Bicyclists and North Carolina's mountains can be a natural fit

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.soc' started by O. Epstein, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. O. Epstein

    O. Epstein Guest

    A money-spinner for the west

    http://www.newsobserver.com/print/thursday/opinion/story/1386772p-7509991c.html

    By CHRISTOPHER A. COOPER


    CULLOWHEE -- Outdoor recreation and the myriad of attractions that the
    mountains of Western North Carolina have to offer draw thousands of
    people annually to our neck of the woods. Although hiking, skiing and
    whitewater sports have long been touted as important recreational
    opportunities, many people come to the region because of its
    reputation as an excellent place to ride bikes.

    Bike magazine recently named Asheville one of five best mountain
    biking towns in the country. Tsali Recreation Area near Bryson City
    has several nationally recognized mountain biking trails, and the
    DuPont State Forest attracts a number of visitors who enjoy its unique
    slickrock trails. Western North Carolina also is home to some of the
    best road riding in the nation, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to
    less-known country roads snaking along ridges and river valleys.

    In addition to being a point of pride for many residents, bicycling
    also is a major economic engine. A recent study by the state
    Department of Transportation found that the sport brings at least $60
    million a year to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More than 1,400
    jobs have been created to support the more than 40,000 people who
    bicycle in the Outer Banks region. A similar study found that
    bicycling contributes more than $1 billion annually to Colorado's
    economy. That's "billion" with a "B."

    Although there has not been a comprehensive study of the economic
    impact of cycling in Western North Carolina, there is little reason to
    believe the results would look much different.

    • • •

    Why is bicycling so good for the economy? First, and most obviously,
    bicycling supports a number of specialized businesses, including local
    bike shops, bike manufacturers (such as the Fletcher-based Cane Creek
    Cycling Components) and other suppliers of bikes and bike-related
    products. Money spent at these shops and manufacturers also has
    indirect effects. For example, if someone spends $5 at Motion Makers
    Bicycle Shop in Sylva, the shop owner may have extra money to spend
    next door on a pizza, a CD or a cup of coffee.

    Bicycling also draws tourists who spend money on hotels, restaurants
    and a variety of other vacation-related expenses. These expenditures
    often are considerable, as bicycling tourists have relatively high
    incomes. Half of the cyclists who visit the Outer Banks have an annual
    income of more than $100,000.

    An example of the potential impact of bicycling can be seen in the
    Jackson County town of Cashiers. This April, the town of about 1,330
    people hosted the Tour de Cashiers, an organized bike ride with almost
    400 participants. People from all over the Southeast participated. The
    hotels were full. Restaurants had waiting lists and the shops
    experienced higher-than-normal sales volume.

    Similar examples can be seen with the annual Assault on Mount
    Mitchell, which starts in Spartanburg, S.C., winding through North
    Carolina's foothills before its grueling conclusion on the highest
    peak in the Eastern United States, and with the annual Cane Creek
    series, an affiliation of cycling events across the Carolinas.

    • • •

    What can be done to expand upon the positive benefits of bicycling in
    Western North Carolina? The DOT study indicates that for bicycling to
    thrive the area must be considered "bicycle-friendly." People like to
    bicycle in places that are safe and fun. This means local governments
    must invest money in bicycle paths, bicycle lanes and roads that are
    wide enough to accommodate bikes.

    It also means that people in the area must recognize that bicycling is
    a boon to the economy, and therefore make cyclists feel welcome on and
    off the road. If bicyclists are made to feel unwelcome, it is unlikely
    that they will return.

    There is no single silver bullet that will bring economic development
    to Western North Carolina. For the region to thrive, local and state
    governments must engage in a multifaceted plan to retain existing
    businesses and bring in new ones. A portion of this plan should
    capitalize on the considerable appeal of cycling in the region.

    (Christopher A. Cooper is an assistant professor of political science
    and public affairs at Western Carolina University and a social science
    analyst with the university's Center for Regional Development.)
     
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  2. jem

    jem Guest

    O. Epstein wrote:
    > A money-spinner for the west
    >
    > http://www.newsobserver.com/print/thursday/opinion/story/1386772p-7509991c.html
    >
    > By CHRISTOPHER A. COOPER


    SNIP!

    > million a year to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More than 1,400
    > jobs have been created to support the more than 40,000 people who
    > bicycle in the Outer Banks region.


    SNIP!

    1,400 jobs? I didn't think 1,400 people even lived in the Outer Banks.
    But it was in a newspaper, so it must be true.
     
  3. Tommy Taylor

    Tommy Taylor Guest

    > CULLOWHEE -- Outdoor recreation and the myriad of attractions that the
    > mountains of Western North Carolina have to offer draw thousands of
    > people annually to our neck of the woods. Although hiking, skiing and
    > whitewater sports have long been touted as important recreational
    > opportunities, many people come to the region because of its
    > reputation as an excellent place to ride bikes.


    Can this information be tied into a good MTB ride? Ride west from Cullowee
    towards Cashiers. Somewhere turn left..towards Caney Fork ...maybe go
    towards Judaculla Rock...or I think north...take dirt roads then fire
    roads...go 6-7 miles and you are on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Maybe a 3000
    foot climb in elevation? Check with the experts in East Laporte. It was
    done in a VW in 72.
     
  4. Scott Eiler

    Scott Eiler Guest

    jem wrote:

    > O. Epstein wrote:
    >
    >> A money-spinner for the west
    >>
    >> http://www.newsobserver.com/print/thursday/opinion/story/1386772p-7509991c.html
    >>
    >> More than 1,400
    >> jobs have been created to support the more than 40,000 people who
    >> bicycle in the Outer Banks region.

    >
    > 1,400 jobs? I didn't think 1,400 people even lived in the Outer Banks.


    If the Outer Banks are anything like all those other touristy places
    I've ever been, there might actually be more jobs than people in the
    region, but they're part-time jobs, not especially lucrative, and not
    something to brag about.

    --
    -------- Scott Eiler B{D> -------- http://www.eilertech.com/ --------

    "It seemed an unlikely spot for a sensitive songwriter from Greenwich
    Village... She ordered the 20-ounce steak."
    -- Lin Brehmer, Chicago DJ, describing his meeting in a steakhouse
    with Suzanne Vega.
     
  5. RE/
    > more than 40,000 people who
    >bicycle in the Outer Banks region.


    I've been vacationing in the Outer Banks for over 20 years.

    I *guess* there's more 40,000 people total... because somebody who should know
    says so....but intuitively, it seems like a *lot* of people...much less people
    who bicycle.

    I'd also opine that the Outer Banks that I know (Kill Devil Hills to Hatteras)
    is the worst place for riding a bike that I've ever been to: high winds, sand,
    speeding cars, little or no shoulder, no hills....
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  6. Bob Burns

    Bob Burns Guest

    (Pete Cresswell) wrote:
    > RE/
    >> more than 40,000 people who
    >> bicycle in the Outer Banks region.

    >
    > I've been vacationing in the Outer Banks for over 20 years.
    >
    > I *guess* there's more 40,000 people total... because somebody who
    > should know says so....but intuitively, it seems like a *lot* of
    > people...much less people who bicycle.
    >
    > I'd also opine that the Outer Banks that I know (Kill Devil Hills to
    > Hatteras) is the worst place for riding a bike that I've ever been
    > to: high winds, sand, speeding cars, little or no shoulder, no
    > hills....


    I've biked part of that and agree- boring! Too flat, high humidity, nothing
    to look at. I got off the road in some spots and it was a lot nicer.

    --
    Bob Burns
    Mill Hall PA
    [email protected]
     
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