Attracting Cyclists To Campgrounds
Rails to Trails Conservancy, Adventure Cycling
MRV: The Buzz, Your RV Lifestyle Insider. Written By: Nanette Hilton
Attracting Cyclists To Campgrounds: The Cyclist Trend
A New Trend Where Campgrounds Are Focusing More On Attracting Cyclists, Thanks To Their Fast Growing Sector
With more cyclists on the move and needing overnight accommodations, bicycle-friendly campgrounds are increasing in demand. Knowing what cyclists look for in a campground can empower campground owners and managers wanting to tailor their facilities to attract this growing clientele.
According to the Adventure Cycling Association, “the bicycle tourism sector in the U.S., and globally, is becoming more prominent, more lucrative, and is changing to meet consumer demands. Demand for bicycle tour opportunities is also prompting new and expanded bike route networks and facility improvements at the regional and national levels.”
Avid bike-campers, including Howard Vander Meer, believe location is the key indicator in choosing a campground. Howard says “a great location with good scenery, little or no traffic noise and awesome sunsets” make a prime campground. He’s also keen on “nice restrooms, hot showers, and level tent sights.”
Bike tour companies report typical daily riding between twenty to sixty miles along vetted bike-friendly routes. Knowing bike routes is key information for identifying, targeting and marketing to potential two-wheel visitors. Local bike shops and Chambers of Commerce are often good resources for biking maps of local areas and how to find parks and campgrounds.
Adventure Cycling is a wealth of information with regional and national maps and cycling routes.
Teaming up with local bike shops willing to display campground advertisements and marketing will alert cyclists to campgrounds wanting their patronage. The Rails to Trails Conservancy is dedicated to expanding the national bicycling network of paths and trails as well with resources for identifying trails near campgrounds.
Howard cites the state parks of Washington, Oregon and California as excellent models for private campgrounds to follow as they strive to appeal to cyclists. He suggests that campground owners and managers reach out to local cycling and hiking associations to alert their members of their amenities with a friendly invitation to visit.
Security is another concern to cyclists. Some cyclists sleep under the stars while others have a tent. Commercial bike racks anchored in concrete go a long way in creating a feeling of security for cyclists. Campgrounds can advertise their safety records and create a culture of “neighborhood watch” etiquette as well as provide alert and reassuring campground hosts and security guards.
Cyclists, like most outdoor enthusiasts, are often looking to escape urban life, relying on their own motor, tending to prefer natural settings devoid of many of the distractions of modern life.
Dick Wimmer of Lehi, Utah, is a veteran camper. Dick is also a veteran cyclist, currently serving as chairman of the City of Henderson Bicycle Advisory Board. Three years ago he combined his love of camping with his love of cycling and took his first bike-camping trip touring the Florida Keys. Over the past year he bike-camped forty days along the west coast from Canada to Mexico packing panniers and a tent.
Wimmer reports that the best campgrounds don’t require reservations and have enough hiker/biker sites so they don’t get turned away. He points out that “the consequences of being turned away at the end of a long day riding a fully loaded bike are much different than if you have a car and can drive on to find another spot.” As a tip to campground owners, Dick underscores the need for enough sites for these weary travelers and perhaps a “Plan B” if sites fill up so that they are never turned away.
Wimmer explains that “Hiker/biker campsites are shared campsites that have tent sites, tables and food storage cabinets to keep pests away from food. They usually share a fire pit. These types of campsites are not only practical and convenient, but most of the friends I have made while bike touring have been in these shared campsites. I’m perfectly happy camping alone or with the people I am actually riding with, but the whole experience becomes richer when you make friends from literally around the world when you are done riding for the day.”
Nanette Hilton is an avid cyclist and nature-lover with artwork and writing published worldwide. She holds a degree in Writing from Brigham Young University and currently lives in the splendorous Mojave Desert.