Schenectady Gazette editorial, Tuesday, October 9:
Communities, such as St. Johnsville, Fort Plain, Minden, Palatine Bridge and Canajoharie, get to see see the economic impact of cycling each July, as more than 500 cyclists pass through on their 400-mile Canalway trek from Buffalo to Albany. But there is no organized, sustained effort to attract cyclists the rest of the time, as there is with the growing number of rail trails, canal paths and bikeways elsewhere in the country.
Such efforts can pay off handsomely. Cyclists tend to have a lot of disposable income and many will travel hundreds of miles, including to other states, to find places where there’s good cycling, beautiful scenery, attractions and services (the Mohawk Valley has all those things). And when they arrive, they spend — typically $100-$300 a day for food, lodging, souvenirs and other purchases.
The western Montgomery County communities aren’t the first in upstate New York to think in these terms. On Friday, the Regional Niagara Bicycling Committee hosted a “bike summit” that focused on the economic benefits of bike tourism and events, as well as bike-friendly communities.
Montgomery County Planner Douglas Greene says he will try to set up such a meeting locally, a good idea. It’s not enough that these communities want to advertise and organize joint events to bring in bicyclists, they need to learn how best to do it.”
PTNY is already on the path. We, in partnership with the New York State Canal Corporation, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, and Western Erie Canal Alliance will be hosting Bicyclists Bring Business: Canalway Trail Tourism for Your Downtown, in Albion NY this very evening. Aimed at helping Canalway Trail communities take advantage of the growing bicycle tourist market, events include an evening roundtable, and a bike around Albion beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 11 at the Golden Gourd Bistro to better understand the needs of the bicycle visitor.