Archived Story

If you build it, they will come

Published 5:34pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The roads abounded with bicyclists last weekend, as riders with Easter Seals/UCP’s fundraiser Ride Without Limits poured into town from out of town. Saturday morning, they started in Washington, traversing through Beaufort County, riding into Martin and Pitt counties to circle their way back to Washington.

There were 200 riders, with support teams and family and friends in tow, and, while the cyclists added nice little splashes of color along our eastern North Carolina roads, they also brought us something else: income.

The interesting thing about cyclists (at least those who travel to weekend rides across the state) is that their incomes are generally upwards of $100,000 a year, according to one ride organizer. They’re the people who can afford to buy the gear, which is not cheap, and make the trips, which can also be costly.

Now, according to this organizer, if a town or a region was to build a cycling-friendly reputation, the cyclists will come. If a town or region was to enact cycling-friendly initiatives, the cyclists will come. If a town or region was to make it clear to cyclists that their safety is important, the cyclists will come. And with the cyclists come expendable income to be spent at hotels, restaurants and shops.

“If you have a place where they want to ride, you are going to be able to draw a huge economic boon,” our cycling source said.

Beaufort County already has it going on, as far as cyclists are concerned. Its flat, scenic landscape with water views makes for easy and interesting long-distance rides, which is really the stuff of many weekend cyclists’ dreams. But imagine if bike lanes suddenly started cropping up on the roadways and bike racks magically appeared here and there, those cyclists’ dreams could very well become our reality — the reality of thriving weekend tourist trade.

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