10 ways bicycle tourism is booming; annual tour directors gathering

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Bicycle tour directors are gathering in San Diego this week to discuss the growth of their segment of the tourism industry and celebrate their 25th annual conference.

Biking Across Kansas bike tour stops at Happy Trails

Biking Across Kansas bike tour stops at Happy Trails

They’re all members of the Bike Tour Network, formerly known as the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. They run everything from one-day charity bike rides, to week-long cross-state mass bike tours, to private bicycle safaris.

Among the speakers at this year’s National Bicycle Tourism Conference  is Tim Blumenthal, executive director of People for Bikes, who is delivering the keynote address: “Bicycling 20/20: Increasing Rider Engagement; Growing Our Business.”

Other speakers include Susan Lareau, president of Velo Quebec, and Andy Clarke, president of League of American Bicyclists.

One of the many panels include a discussion of how to attract women to bicycle touring. Other topics include everything from ride insurance, to transportation to … beer.

Bike tourism growing

Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling Association, had some great news for the bike tour operators — that bicycle touring globally is becoming “more prominent, more lucrative,” and more adjustable to meet changing consumer demands.

Here are 10 indicators that proves to Sayer that bicycle tourism is on the rise:

1. Bike tourism is a growing sector in US and global travel markets, based on a survey by the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

2. More states and regions are discovering bicycle touring boosts local economies. Studies in Montana, Oregon, Arizona and Michigan all found positive economic impacts from bike tourism.

Bikes on a Kansas roadside

Bikes on a Kansas roadside

3. Continental and national bike route networks are growing. More miles are added annually to the U.S. Bicycle Route System, the National Cycle Network in the UK and the Euro-Velo network in Europe.

4. More moderate distance bike route networks tied to regional scenic or historical resources are being planned. One example is the  Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route. Another is Oregon’s scenic bikeway program.

5. Short and single day tours are spreading. Sayer refers to  Green Fleet Bicycle Tours in Nashville,  Gotham Bike Tours in Manhatten and  Bicycle Tours of Atlanta.

6. Self-guided bike tours gaining popularity. Instead of forming bicyclists into a group under the direction of a leader, companies are making the arrangements for lodging, meals and sightseeing and letting their clients travel on their own at their own pace. The trend is becoming more prominent in Europe.

7. State and federal entities showing their support for bike travel. Consider Amtrak’s first bicycle task force formed in 2013 and efforts by the National Park Service to make the Natchez Trace more bicycle friendly.

8. Bike share systems are proliferating in major cities and tourists are using the bikes to get around those towns.

9. Mass, multi-day bicycle tours continue to thrive. RAGBRAI, Ride the Rockies, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia and many, many more are continuing to thrive. [See a full state by state list at Across State Bike Tours.]

10. Bicycle-related nonprofits continue to grow. Adventure Cycling, International Mountain Bike Association, Velo Quebec and European Cyclists Federation all continue to grow.

You can read the full press release here.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2014/11/06/10-ways-bicycle-tourism-is-booming-annual-tour-directors-gathering/

1 comment

  1. I believe Africa is going to be the next bicycle touring hot spot. There needs to be more tour operators in Africa to start handling the demand that is going to come.

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