23 comments


  • I laughed out loud at “Go to bed early!”

    August 08, 2011
  • Ty Morrison-Heath

    Yesterday while on a touring trip from Talkeetna, AK to Denali National Park we stopped in Cantwell. Out of the paying customers 9 out of 12 were bike tourists. We stop and spend money at small towns so much more often and if people would simply set themselves up to cater slightly to us they would reap the rewards!

    August 08, 2011
  • Andy

    This is precisely the approach used on the Elroy-Sparta trail in Wisconsin, where the stream of cyclists on the approximately 100 mile rail-trail provides an important source of revenue for the small towns (populations of 1500-10,000) abutting the trail.

    August 08, 2011
  • Silvia

    I know when I went cross-country, we were in an independently owned restaurant for breakfast and dinner just about every night! And it’s not just small towns: Utica, NY looks like it has seen better days and it’s on the Erie Canal route. (I was driving through on my way to Cooperstown)

    August 08, 2011
  • David Irvine

    Last Monday 1 Aug while returning to Nashville TN from Elkins WV I made a detour to Damascus VA to ride a few miles of the Virginia Creeper trail on my old beater bike. I stayed at the Lazy Fox B&B where the long-time proprietor Mrs Ginnie Adams, 87, told me that the creation of the 34-mile Virginia Creeper multiuse trail out of the former Virginia & Carolina RR ROW transformed Damascus pulling the town out of decades of economic doldrums. Part of the AT goes thru here too. A friendly town now doing well catering to the needs and interests of visitors using a great trail.

    August 08, 2011
  • […] to cycle tourists going to and from the Ochoco Mountains and Bend? Or what if there were “bike camps” in the small communities from Bend to John Day, Oregon like the one Russ Roca from The Path […]

    August 08, 2011
  • Dan

    Down here in New Zealand the government has recognised the economics of this and has helped build some new rides. I think I heard them quote that 50,000 bike tourists visit here each year and their length of visit is much longer than other tourists.If you’re interested here is the webpage

    http://www.nzcycletrail.com/

    August 08, 2011
  • […] Hand-Drawn Infographic Shows How Bike Touring Benefits Rural Economies (Path Less Pedaled) […]

    August 09, 2011
  • […] Bicycle Story interviewee Russ Roca posted an excellent argument on the Path Less Pedaled site about a bike tourist’s economic benefit in a small, rural town, versus that of a car […]

    August 09, 2011
  • Nate

    Another case in point: the Katy Trail through central Missouri. The Trail follows the Missouri River – not the Interstate. So you have to ask yourself: how many of the small towns along the Trail would ever even SEE a tourist if the Katy hadn’t been built?

    August 09, 2011
  • Steve Cifka

    Russ,
    Wonderul article! Reminds me of some of Wendell Berry’s essays on how small farms benefit communities in similar ways rather than a big industrial fuel dependent mega farm. Have you read his work?
    I think you are really onto something with your new drawing/writing. I would buy and treasure anything you publish!

    August 10, 2011
  • […] at the Path Less Pedaled blog, Russ Roca writes and illustrates why bicycle touring is better economically for small towns and […]

    August 10, 2011
  • […] Worried about the economics of small towns? Bromptonite Russ Roca says tap into bicycle tourism. (Path Less Pedaled) […]

    August 24, 2011
  • […] Fact: Cycling Helps Rural Communities Posted on October 11, 2011 by Will var addthis_product = ‘wpp-261′; var addthis_config = {“data_track_clickback”:true};Ok, here’s a real fact today: riding a bike helps rural communities. It’s something that Russ from Path Less Pedaled has laid out pretty clearly. […]

    October 11, 2011
  • Stuart Knoles

    There may be a “build and they will come” impetus to some degree – for those who have the insight. One extreme fantasy (of mine) could be a self-supported exclusive non-motorized route mutually supporting a variety of levels and modes of lodging, entertainment, dinning, and merchandizing along that route. Although many of the facilities could have access to the outside world, the route itself could be its own world experience. What a trip. A new reason for a small town to be.

    February 27, 2012
  • Amy

    Great article. Check out RAGBRAI an annual 20,000+ traveling through small towns across. Iowa. Its so much fun, and the boost to the local economies is astounding…my family does it every year.

    Bicycles! FTW!

    February 27, 2012
  • […] Not only is bicycle travel efficient, it is inexpensive and fun!  And bike touring is an independent way to travel. Alaska suffers from the bane of industrial tourism; tourists are funneled into corporate restaurants, hotels, and venues, making it harder for local tourism businesses to survive and thrive. Touring on bikes supports relocalization. […]

    June 21, 2012
  • […] Podcast is currently on tour and emailed us this photo the other day. It is a dry erase board from Bike Camp in Twin Bridges Montana. I made this little sketch and left this note nearly a YEAR ago and […]

    July 05, 2012
  • […] has flourished since the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway opened for business in 2009. With the economic boost that comes with opening up to bicycle tourism, public and private agencies across Oregon are […]

    January 31, 2013
  • Eric in Seattle

    Nice article. Just one style comment, though. I had to click the link to see what state this was in. Might be nice at first mention to say “Twin Bridges, Montana” rather than just “Twin Bridges”. You guys travel around a whole lot, and sometimes it takes me a minute to figure out exactly where you’re writing about.

    February 18, 2014
  • Sean

    As Nate mentions above, the Katy Trail accross MO is a good example of bike tourism keeping sme small towns alive, and in some cases vibrant. Lots of litte resturaunts along the way, especially on the St Louis side. We talked to a few people along the way that said the local bussinesses need to do a better job of advertising on the informanional boards along the way. A good opportunity for the Chamber of Commerce to get involved.

    February 18, 2014
  • Greg Beardslee

    Really I think this is a taste of our future. And similar for mountain biking too.

    February 18, 2014
  • Fun to read about the Bike camp, We have been running a Bicycle exclusive camping option around our barn in central Washington state (Winthrop WA). We get about 100 cyclists a year staying with us at our “Bicycle Barn Camping” and it’s always fun to meet the bicycle tourists.

    February 18, 2014

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