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Bicycle Touring: The Future of Travel?

by Rick on November 9, 2010

We’re big fans of bicycles here at SustainAbler, whether for fun or function. It’s hard to beat a mode of transportation that saves energy, doesn’t burn fossil fuels, but does burn calories. What’s not to like?

So we really liked this article from David Kroodsma over at HuffPost, kicking out eight signs that two-wheeled travel adventure is the trend of the future.

Bicycle Touring: the future of travel?

Image courtesy of gabriel amadeus via flickr.com

According to Kroodsma, bike tourism is taking off in spite of (because of?) the economic downturn. For cycling advocates, the signs are encouraging:

1. Major Cycling Events Continue to Grow: David Harrenstein, executive director of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association (NBTDA), told us that attendance at major recreational cycling events has been going up. According to a recent study by Bikes Belong, these events (such as Ride the Rockies or RAGBRAI) are a huge economic boon: in 2008, 1,700 road riding events in the U.S. drew more than one million participants, raised more than 200 million for charities, and generated an estimated 572 million in direct economic impact.
2. Commercial Tours Surge: Despite the downturn, bike tour operators are doing great. “Our business has seen a 20 percent increase from 2009 to 2010 and we are off to a good start for the 2011 season,” said Tania Worgull, president of Trek Travel, which operates tours in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. “We continue to add new destinations each year to accommodate the growing interest in bike tours.”

Hop over to the article to check out the rest of the list – including a couple shout-outs to mountain biking. Kroodsma’s list comes courtesy of Adventure Cycling, the organization behind the TransAmerica Trail (which happens to pass about a block from my house – I’m dying to ride out my front door in southwest Virginia and pedal to Oregon).

I’ll be honest – one of my favorite ways to see the sights is astride the saddle of my trusty 1991 Trek 520. The pace is slow enough to really see things, but fast enough to cover some ground. Instead of blasting through an area, you truly experience it, the weather, the little towns, the people, and yes, the hills. On all my driving trips through the UK, I’ve never been asked to the pub; when cycling, I lost count of the offers. Even better, you come back from vacation in killer shape – if a rather funny bike glove tan.

Our family (including 7-year-old) is hoping to pull off a British bike adventure next summer, cruising down the east coast of England. How about you – anyone taking a bicycle tour in the near future? Florida is a good winter option … .

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Thoughts

Nathan wrote:
November 09, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I have biked for years. The slower pace is great for sight seeing and pondering…

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