Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Making Bicycle Touring A Bigger Draw

The Traverse City area is a great biking area and hosts some well known events such as the Iceman Cometh Challenge; Twin Bays Cyclocross races; the Cherry-Roubaix Old Town Criterium; the Tour de Leelanau (which had to be canceled in 2009 due to the economy).

Races are one thing - what about the big city tourist looking for a weekend ride on quiet roads? Go to the nationally advertised tourist booking first stop, michigan.org, and search for Traverse City bike tours and you just get a list of places to bike.

The same search at Traverse City's Visitor's and Convention web site gives similar results.

A google search leads you to the Cherry Capital Cycling Club - but it is for locals.

Has no one thought of establishing European style bicycle tours of the northern Michigan wineries? Has no one thought of turning the city owned ski hill Hickory Hills and the surrounding park area into a summer freeriding destination?

Like so many other recreational opportunities, Traverse City can look at a similar Colorado town for guidance. See: Efforts in motion to promote Steamboat as cycling destination
A study by the Western Canada Mountain Bike Tourism Association found that the economic impact of mountain biking in southern British Columbia is substantial. The study found that visitors to Whistler Mountain Bike Park spent nearly $16.5 million in summer 2006 and supported an estimated 384 jobs paying $12.8 million in wages and salaries.