Bicycle touring has long had an honored place in the tourism economy and culture. But new styles of bike tourism have exploded onto the scene: bike “overnights”, mountain biking get-aways, bike hotels, gravel road rides, and electric bike tours are increasing in popularity. Recognizing that bike tourism’s star is rising, the Bicycle Tour Network is holding their 2017 National Bicycle Tourism Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida (St. Petes beach) on November 8-11.
Bike-friendly cities, single-track trails, group rides and scenic back roads where cyclists can roll along at their own pace aren’t just good for the people who live in those places, they also attract tourists. And conference organizers recognize that visitors on bikes means money for local economies.
The event is designed to allow bicycle event professionals, destination marketing organizations and tourism professionals to meet and network with each other. The conference includes lectures, interactive sessions, group discussions and breakouts with a variety of topics related to the successful and safe administration of cycling events and tours and promotion of bicycle tourism. The conference also features a vendor expo giving companies an opportunity to connect directly to the ride directors and bicycle tourism professionals in attendance
“When the conference was first held, the purpose was to bring together just multi-day bicycle tour event directors to share knowledge and help others who had an interest in starting events,” said T.J. Juskiewicz, president of the Bicycle Tour Network and director of the annual RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) event. “That focus remains today, but the Bicycle Tour Network has broadened the scope to include single day and weekend recreational bicycle events and festivals, tour operators and travel and tourism officials that highlight their cycling opportunities.”
To top off the educational sessions, a variety of networking and social events are planned.
Happy hours, a beach party and dinner, morning rides and runs on the beach plus a Saturday casual group ride to Fort DeSoto Park, hosted by Bike Florida, are on the docket to make sure there’s plenty of mixing, mingling, and peddling.
Learn more about the Bicycle Tourism Conference here.