If you've ever traveled by bicycle, you'll know that while some motels or campgrounds encourage or at least tolerate cyclo-tourists, others are reluctant to take us in.
My touring buddy and I have been turned away from a campground in Colorado (“We don't allow tents,” the owner sniffed) and interrogated by the manager of a rooming house in Kentucky before we were able to stay.
To make it easier for bicyclists to find lodging on their trips, a bicycle advocacy group — OneStreet.org — has launched the Bed and Bike America website that lists bike-friendly hotels, motels and campgrounds that cater to bicyclists.
The project is just on the ground floor, with just five hotels signed up in the US – Arizona, California, Missouri, Wisconsin, and 1 each in Canada and Mexico.
Let's hope this thing gets going, and I'm sure it will. There are dozens of B&Bs and hostels that have popped up along popular rail-trails and bicycle-touring routes.
The project is the offspring of the non-profit bicycle advocacy group One Street, based in Prescott, Arizona. According to the local newspaper, the Daily Courier, One Street has hired an intern from Germany, Leonhard Sobottka, to the website and program up and running.
Bed and Bike America is based on Germany's Bett & Bike, which lists more than 4,500 bicycle-friendly hotels, inns, guest houses, hostels or boarding houses in Germany. The lodgings have to meet criteria set up by the advocacy group Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC).
The success of the program has led it to spread to Denmark, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
According to information presented at a tourism workshop in Munich (.pdf), hotel operators benefited from appealing to the fast-growing bicycle tourism industry in that country.
The requirements to be listed on Bike and Bed America are similar to Bett & Bike. As spelled out on the website:
- Cyclists may stay for one night only if they wish.
- Lockable room for storage of cycles overnight (on ground level if possible) or permission to store the bikes in the room.
- Drying area for clothing and equipment (e.g. laundry, cellar or drying room) or a nearby laundromat.
Provision of cyclists' breakfast: substantial meal (e.g. fruit and wholemeal products).
Display or provision of cycle touring maps of the region, also bus and train timetables.
Set of repair equipment with the most important tools.
Address, opening times and telephone number of the nearest cycle repair shop for major repairs.
If you'd like to find out about other requirements and possibly get a location listed, check out the Bed and Bike America website.
Above, bicycle camping in Colorado