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Simple things that encourage bicycle travel

Simple things that encourage bicycle travel

Encourage bicycle travel to encourage commerce

As bicyclists we travel slowly, requiring more time to cover a long distance than a car, bus or train. It is precisely in that slow travel that commerce can take hold.

As bicycle tourists, we sometimes take up 5 days to travel 300km. That’s 4 nights of lodging and at least 15 meals in addition to other attractions. On a bike, we can stop anytime we want. For anything. As we cycle along, the area around is much more approachable. We travel in a place, not through it. The pleasant pace of traveling by bicycle affords us every chance to literally stop and smell the flowers along a roadside, shop at a local market, enjoy a a museum previously unknown to us, eat at a roadside restaurant (we eat a lot!) and stay in local accommodations.

Compared with car, train or bus travel that is almost 5 times the economic impact over the same distance!

Did you know most touring cyclists tend to stop at the places that encourage them to feel welcome? When we stop, we spend money. Local communities need that influx of outside currency. Why not encourage us to stop?

Here’s a few things we have found that encourage us to stop and spend money. Remember, these are just our experiences. Your milage may vary.

Bicycle Parking
Easy and simple bicycle parking facilites are a low cost investment that small businesses and communities can invest in that will immediately show direct economic returns. It’s more likely that we will stop at a business or visit a town that has basic bicycle parking facilities. Hotels, restaurants and even town centers that install well thought, secure bicycle parking always feature high on our list of destinations. Given two otherwise identical hotels/restaurants, we would pick the place promoting bicycle parking every time.

bicycle parking at pragur trains station makes it easy to use the train to extend bicycle travel

Bicycle parking at Prague Train Station makes it easy to combine train and bicycle travel.

radpoint in gallneukirchen austria; bicycle tourism resources; R28 bik route

Radpoint- a self service bike parking station with inner tube vending, bicycle repair tools and an e-bike charging station.
Gallneukirchen Austria

Well placed bicycle parking can not only attract the lycra-clad and self-supported touring set travelling longer distances, but even folks who fall outside of the bicycle tourist category. Locals will be more inclined to travel by bike to their favorite restaurant or attraction if well implemented bicycle parking is available.

Not your typical cyclists; bicycle travel austria R2; two wheel travel

Not the typical image of cyclists. These gents were travelling by bicycle along the Austrian R2 bike route

Encourage bicycle travel. Bike parking at a local restaurant. Austria R13 bike Route. Two Wheel Travel

Bicycle parking at a local restaurant along the Austrian R2 route

Repair tools and pumps
Ever gotten a flat or mechanical breakdown and not had a means of repairing it? Yeah, its happened to all of us at one point. Even the best prepared sometimes forget. Instead of melting the soles of your shoes to patch a flat or trying to duct-tape a loose carrier into place, wouldn’t it be nice if some places had basic repair facilities available for passing cyclists? Don’t you think it would be really popular? Yeah, us too.

Rad Point. This is how communities can encourage bicycle travel and tourism- make bike travel easy, safe and fun.

A ‘Rad-point’ – self service bicycle station with inner tube vending, repair facilities and e-bike charging station.

Fortunately some places like this exist and they’re getting a lot of bike traffic. In Austria and Germany we’ve stopped at villages featuring “RadPoints”. Typically these have been in small towns. The basic RadPoints have inner tube vending, pumps, maps, and basic repair tools. Some even combine all this with pretty nice bike parking. What a great way to attract passing cyclists. It would be really great to see small businesses like hotels, restaurants and food shops add something like this even if on a small scale. Providing pumps, tools to loan and selling inner tubes would go a long way to attracting bicycle tourism.

Maps
Posting area bicycle maps in public view, outside your shop or business, lets us know you want us to stop. Small communities can even pool resources and place bicycle route maps or map boards in town squares featuring bicycle friendly businesses in the area. We will patronize those businesses. Post it. You’ll see!

Bicycle route signs attract bicycle tourists

Community provided bicycle map boards in Tabor Czech Republic. Highlighting routes and local points of interest

Well marked bike routes and signed roadways
Perhaps not the simplest of things to implement, but certainly the most effective way to encourage bicycle travel is a well marked network of bicycle routes. This is one element that is always nice to have no matter where your bike travels take you. Places like Czech Republic and Austria have long recognized this and their well developed cycle routes and signage reflect a strong commitment to bike travel. Slovenia is another up and coming player in bicycle travel. While the entire network isn’t as well marked as others, it is the fact that the Slovenes are beginning to make steps to attract bicycle tourism that is just as encouraging to us.

Bicycle route sign along R13 bicycle route Austria
Although we love maps of all shapes and sizes, we secretly want to travel in places that are easy to traverse simply by viewing the route signs from the saddle of our bikes. This trickles down to other impacts as well. Hotels, shops and restaurants along routes like Prague-Vienna Greenways benefit from the increased tourist traffic. If you’re listening Travel and Tourism boards, advocate for investment in well mapped/marked bicycle route and signage. You will see an influx of a whole new brand of tourist: the Bicyclist. According to a rather non-scientific bike travel poll that we’ve taken on this blog, marked and mapped long distance bike routes are one of the most important factors in determining where to travel by bicycle . Many European countries have done a fantastic job of this. Mark it. We will be there.

Cyclists Welcome. Tell us you’re bicycle friendly
Sometimes it’s as simple as posting a sign that says “Cyclists Welcome”. If your business wants cyclists to stop, you have to tell us. Either with an ‘old school’ sign or digital advertising. In Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Poland that is exactly what many hotels do. The Hotel organization Cykliste Vitani literally says “Cyclist’s Welcome”. We have stayed at several of these places. They can be found along main bicycle routes and by searching their website.

Pension Diana- Stekre, Czech Republic. A bicycle friendly Pension, located along the Prague to Vienna Greenway bicycle route. Czech Bike Route 11. Two Wheel Travel. Cykliste Vitani

Bicycle Route sign Slovenia; bike touring; two wheel travel

Bikes can revitalize communities by bringing new tourism to otherwise shrinking local and rural economies. Since we move at slow pace, bicycle tourists are likely to stop and spend money more often than if traveling by car, bus or train. Is your community encouraging bicyclists to stop and spend money? Perhaps they should be…

About Tyler Robertson

Passionate about bicycling, photography and great tacos, Tyler is always happiest when in the saddle. Now living in and exploring Eastern Europe by bicycle, he often spends time analyzing how bicycles can change the face of travel and the economic landscape while planning his schedule around bicycle trips (instead of the other way around). If you would like an opinion or contribution on any of the above, please connect on Google + or contact Tyler .

6 comments

  1. I love bicycling though I haven’t owned one in a long time. I agree that bicycling is travel in a place instead of through a place. Beautiful mode of transport…

  2. Many thanks for cykliste vitani web site !

  3. Maps to show us where things are (like the all important food shops and bakeries) are great. When you’re cycling in a new area its wonderful not to have to spend a lot of time and effort to find things. People in cars take this for granted, its quick and easy to find what you are looking for even if its several kilometers away when you have a motor to take you.

  4. When I traveled the Oregon coast, each hotel I stayed at either did their best to put me on the gorund floor, or let me use the service elevator if the regualr one was too small. And you are correct, a simple bike rack goes a long way inmy decision of where to stay.

  5. Reblogged this on 10000 Miles of Experiences, Adventures and Thoughts and commented:
    Worth thinking about if you own a business in an area that has a lot of cyclists!

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