Former Bicycle Story interviewee Russ Roca posted an excellent argument on the Path Less Pedaled site about a bike tourist’s economic benefit in a small, rural town, versus that of a car traveler. In short, he says that over the same 200 mile trip, bike tourists will have significantly more impact than car drivers. Whereas a car might have stop once, if at all, over that distance, loaded tourists will stop many times for food, overnight stays, resupplies, etc.
All of this is not to simply say “bikes are better.” Russ was inspired by he and Laura’s stay at Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, Montana, a facility built by the community for bike tourists along Adventure Cycling Association’s Northern Tier route. Russ thinks small towns, especially ones along major bike touring routes, would see a significant boost to their economy if they made similar efforts to accommodate tourists as the folks in Twin Bridges did.
Go read Russ’ post in full and be sure to check out his excellent hand-drawn, economics infographic.