May 15, 2009
As the touring season is getting into full swing, we often get inquiries from individuals, communities and organizations about how to be more welcoming to touring cyclists. This year, with the current economic situation, many communities, large and small are trying to find innovative ways to capitalize on tourism dollars. By the same token, individuals and families are looking for inexpensive and fun ways to vacation, which could lead them to bike travel. Here are a few things that your community can do to become more "bike travel friendly" and encourage traveling cyclists to enjoy all that you have to offer.
Create Safe and Interesting Routes: To attract even more cyclists, a town or region can consider the creation of safe routes in their area, as well as routes of interest. These routes should move through communities, and connect different communities since traveling cyclists tend to bike longer distances. Safer routes are off-road or have a wellshouldered, decent road surface, with good signage. Interesting routes can showcase the regions history, agriculture, natural beauty, and culture.
Hygiene: If possible, maintain public restrooms, or post where they are available for cyclists. Showers are always a big hit for bicyclists, and your local pool, community center, YWCA, or church may have some facilities that they are able to share with bicyclists. Also, bicyclists are usually traveling pretty light, so doing laundry becomes a very important task. If you do not have a laundry mat, some communities have made washers and dryers available through their local YMCA, church, community center, or store.
Bike Tools: Cyclists are often in need of some basic bike tools and supplies. These include things like tubes, spokes, oil, patch kits, etc. If you do not have a local bike shop, some communities stock a basic array of bicycle supplies in their hardware store. Make sure to let folks know about these products with a small sign in the window saying "basic bike parts available". Having bike pumps available at local gas stations or hardware stores for bicyclists to borrow is also a great service.
Accommodations: Encourage residents to join the Warm Showers List. The Warm Showers List is a directory of people across the world that offer their hospitality towards touring cyclists. The extent of the hospitality depends on the host and may range from simply a spot to pitch a tent to meals, a warm (hot!) shower, and a bed.
Community Resources: Tell the traveling cyclists about the resources your town provides. You can do this on your partner's websites and through materials distributed at key venues. At Adventure Cycling Association, we provide a pamphlet to cyclists that have a map of town and basic resources.
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