Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bike Tourism and the 2014 Tour de Cape

Time to sign-up for the Tour de Cape-- 2-days of running and biking events Jan. 18-19, including a family fun ride.  This article highlights the connection between this event, the new 90-mile biking route project by Cape Coral Bike-Ped, and bike tourism.  
Excitement building for 2014 Tour de Cape
Tour de Cape has expanded to become a full weekend of family-friendly events
Expectations usually run high tonight that Santa will leave a shiny lightweight road bike made by Trek or Schwinn under the tree.
And that’s just among adults.
Imaginations also run wild among the kids, who’ll have visions of knobby tires and 10-speed derailleurs dancing in their heads.

Those who get their dreams fulfilled will be able to test their pedal power and endurance less than a month from now when the 23rd Tour de Cape bicycle ride rolls out from Cape Harbour Resort.

“It’s sustained itself because it’s healthy exercise and it’s right after the holidays. People have new equipment and want to go on an organized ride,” said Todd King, Cape Coral’s special events coordinator in the Parks and Recreation Department.  “I think we’re going to have a banner year.”

Registrations are running above average for the event, which starts on Jan. 18 with a 5K foot race and follows on Jan. 19 with bicycle rides of 15, 30, 60 and 100 mile options. The 5K usually draws about 300 to 400 runners, many of whom stick around town for the bike ride. The bike ride usually involves about 1,000 riders.

This year’s Tour de Cape also includes a family fun ride geared to children aged 8-13.
“We discourage training wheels,” King added.

The fun ride is just under three miles and is designed to roll through the neighborhoods around Cape Harbour. It stays south of Cape Coral Parkway to limit the interaction with traffic. Children must wear helmets. Lee Memorial Health Systems is co-sponsoring the fun ride to stress safe riding skills and practices, King said.

Riders will follow routes that have been used consistently throughout the history of the Tour, King said.

But riders may notice the addition of information signs along the southwest area of the city installed with the help of Cape Coral Bike-Ped, a volunteer organization dedicated to improving bicycling throughout the city. It’s the first phase of installing such signs citywide.

“We want to identify the routes, improve the routes and to publicize them for the world to see,” said Bike-Ped spokeswoman Carolyn Conant. “When we started we anticipated it would take a couple of years to raise the money,” Conant said. The group reached its goal in six months.

“This is a very community oriented city. When they see something is really going to happen the city, businesses and civic organizations and clubs really get behind it,” Conant said. “Stay tuned for a sponsored amenities program to enhance the routes with benches and kiosks. We’ll be looking for sponsors.”

The search for sponsors is expected to kick off in March.

The Tour de Cape and marked routes are enhancing Cape Coral’s reputation in the bicycling world, according to Conant.

“Having marked routes will be a tremendous enticement for a number of people not only in the U.S. but throughout the world. It’s very exciting and to have something as well-run as the Tour as the linchpin for this is fabulous,” Conant said.

“Last year I met people from other parts of the world. People come from all over Europe, Canada and the United States. There are people who design vacations around Tour de Cape. That’s going to become greater as we become better known as a bicycling community,” Conant said.

Riders and runners begin arriving for the events on Friday and leave on Sunday, King said. They stay in local hotels and dine in local restaurants, he said.
Bicycling is a billion dollar business in the U.S. and events such as Tour de Cape generate spending that helps local economies.

A report from the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association says bicyclists spend about $14.5 million a year on event-related purchases. Of that $6.1 million comes from personal spending at events.

The National Bicycle Dealers Association also measures bicycling activity. About 39.3 million Americans aged 7 and up rode at least six times in 2012. An estimated 18.7 million bikes were sold in the United States, which has generated $5.8 billion to $6.1 billion in retail sales, including parts and accessories, each year since 2003.

For more information about the Tour de Cape, registration and bicycling in Cape Coral:

1 comment:

  1. This story was first published o, Cape Coral's leading Internet source of news and information about the city


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