Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Bikes keep this town alive

Why would residents voice anger towards the people that help keep its town alive? For Jim Thorpe, Penn., that's the question a recent article asks. Apparently, this town of less than 5,000 people, thrives on its bike tourists, but there are some residents who detest this fact.

The article asks: Would they rather it stay the depressed coal mining town it once was? Why not make use of those old mining and timber roads no longer used? Since they're already cut into the woodlands, there's no added cost to create the tourism. It's a natural progression.

But some people just like to keep things the way they've always been. They don't want strangers filling up their restaurants and clogging their streets. But would they really rather see their town die? I doubt it. Maybe they just need to be reminded of the benefits.

Which is why this article caught my eye. Obviously, I was attracted to the article because of its focus on biking. But it also points out a few interesting details:

_Studies, such as one done in 1997 by the Travel Industry Association of America and another by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, supports the idea that biking can boost an economy.
_Mountain biking is one of the most popular adventure activities in the United States, and 60 million adult Americans bicycle each year.
_Bicycling tourism helps create jobs and revenue for communities like Jim Thorpe, contributing as much as $133 billion to the U.S. Economy.

Who knew my little Trek 4300, which cost about $600 when I bought it four years ago, added to such a big impact? I never really thought about this before. I just thought about the physical and mental health benefits, not the financial ones.

But if you take a look at research the OIF did alone, and you realize, I'm just one of the more than a million residents participating in cycling activities in just one state (It says 27 percent of Arizonans ride.), and that's just one relatively inexpensive bike I'm talking about, the economics of the numbers stagger the mind.

I must say, the reasons to ride just keep getting better and better.

Blog Page Update: If you click on my profile page, you'll see I've added a Reading List of blogs I follow. If you click on the links, you might find something of interest to you as well. Enjoy!

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