Aren’t camps inherently bike friendly? Why should campground operators even care? Some are better than others, but really most campgrounds bizarrely overlook the small improvements that could lead to attracting even more cyclists and add to their own PR efforts, too.
Over the past few years, many hotels have made efforts to increase their bike friendly status by adding various, sometimes superfluous, services and facilities. The result has generally been positive for the hotels and cyclists alike. Since many touring cyclists love to camp we thought it would be beneficial to look at what campgrounds could do to become more bicycle friendly, too.
What makes a campground bicyclist friendly?
This is one factor that’s hard to change. Either it’s the right spot or it’s not. A campground’s location along or near popular bicycle travel routes will lead us to choose it over others. It only stands to reason that if a camp is near a popular route they should do everything possible to attract passing bicycle tourists. That’s where the next few criteria come into play.
It’s amazing how many camping areas still don’t have this. Imagine traveling all day over hill and valley, arriving at your campsite to discover a nice place to prepare and eat a meal or simply relax. Now imagine trying to do the same while sitting on the bare ground. Not impossible, but definitely less comfortable. You could carry a folding table (we’ve seen this), although it seems over the top. A simple picnic table at each camp space makes all the difference.
Most camps (and even petrol stations), in Slovenia at least, have gotten the memo. Surprisingly camping areas in the rest of Europe are sometimes missing the boat on this one. Wifi is essential to guest satisfaction. If you don’t have it, we’re not even considering a stop. Almost everyone traveling by bicycle for any period of time needs easy and unrestricted access to the web. Route planning, Facebook, Twitter, email or blogs. They all need your attention, even when on a bicycle holiday.
Laundry and kitchen area
Just like the table thing, bicyclists need access to these basic facilities. Especially considering we can’t easily carry washing and extensive cooking equipment on our bikes. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Even a basic laundry sink, a small fridge and dish sink will do.
Secure covered bike parking
We have yet to see this properly implemented at any campground. If your camp has a secured area with overhead cover this will surely attract more bicyclists. We cyclists are protective of our steel framed steeds, and we would love a solid spot to secure them, even if only for one night.
Bike repair facility
Again, we haven’t yet seen this implemented properly at a camping site. A few trail side service facilities in Germany and Austria have what we’re looking for, but we’ve yet to see it at a camp. But, we can hope. A simple, self-service repair and maintenance station installed at a campground trying to attract bike tourist would pay for itself within one season, even if only in PR value. As traveling cyclists, we’re always looking for a convenient spot to clean/lube a chain, repair a flat, adjust brakes or derailleur. If you run a campground and you have some thing like this, let us know. We’ll come and tell the cycling world.
Have we missed one that’s important to you? Tell us which features and services are most likely to attract you to a campground.