The Value of cycle tourism

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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CJ
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The Value of cycle tourism

Postby CJ » 2 May 2012, 12:19pm

I know that cycling is of greater value to the tourism industry than is generally supposed, but I was nevertheless amazed by something I was told by a hotel proprietor on my recent CTC tour in Spain.

This is the hotel: Hacienda Minerva, a lovingly restored and converted farmhouse complete with olive-oil mill adjacent to one of Spain's longest Via Verde rail-trails. Check out the website. This is no bunkhouse for what the trade disparages as 'rucksack tourists', but a very comfortable and stylish four-star hotel complete with gourmet restaurant. It was one of the most expensive overnights on our tour - and worth every cent!

When Luis opened the hotel in 2008, he published two addresses, the road address and km 73.2 on the Vía Verde de la Subbética. People laughed: "whoever is going to arrive that way at a four-star hotel, on foot or by bike?" According to Luis: 40% of his guests do exactly that! And as for the 60% who arrive by motor vehicle, most of them also bring or rent bikes to ride up and down the trail, or at least go hiking along it. But the statistic that really startled me was that getting on for half of the guests arriving at a frankly rather expensive hotel, do so under their own power.
Chris Juden
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Richard Barrett
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby Richard Barrett » 2 May 2012, 1:37pm

We opened our 4 star B&B here on the Isle of Harris last year and have had quite a few cyclists stopping over - albeit only for one night as most are working their way up the length of the Outer Hebrides. As such they will never be a big part of our business, but we love having them in the house.

I know the perception is that cyclists are skinflints and do it on the cheap by using hostels and camping, but it seems to me there is a growing popultation of possibly older, more affluent, touring cyclists looking for quality accommodation and good food. We try to prpvide both and being a 'green' accommodation provider, we even give them a free packed lunch for arriving under their own steam!. You can find us at http://www.lochedge.co.uk

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georgew
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby georgew » 2 May 2012, 5:27pm

A golden opportunity was lost in Scotland when Beeching closed a huge swathe of the railway system. These could have been used to create a nation-wide network of cycle trails which in time would have attracted hordes of cycle-tourists to Scotland. Such a safe and family friendly network would have in turn attracted Hotels, hostels, and all sorts of businesses which would have generated even more cyclists. Such a shame that no-one in power at the time had the foresight to see this potential.

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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby Richard Barrett » 3 May 2012, 9:01am

It's taken a while, but that's currently under way George with the new path that runs north from Connel Bridge using the old line up towards Ballahulish. There are also miles of old road that runs parallel to new roads on Skye and elsewhere which could be brought into use as a traffic-free cycle path - and much needed too on those busy roads.

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patricktaylor
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby patricktaylor » 3 May 2012, 9:14am

CJ wrote:... But the statistic that really startled me was that getting on for half of the guests arriving at a frankly rather expensive hotel, do so under their own power.

I don't know the area but it doesn't startle me very much. Cycle touring can be comparatively cheap, leaving money aside for life's other pleasures... when we go cycle touring we sometimes camp, and other times we enjoy a bit of luxury (not fancy hotels in our case but quality B&Bs). The pleasure of the accommodation is all the greater for having cycled to it.

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CJ
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby CJ » 3 May 2012, 12:46pm

This could also be evidence of cycling's shifting demographic, with motoring and cycling analagous to white and wholemeal bread. The first is initially a luxury affordable by only the rich, to which the poor hence aspire and ultimately can also afford, whereupon the intelligensia rediscover the healthy benefits of peasant food and labour!
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patricktaylor
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby patricktaylor » 3 May 2012, 12:52pm

Cycle tourists are (apparently) made most welcome in the poorest places. Not for their money either.

hweed
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby hweed » 4 May 2012, 5:02pm

Way back in the early 90s I was travelling down to Porthmadoc with my bike and using it as luggage carrier. It was in the days of guards vans!! There were a number of cyclists also travelling on that line and they were from several different countries. The guard left us to load them in ourselves in the correct order for people getting off and several of us stayed in with the bikes chatting and swapping touring tales. Had the railways pushed this sort of thing I think they could have had a really good thing going now. I've never minded paying for my bike on a train. Contrast this with a couple of years later when I was travelling on one of those horrible Sprinters down to Cardiff with just the one skinny space down the side of a carriage for a single bike. I had a right row with the guard because he "had" to be able to shut the roller door and and my front wheel was sticking out an inch. He threatened to throw me and the bike off at Abergavenny - charming, single female travelling alone, thanks. I told him he made me ashamed of my 25% Welsh blood!

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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby eileithyia » 4 May 2012, 7:15pm

It might not be cycle touring but go to Majorca in the spring and you could not underestimate the value of cycle 'tourism'..... hotels, cafes. bars, shops, cycle hire, cycle clothing.
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horizon
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby horizon » 4 May 2012, 9:10pm

Last summer I had occasion to cycle through Burley in the New Forest. I know the area is popular for cycling but this little village was positively heaving with bicycles. You could see an entire month's sightings of tandems and trailers in a morning. The hire shop (from which most of them came) was doing a roaring trade. There are no doubt many other cycling honey pots in the UK as well.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby thirdcrank » 4 May 2012, 9:22pm

hweed wrote: ... I had a right row with the guard because he "had" to be able to shut the roller door and and my front wheel was sticking out an inch. He threatened to throw me and the bike off at Abergavenny - charming, single female travelling alone, thanks. I told him he made me ashamed of my 25% Welsh blood!


What is it about these people?

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foxyrider
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby foxyrider » 4 May 2012, 10:45pm

I've stayed in a b&b in in Carlisle where the proprietor reckoned End to End traffic made up 70% of her trade, considering there were at least ten rooms thats a lot of contribution to the local economy!

My travels around Germany have had me staying in various hotels / b&b's across the country, cyclists are always welcomed and its unusual if i am the only self propelled arrival. Indeed on the Rhein there has often been flocks of cyclists arriving! By comparison when camping the self propelled are sometimes almost ignored and are clearly not valued.

Cyclists very often spend more during the day than either walkers or car drivers in cafes and shops the former preferring to be away from civilastion, the latter taking food from home so often the only contribution to the local economy will be a grudging payment of car parking fees. Bike riders are much more likely to stop at a cafe, use the local shops, even stop for a pint!

Cyclists using real beds generally have good appetites so why wouldn't we want to buy good food at the accomodation? Some hoteliers value us, some never will, maybe we should start a similar list to those for campsites with recommendations - hey didn't the CTC used to publish such a list?
Convention? what's that then?
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bluemint
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby bluemint » 5 May 2012, 12:42am

I've found that bike campers are always welcome and they generally admire you for making your way there under your own steam and are glad of your custom. And I always like to sample the local pubs.

I'd like to echo the points made about trains as well. I've had the privilege of riding with my bike in the guard's van (?) about 10 years ago due to the kindness of the conductor. I've no idea if these still exist or if they still do it but the stupid little spaces they have on long distance services like Virgin are a joke.

mark a.
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby mark a. » 5 May 2012, 6:46pm

I wonder if anything like that might work here. It would be nice to think it could.

Perhaps the hotel would have to be aimed more towards the wealthy MAMIL roadies with their carbon road bikes, maybe near Box Hill so they can "do the Olympic route" or something like that.

edwin
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Re: The Value of cycle tourism

Postby edwin » 6 May 2012, 6:59am

Hi,

being German, it's not new to me. At our well renowned river cycle-paths (like Danube,Altmühl,...) most of the accomodation in rural areas is taken by cyclists. Cheap B&Bs or expansive hotels.
The main reason for creating and signposting cycle-paths is raising business.
Last year I rode the Berlin-Usedom with my wife. It's running throught some of the poorests areas of Germany. At some places I had the impression, agriculture and the cycle path were the only chances to make some money. I don't know what they do in winter.