June 4-11, our Executive Director will be participating in the 37th annual Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG). During the ride, which starts in Atlanta and ends in Savannah, he will document and discuss opportunities and challenges for improved bicycle tourism in the state. If you won’t be on BRAG yourself, you can follow along via Twitter.
Seeing Georgia from a bike saddle is the kind of memorable, truly unique experience that we should work together to improve. We have mountains, rolling hills, gorgeous rivers and barrier islands, a major metropolis with plenty to see and do, charming small towns, and energetic mid-size cities. Georgia offers a calender-busting assortment of bike festivals, century rides, parades, and everyday tourism opportunities on paved trails. Georgia ought to be the leading bicycle tourism destination in the south
States that actively encourage bicycle tourism, including Colorado, Louisiana, and Oregon, see tremendous economic benefits. Bicycle tourists are low impact, prefer local businesses, and spend more, on average, than tourists who arrive by motor vehicle. A Montana study found that touring bicyclists spend $75-103 per day, and Maine’s Department of Transportation discovered that bicycle tourism brings in $36 million per year.
Given our varied and attractive geography, great food and southern hospitality, Georgia should be reaping these economic benefits as well.
There are some significant barriers to bike tourism in Georgia, however, including dangerous roads and a lack of statewide branding and promotion of bicycle tourism (see the linked states above for examples of state-led bike tourism efforts).
The 2016 BRAG route will visit Atlanta, Social Circle, Milledgeville, Dublin, Swainsboro and Statesboro. While our Director is participating in this year’s ride, he’ll be documenting the good, the bad, and the occassionally ugly issues we need to fix in order to position our state as a leader in safe, family-friendly bicycle tourism. Watch our Twitter feed for live commentary, and stay tuned for a post-BRAG report here on the blog!
Please note that the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia is not affiliated with Georgia Bikes. BRAG is an independent not-for-profit dedicated to providing affordable, quality bicycle tours in and across the state of Georgia. BRAG is the second oldest across-state bicycle tour in the world and attracts riders from across the United States. See www.brag.org for more information.