What is Bicycle Tourism

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With any luck, when this post is published, I’ll be in Pocahontas, Iowa. Sitting in a chair, sipping on a tasty beverage, and waiting for my team to ride into town. As my team’s SAG (Support and Gear) driver, I run a route parallel to the riders on RAGBRAI in case I’m needed. It is an important role as bikes break down…and so do riders.

It’s also a fun role as I get to sit in an airconditioned vehicle that propels itself down the road, while my team wears themselves out in the July heat. Then, in the evenings, I get to partake in the events at each overnight town. All the fun without all the work!

RAGBRAI 2018But I also run forward to the next overnight town to find a spot for the team to camp. That is unless we’ve secured a spot ahead of time through someone we know. Hopefully, by my regular 4:05 pm publication time the camp is set up and I’m sitting back having a cool drink….or four.

It’s a good time to relax. But also a good time to take in the impact of bicycle tourism on these rural communities in Iowa. Even if your community doesn’t get to host a bicycle-based event like RAGBRAI, bicycle tourism can be impactful.

But What is Bicycle Tourism?

Here’s a real short primer on bicycle tourism by Path Less Pedaled (@pathlesspedaled)

Don’t overlook this bike-based sector of the tourism economy. A 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association concluded bicycling participants spend $83 billion on ‘trip-related’ sales (bicycle tourism) and generate $97 billion in retail spending. Bicycle recreation spending also contributes to the creation of 848,000 jobs.

Path Less Pedaled also did a short bit on how bicycle tourism can help small-town America:

The great thing about bicycle tourism is that much of it ties back to the overall tourism industry in your community. Also, creating the infrastructure and the aurora can be an incremental process. Improvements can be done in steps. It could be a connector trail to an existing regional trail. Or an event put on by the local chamber of commerce. Or even simply bike racks installed by a business owner.

The point here is to do your research and understand the potential impact of bicycle tourism on your economy. Then make a plan of action to make it happen.

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  1. Pingback: Economic Impact of Bike Tourism - Rural Resurrection

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