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.
I rely on Google for too much, arguably. My email, my calendar, the analytics for this site, searching the Internets. Now, thanks to their mad attempt to scan every published document in existence, I can use Google to get cutting-edge bike touring tips from 1972.
Laura and Russ of The Path Less Pedaled (two previous Bicycle Story interviewees) posted a link on Twitter to a Google books scan of the April 1972 issue of Popular Science. The issue contains an article by A.J. Hand with the straight-forward title “Bicycle Camping–What you need to know to join the fun.”
Laura and Russ. Photo by Russ Roca.
Over the past two years Laura Crawford and Russ Roca have ridden thousands of miles around America, exploring its nooks and crannies, meeting its people, and documenting their adventures on their website, The Path Less Pedaled. Though a multi-year bike tour already sets them apart from the average tourist, Laura and Russ’ trip is that much more unique because it is open ended. Before taking their first pedal strokes away from their California home in 2009, they sold or gave away everything that wasn’t coming with them on the bikes. I caught up with them in Portland, OR where they’ve settled in for the winter to talk about their journey, feeling disconnected, and their practical advice for touring wannabes.