Bicycle Tour Network: new name and new ideas

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The organizers of hundreds of multi-day bicycle tour events in North America have changed their association’s name and are holding a conference at the swank Grand Hyatt Denver at the end of the month.

Wouldn’t it seem more appropriate for them to be camping out on a high school campus where the hot water boiler has been shut off for the season and where they hold their meetings in a stuffy gymnasium?

The National Bicycle Tour Directors Association is now simply the Bicycle Tour Network. Over the past 15 years that group has grown to represent more than 100 bicycle tour directors, organizers and coordinators for more than 350 events.

Its 4-day Bicycle Tourism Conference — Oct. 31-Nov. 3 — in Denver enables the members to get together and learn how to put on better bike rides.


Some of conference topics involve basic how-to lessons, such as Bike Tour Events 101 and 103, or preparing host communities for the arrival of bicyclists.

Other sessions reflect the use of new technology, such as “The App Economy”, search engine and social network optimization, and mapping software.

Still others respond to new and important trends.  “Tread Lightly: Go Green or Go Home” is presented by Lucas Erickson, owner of ZeroHero, and “Know Your Audience: Diversifying your Demographic” will be offered by Arlen Hall, tours director for Adventure Cycling Association.


Some of the speakers include Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists; Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling Association; and Jerry Norquist, executive director of Cycle Oregon and board president of the Bicycle Tour Network.

In addition to sharing ideas on creating the best multi-day bicycle tours, the Bicycle Tour Network also puts bicyclists in touch with members’ events through its online Find a Tour calendar.

At this conference, it’s good to see that the bicycle tour directors will learn more than just ensuring there is enough food for hungry cyclists at the end of the day. Making bicycle tours more diversified and reducing the impact of hundreds, if not thousands, of bicyclists on the countryside are big challenges.

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