Typology of cyclists

Hiking is specific, first of all, to family-oriented customers looking for light and secure routes, ranging from 5 to 30 km / day. This type of practice is particularly in line with the “green road” arrangement, mainly at local level.
Bicycle touring. The practice of this branch of tourism is of two kinds:
• means of travel, before any other utility, at the holiday destination, with a demand for safe roads and landscapes near tourist sites. It is basically a rural or cultural tourism. The rate of these tourists is also slow, with an average of 30 km per day;
• itinerary, with an average of 300 km, within 5-8 days. This practice, in a minority, for example, in France (2 to 3%), is in full swing and is a very strong attraction among foreign customers. Almost 5.5 million people say they are interested in cycling trips for several days in tourist areas. If this type of customers calls for an important level of service, it generates the most important economic benefits. France is the first destination in the world thanks to tourists from neighboring European countries (Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, and so on).
Sports practice. This practice is a small segment of tourism. France has 336,000 licensed persons, with unauthorized development practice (VTT, fitness). It includes the persons that practice cyclosportive, bicycle touring and the mountain bike users, who make trips in groups from 50 to 130 km at high speeds. The person that practice bicycle touring will apply his passion in a spirit of discovery. The cyclosportive will add a greater physical connotation, even a chronometric challenge or a competition.
• Mountain-bike touring is essentially sporting, there are about 6.6 million users, especially young people, looking for a technical dimension different from that of public practice. This type of cycling can be segmented by two axes:
– the importance of the technical and playful side of the “discovery” aspect. This element refers to the spirit of the practitioner and his relationship with the field. A descendant evolves on a “playground”, often artificial, with a search for strong sensations. The excursionist (walk) will be more sensitive to the variety of landscapes and the discovery of new trails.
– the level of practice. The mountain bike practice offer is mainly focused on athletes. They are less numerous, but they have higher requirements because they have more and more time to work. This criterion has a larger typology.
Cross Country (or X-Country) is the most practiced variant. It is mainly practiced in star. The effort provided is important, but it must be commensurate with the satisfaction of the discovery, the landscapes and the fun part of the descent.
All-Mountain is a near-X-Country practice, with more important requirements in terms of route quality. Switching from one variant to another is possible provided there is an associated reward. There is also about “mountain biking”, where the technical side is the priority one, for which bicycles have suspensions that can make bigger deformations.

Enduro is another variant that favors descent in a natural environment. Climbing is done by the simplest and most direct route (track or highway and possibly mechanical installations)
Descent is a repetitive practice on a route which is often artificial and secure. Climbing is not possible with bicycles. It is done with a vehicle or with the skilift.
Walk. This is the largest potential customer group. The offer for beginners is, however, less important, especially with regard to fitting out. On the one hand, planning in mountainous regions is often very restrictive: the route must not be technically difficult and must have slopes. On the other hand, this audience does not have a significant quantitative requirement, because its practice is punctual and short-lived. The offer must be well distributed near the accommodation.
Bicycle holidays, such as trips, are generally considered to be a sustainable tourism product that meets most of the above criteria (Lumsdon, 2000). This study is specifically circumscribed to the practice of cycling as means of transport for recreational purposes. Sustrans, a British NGO to promote sustainable transport, subdivides the bicycle market into three segments:
• Bicycle holidays, which include at least one night away from the usual residence, involve cycling as the main purpose of the stay. There may be several walks starting from a base rather than traveling an itinerary living in different places. Bicycle holidays can also be subdivided into organized and free trips;
• Holiday cycling means a daily bicycle riding, from a place of accommodation or other place (for example, a bicycle rental service in the station). Cycling is part of the holiday experience, but it is not necessarily the only hobby;
• Daytime bike trips are more than three hours’ trips, mainly from the usual residence for recreation and relaxation.
Participating in cycling events or occasional ATV rides is included in these categories, but not the sports practice (cycling races, mountain bike competitions) requiring special equipment and high level skills.
The term “cycling” is used to describe cycling holidays (traveling for example) or cycling on holiday (day trips from accommodation). In both cases, cycling is a key motivating factor and is the main activity exercised during holidays. Bicycle exits from the usual residence or from the place of stay are called “one-day bicycle trips”.
In this context, cycling is not only the means of transport but is an integral part of tourism experience (Lumsdon, 2000). The journey is just as important as the destination and sometimes it is even confused with it. This is what a visionary cycle route planner described as the ‘travelling landscape’ (Grimshaw 1998).
Persons practicing bicycle touring are motivated by many factors, especially the possibility of taking advantage of nature and relaxing in relation to everyday life. Even if bicycle touring is in line with the EU’s current sustainable tourism policy, there are many obstacles to its development, such as the lack of interface between modes of transport or the reduced number of commercial offers. With regard to sustainable development, the association of the train and the bicycle is essential. However, if the transport of a bicycle by train does not cost too much, it is not always possible and, in most cases, difficult. The absence of networks and long-distance and good-quality routes in many countries occupying a dominant position on the tourism market is another obstacle. Finally, tour operators and other tourism service providers are not sufficiently involved in the development of bicycle touring.
The data analyzed for this study indicate that persons practicing bicycle touring bring essential benefits to localities that do not currently enjoy “classic” tourism. They also show that the expenses of persons practicing bicycle touring are comparable to that of other visitors. EuroVelo is currently not a major touristic asset in most countries because it is not developed enough to offer a wide range of destinations or to present a strong brand identity. Network development has considerable potential but will require commitment and planning from its managers. Practically, this requires strong resources to improve and develop the entire network over the next ten years.
Constraints of itinerant travels by bicycle. The main obstacle identified is the physical ability to engage in such a visit. Practice of cycling for a day is not the same effort as during 5 days, especially in the mountains. In addition to this, for the practice of mountain biking, the driving skills are necessary to evolve on mountain trails. Organization is also a brake: itinerant cyclists must determine the stages and find the location that best suits the group, manage their availability gradually, and ensure the transport of luggage. Returning to the starting point by bicycle turns out to be very difficult in mountain areas that are poorly served by public transport. Most groups are formed by 2 people in order to avoid complications.