Cycle Tourism is great for business.  So how can you attract cycling travellers to your town or business?  Here are some of the things cycle tourists are looking for when they decide where to stop and spend their money:

  1. Great bike parking
  2. Water
  3. Toilets
  4. Clear signage from the trail to your location
  5. Reliability
  6. A warm welcome

Great Bike Parking

A bike loaded with panniers can be heavy and unwieldily, and it might be carrying all the riders luggage.  So they will want a safe and secure place to lock it, and a stable support to lean in on.  A toast rack style of bike parking facility won’t be much help, and may actually damage the wheels.  A good bike rack will support the frame of the bike and enable the bike to be parked and locked parallel to the rack/support.  Although cyclists will often make do with trees, power poles, fences and downpipes, they will feel welcome when they find you have decent bike parking installed is an obvious and safe spot.

Bike Parking for a loaded bike
Whimsical and practical, these racks support a fully loaded bike and provide a secure locking point

Water

As well as enjoying coffee, beer and other cold beverages, a cyclist will want a place to fill up their water bottles so they can stay hydrated between stops.  A cyclist will feel welcome if you make provisions for filling water bottles or offer to fill their bottle for them. 

Cycle Tourism is growing in popularity as are cycling events
Cycle Tourism is growing in popularity as are cycling events

Toilets

In this regard cycle tourists have the same basic needs as everyone else, but they need these facilities more often because they cover their distances at a different pace, they may be on back roads / trails (without petrol stations!) and they are drinking more.  A friendly sign pointing them to the loo, and letting them use it without security checks will make them feel welcome.  Toilets on the trail can be few and far between, so please make yours a welcoming pit stop.

Clear Signage and Reliability

When you are cycling a long distance in a day, you really prefer to avoid getting lost.  If you have to leave the trail to find food, accomodation or places to visit, then you want to be really clear how to get there, and then back to the trail.  And you want to be sure that the place you are visiting will be open when you get there.  Posting directional signage on the trail and at key points between the trail and your business will help your customers feel confident about leaving the trail and finding you.  Informational signage with your opening details (and make sure they are current and applicable) will also encourage customers to head your way.  They will however be very annoyed if they detour only to find you aren’t open when you said you would be.  Extra distance when you are tired and hungry really makes a disappointment like that stick in their minds.

A Warm Welcome

It is the little things that matter, and like all your customers, the cycling ones like to feel welcome.  Here are some ideas:

  • Have bike related decorations, signage, souvenirs that acknowledge your cycling customers passion for biking.
  • What helpful items could you stock or provide that would appeal to a cyclist?  Sunscreen, tyre patch kits, wooly seat covers…..even if you don’t usually sell food, consider stocking some snack bars or lolly bags.
  • If you sell items that can’t be easily carried on a bike, like Art or Wine, then provide delivery options and make that obvious.  That way they will know they can browse with intent!  They might look like they are down to their last few dollars and make then biggest purchase of the day.
  • Could you team up with other similar businesses and advertise each other as the ‘next stop’ on the trail?

And importantly, don’t be put off by appearances!  If they are hot and sweaty, or drenched, or windblown, they are looking for a lovely break and great experience and will remember and recommend a welcoming refuge from the elements.

Improvised shoe covers
A cold and wet cyclist might appreciate some plastic bags for their shoes