the responses we have gotten back.
The First question is how did you learn about bicycle racing in general ? - Most people responded that they first learned about racing from friends or family. A few more people this year ( less then 10 in total) said that they first learned about racing from media coverage of major professional races than in the past years ( when only 1 or 2 people might have mentioned media coverage of races).
Second question is How did you get your annual license? - Most people got their license from the USAC web site. A few people got their license at races.
Third question Why did you start racing? - Lots of different reasons given. A lot of new racers were former runners or triathletes who had to quit those sports due to injury. If USAC wanted to get serious about a rider recruitment drive they should send people to running races or triathlons and look for people limping around :) Others said they were recreational cyclists and wanted to push their limits or they wanted an outlet for their competitive nature. Again the encouragement of family or friend who already raced played a role for a lot of people to get into racing.
Fourth Question How did you find out about races ? - Most said from the NCNCA web site. some people said they found out about races from teammates or friends.
Fifth question What was your best racing experience? - For most people they usually cited a race at which they placed well at. some people mentioned the atmosphere at a major race or racing in front of a crowd as their best experience.
Sixth question What was your worst experience? - Surprisingly a lot of people didn't list a worst experience. A number of times the worst experience was a race someone had crashed at. Traveling to a race only to miss out due to field limits was another mentioned negative.
Seventh question Was there any program or event that you felt was helpful as a first year racer? - The Early Birds was probably the most mentioned program. Various skills clinics were also mentioned numerous times. A number of people couldn't think of a program that helped them as a first year racer. A few people also noted the mentored races at the Albany Crit as a helpful thing.
Eighth question Can you think of any type of program or event that would have made things easier for you as a first year racer? Lots of people suggested an Early Bird type program later in the season ( something that has been mentioned for several years now). More skill/coaching clinics during the year. More mentored races like the Albany Crit this year. Develop a big brother/sister type program where an experienced rider will take a new racer under their wing and help them out with advice during the year. These were the most mentioned type of things.
Ninth question Do you plan on renewing your license next year?- About 2 people said they would have to think about renewing next year. Everyone else indicated that they would definitely renew next year. This is similar to the replies we have had to this question in the past years.
Tenth question Are there any other comments you would like to make? - Most comments were along the lines of how well they though things were run in the region and thanks to the people who help run racing in the region. Other things that were mentioned were
more road races on sundays
make more Info available about races ( like race profiles, more Info about surface conditions, past race reports about how races developed etc)
more races for certain categories like 45+ 4/5
bring back Cat 5 for women or some how divide cat 4 races into true beginners and riders with a fair amount of experience.
deal better with sandbagging in the master 4/5 races