Author Topic: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town  (Read 2740 times)

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Offline aggie

Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« on: December 25, 2018, 09:56:36 am »
There is a nice story in Outside magazine on the impact bikers and hikers have on small towns when the route takes them through or near them.    https://www.outsideonline.com/2376136/continental-divide-trail-towns
Although the story doesn't say how much additional income it brings into the town it does imply that it has definitely helped the community.  Might be a good story to relay to small town along ACA's routes.  Even providing a few basic services helps bring in some additional revenue that otherwise wouldn't be there.

Oops.  Fixed the link.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2018, 08:20:44 pm by aggie »

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2018, 06:29:45 pm »
Looks like that link is wonky, this one should work:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2376136/continental-divide-trail-towns

Offline JHamelman

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2018, 08:31:42 am »
Thanks for sharing the Outside article. As the article implies but doesn't state outright, Atlantic City, WY is not only on the CDT, it is also on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.


We actually have a whole section on our website devoted to the economic impact of bicycle travel (which extends to other foot-powered travel such as hiking) on our Building Bike Tourism pages. There are links to studies that quantified the effect in various places across the country and around the world as well as tips for communities looking to support bicycle travel. It's a real thing.




Jennifer
« Last Edit: December 26, 2018, 09:05:04 am by JHamelman »
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Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2018, 09:45:40 am »
Some people apparently still don't buy it.  During the first of what would turn out to be three stays at the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, MT (on the Trans Am route) I got to chat with one of the people who helped make it happen. He asked us to make sure we filled out the survey card they provide, which asks, among other things, for an estimate of how much you spent. He said the information was necessary because some town officials didn't believe the facility generated sufficient revenue to make the maintenance expense worth it. Not only did we provide an estimate, we included receipts where possible. Between lunch out, groceries and adult beverages for dinner, doing laundry, breakfast and food for the lonely ride to Butte the next day, we dropped at least $100.

Great facility, BTW. I've spent a total of five nights there. The riverside camp itself has lush grass, a screened shelter with furniture and electrical outlets, plumbed restroom, shower, cooking area sheltered from the wind and a great camp sink.  The small town has just about everything you could need, including a library with Internet access and a good grocery store. Make sure to leave a donation in the iron ranger.

Offline aggie

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2018, 12:37:49 pm »
Unfortunately the need to constantly justify spending money on services for bicyclists (and others) is a never ending battle.  Politicians don't receive votes from people passing through so they are always looking for ways to get the local vote and spending money on bicycle infrastructure when they don't see immediate feedback can be a be a hard sell.  I remember the owner of the bike shop in Newton, KS telling me how he had to go to city hall with receipts from people that stopped at his shop.  Only after the politicians got a grasp of how much money was spent in town did they realize how improving cycling infrastructure actually benefited the town.  A while back someone from Pittsburgh, KS was looking for suggestions on how to improve their infrastructure for cyclists on the TA.  (I did a search but couldn't locate the thread.)  I wonder how much the town improved its infrastructure and how much the estimated monetary benefit to the town.  Even in towns I don't spend the night I spend money in many of the small towns I pass through.  Whether it's for a cold drink, snack, breakfast, or lunch. 

My significant other used to work for the Small Business Administration and she can tell you how just a small increase in money coming into a small business can be the difference between staying open or closing.  I wonder how difficult it would be to set up a web site where cyclists could "document" how much money they spent in each town they passed through.  Especially for the ACA routes.  I'm sure this kind of information would get the attention of town managers.  I've heard that towns in Iowa compete to be placed on the RAGBRAI route.  They do it because the see a lots of money being spent in their town. 

Offline canalligators

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2018, 08:11:47 pm »
I would expect my elected officials to justify any government expenses, especially in small governments with very little money to work with.  That's their job.  Sure, there can be more to quality of life than balancing the books, but this is a service that the taxpayers won't be using. 

Offline aggie

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2018, 12:59:07 pm »
I suppose it is ok with elected officials if the few small businesses in a small town close due to a lack of customers.  All the tax revenue and jobs they created are gone so they have to make due with less.  It is easy to justify not spending taxpayer dollars when any return on investment is difficult to justify.   How many small towns have you traveled through that only have closed storefronts?  Who is now paying taxes on the closed business/building?  Can't tell you how many notices for sale of property by the local authorities for unpaid taxes I've seen.  These buildings become rundown and discourage anyone from stopping or new businesses from opening.  Ever traveled through a small town where the shoulders are in such disrepair they are unrideable yet the main road has a smooth new surface?  The town saved money (no one in town uses the shoulder) yet I don't stop since I want to put the bad pavement behind me as quick as possible.  Don't get me wrong, I don't support spending tax dollars when there will not be any value to the community.  If my elected officials can make a small investment in infrastructure that brings in more revenue than the cost I'm all for it whether or not I would use the infrastructure.  I benefit by the town having even more money to spend on the things I do use. 

I currently live in a small town that raised its taxes because it doesn't have enough businesses to pay the taxes it needs to function.  Services have suffered and the infrastructure (roads, parks, etc) is falling apart.  I'm all for the town spending some money to keep and attract tax paying businesses. 

Offline zzzz

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2018, 06:08:08 pm »
The point/counterpoint between Aggie & Canalligators on the proper role of government spending is one that will never have a uncontested consensus. But in order to bump it in cyclists favor, the local folks have to at least recognize we are there.

The people in the Outside article recognize the folks coming thru are making an impact because the town has only a couple dozen inhabitants. But I have noted on many occasions when I am passing thru even pretty small towns how few of the locals who I talk to are even aware that a published cycling route goes thru their town. This happened most frequently on the Sierra Cascades and the Great Parks North/south routes but also happened occasionally on the TransAm.

I have no idea how to fix this. If more store owners kept the log books you are asked to sign on the TransAm, that would be great but that’s not up to us. I do see the ACA route stickers on the occasional store front and they always get my attention and mention them when I stop at a those stores. Maybe ACA wants to include 2 or 3 stickers w each map set they sell so riders inclined to offer them to places they stop at can do a little (cycling) proselytizing. It’s not much of an idea but anything that raises our profile helps in making the argument that cyclists are a worthwhile draw.

Pete



Offline canalligators

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2018, 11:54:38 am »
I didn’t mean to imply that they shouldn’t invest.  Just that the governments should manage their expenses and justify the spending.  I’m supportive of the interested parties making the case for public investment.  There are fiscal conservatives who don’t think government has a place there, I’m not one of them.  But I respect their right to disagree.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2018, 05:51:49 pm »
I would expect my elected officials to justify any government expenses, especially in small governments with very little money to work with.  That's their job.  Sure, there can be more to quality of life than balancing the books, but this is a service that the taxpayers won't be using.

As a fairly strong financial conservative, I agree with the thought.  However, sometimes some money spent where NO local taxpayers are using the service actually bring in more money to the local tax base that is actually spent.  Tourist related area are prime examples.  This is because of the increased tax revenue (including a minor tax multiplier effect) the tourists may bring in when shopping, thus the need to "prove" with receipts.

I don't know what Twin Bridges spend annually on the maintenance so perhaps if the budget is tight, start making the donation a small fee, i.e. if it costs $1000 to maintain and 250 cyclists stay there every night, charge $2-$3 per person per night.  Sure it is not as good as free, but I would much rather pay $3 than have no place to stay.

Just my opinion, John

P.S. It really is a very nice park.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 11:49:07 am »
I have not been on the Greater Allegheny Passage website in long time but they used to have a lot of stuff on how each hamlet on the route could maximize the economic benefit of being on the GAP.  I think they called it "Becoming a Trail Town".  It looked to me like someone  had done a lot of economic analysis on bicycle traffic.
Danno

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2019, 08:58:47 am »
I have not been on the Greater Allegheny Passage website in long time but they used to have a lot of stuff on how each hamlet on the route could maximize the economic benefit of being on the GAP.  I think they called it "Becoming a Trail Town".  It looked to me like someone  had done a lot of economic analysis on bicycle traffic.

It's still there:

https://gaptrail.org/explore/trail-towns

The manual linked to at the bottom of the page is some 50 pages long.

Offline StuartN

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2019, 07:32:32 pm »
I have not been on the Greater Allegheny Passage website in long time but they used to have a lot of stuff on how each hamlet on the route could maximize the economic benefit of being on the GAP.  I think they called it "Becoming a Trail Town".  It looked to me like someone  had done a lot of economic analysis on bicycle traffic.

It's still there:

https://gaptrail.org/explore/trail-towns

The manual linked to at the bottom of the page is some 50 pages long.
That manual's a pretty good read. A lot of those ideas could be used in any small town.

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Offline TCS

Re: Impact of Bikers (and hikers) on a small town
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2019, 11:58:04 am »
I think of all the goofy statues and quirky attractions small towns erect to get folks to pull off and stop for a bit.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."