Bike Tour Offers $1.8M Tourism Bump for Berryville

Berryville and Clarke County vendors have a shot at capturing up to $1.8M of direct spending revenue from Bike Virginia’s planned three-day visit to the area. With 1,700 pedalers already signed for the June event, town officials, business owners and citizens met on Tuesday night to refine plans for feeding, lodging and welcoming the wheeled visitors.

Approximately 2,000 Bike Virginia cyclists will visit Berryville in June - Photo courtesy Bike VIrginia

The Bike Virginia tour is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that works to improve cycling and walking across the Virginia. According to information provided by the group, riders average of 50 miles of riding per day for the event’s five days. This year’s tour will include circuits through Charles Town and Shepherdstown, West Virginia, with Berryville as base camp beginning with registration on Friday, June 22nd  through Sunday, June 24th when riders roll out of town.

Assistant Town Manager Christy Dunkle led a Tuesday evening informational and brain-storming meeting attended by nearly 30 people. Topics ranged from logistics (the committee discussed closing the Crow Street block to motorized traffic as a possible pedestrian-only area on Friday and Saturday night), commerce (downtown businesses are being asked to stay open until 10pm and vendors will be able to rent booth areas behind the Joint Government Center), entertainment (bands and other live music will be stationed throughout the downtown area) and food.

Lots of food.

According to Bike Virginia, the approximately 2,000 cyclists – riders from all 50 states and 12 countries are represented – have an average age of 54 years and 60% are male. The group is expected to consume 500- 800 breakfasts, 2,000 lunches and 700-800 dinners.

Dunkle said that although many of the riders will opt for catered food coordinated by Bike America, area restaurants will see an increase in business especially on Saturday night when the organization kicks-off a 25th birthday celebration party in downtown Berryville.

 

Tuesday night’s meeting served as a chance for individuals and business owners to begin to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the event. Suggestions included offering local wines for purchase, Revolutionary War re-enactors on downtown street corners and highlighting the downtown park as a center for festivities.

Dunkle said that it would be necessary to find volunteers to implement any ideas adopted by the committee and asked for assistance in locating people willing to lend a helping hand.

Celeste Heath demonstrated an interactive Google map with points of interest and businesses will be available in time for the event to bikers and others.

Because the large number of bikers will quickly overwhelm both Berryville and Winchester lodging options – Dunkle said local bed & breakfasts are already full for the event – a “tent city” will be set-up at the old Clarke County high school complete with shower trucks and a shuttles running between Berryville and Winchester.

A valet bike parking service is just one of the potential revenue generating opportunities discussed that is awaiting a local entrepreneur. People with other service or product ideas that may appeal to the cyclists are encouraged to contact Dunkle as soon as possible.

Dunkle, who has also participated in previous Bike Virginia events, said that the tour is a fun, environmentally friendly, healthy, and affordable vacation for the riders. Dunkle also said that Bike America is working on an “adventure cycling corridor” that will stretch from the C&O Canal in Harpers Ferry and eventually connect with another corridor in North Carolina.

Once the bike corridor is complete, Dunkle says that Berryville could benefit from a regular flow of cross-country-cyclists.

“Cycling is a really big sport and generates a lot of tourism revenue,” Dunkle said. “This event could really put us on the map for future cycling activities.”

Comments

  1. What a great opportunity! Hope we can embrace it/them.
    AND, they “have an average age of 54 years and 60% are male.” And the percentage of those that are single is? Perhaps the Dating Game can be a Saturday night feature for all us cool, ahem – mature, single gals! That might be tourism incentive for return visits. 🙂

  2. sargewillis says:

    Some great ideas, can we get a record of what was suggested and what volunteers you’ll need for those of us that couldn’t make it to the meeting?

    • Celeste Heath says:

      Sarge – If you message your e-mail address to me on Facebook and I’ll get you the info. Thanks for the volunteer offer! Anyone else who wants to volunteer can either message me on Facebook or call me at the Town Office at 955-1099.

  3. livinginbville says:

    everything sounds good except the “tent city” and shower trucks at the “old” high school. A “tent city” anywhere around Berryville does not sound appealing.

  4. My 2 Cents says:

    And if they need any bicycle work done, they can always visit Bob’s Sporting Goods!!!

  5. dontaskme says:

    “commerce (downtown businesses are being asked to stay open until 10pm ” good luck with that one. just what will biker’s want at a dollar store, or carpet store, or auto parts stores anyway? maybe some shampoo for the shower trucks? there certainly won’t be a drug store to sell them bengay. my guess is the “shuttles running between Berryville and Winchester” will be packed (in the Winchester direction). Not a hater, just a realist.

    • livinginbville says:

      I agree. Friday night festivites sound fun, but, where exactly do they intend to erect a tent city at the high school? On the football field? I don’t think so. I realize the town is focusing on the revenue and attention, but, Jim Barnett Park sounds like a more logical location. Just sayin . . .

    • Patti Maguire says:

      “are being asked” — if it won’t benefit them, it sounds like they don’t have to be open — but I’m sure they appreciate you getting all excited for them…

  6. Plankton says:

    I sincerely hope that some detailed planning has been done on behalf of emergency services to prepare for this. As I understand it fire & rescue is all volunteer. Have they arranged for more volunteers to be “around” on this day? Will there be aid stations and lots of ambulances standing by? Are they “in the loop”? Just wondering…. Thanks to any of the fire/rescue folks who can provide info. I’d hate to see the county get a “black eye” due to any failures.

    • Who’s picking up the tab for trash pickup and lawn maintenance that will most likely be necessary from the tent city and truck showers?

  7. Allan "Bugs" McWilliams says:

    Very happy to see all the postive support when some one works so hard to promote the town & county.

    • I believe this to be a wonderful and unique opportunity to promote CC and the Town of Berryville. And, as an added bonus, potentially grab $1.8M in tourism revenue. However, it is a valid question to ask how much it will cost the county and town.

  8. Dmaxnjackson says:

    It just means stay off the back roads. When this kind of event happens, they think they own the roads, and don’t have to obey traffic laws. I just love popping over a hill, and see nothing but 3-4 bicyclist clogging up the whole lane, and another car coming towards me……….
    Just sayin……….

    • Right Winger says:

      Would you rather they be on the main roads???? It’s one weekend, no big deal!

      • In this case I would rather see them on the main road. Too many hills and curves on the backroads and they do not like to share the road with cars…so mean or not what I’d really like to see is for them to find a bike path and stay on it.

      • Dmaxnjackson says:

        Yes I would, at least ther are not so many blind spots, and you have a good line of sight!

    • I know just what u mean!. They will also stop on top of a hill and then wonder why you don’t want to go around. I’m not really sure where all the revenue will be coming from either. The restaurants could see revenue but other then that all I see are nightmares and aggravation on the roads. When you live on a backroad it’s really hard to avoid them..other then staying home which is my plan.

      • Patti Maguire says:

        aggravation for a couple of hours while they go through your area — not the whole five days– lighten up…

    • Patti Maguire says:

      wow — there will be so much notification of cyclists on the road that you will not be surprised — it might, however, mean you have to give up 5-10 seconds of your life so you don’t kill someone…

      let’s have some positivity… jeez

      • hhmmm... says:

        I can b positive..but I want them to also respect us on the road. As in get over. Do not stop on a hill. Do not stop on a curve. If we can share with them, then they can also share with us whether they like it or not

  9. Patti Maguire says:

    Apparently a lot of the commenters on this event have not done this type of bike touring — there is one in practically every State in the country — they are very popular, organized and safe — I’m sure the organization has been networking with other events — These are a blast — I have done the RAGBRAI in Iowa (with 10,000 riders!) and Cycle North Carolina (with 1600 riders) — amazing events — and the communities along the route benefit hugely — and usually compete to be part of the event for that reason. Enjoy!!!!!

  10. Bonnie Campbell says:

    Wow – at first I thought ‘what a cool town/are — would I ever like to live there with all the positive people with good idea” — and then as I read further down I see that your town is no different from my town — grumble, grumble, grumble.

    • hhmmm... says:

      No, it’s not grumbling. I don’t mind at all. Let ’em come. Let ’em have fun. But they are not the only one’s using the road. This could be totally different from when I usually see them on the road. What I have seen is that they don’t care. We are in a larger vehicle and we make sure we respect their safety. They don’t seem to care if they make us slam on our brakes to avoid them and hopefully the car behind us. That’s my problem. Roads are for the cars. Bike trails are for the bikes. I’m sure a person on a bike on a trail does not want to see my car on that trail following them. Of course if they can go the posted speed limit on the road that’s a whole nother story.

  11. Roscoe Evans says:

    That’s pretty much the definition of grumbling, despite your protestations.

    Bike riders pay the same taxes that you do. To travel where they want to go, they have to travel on roads. That’s just the way it is, so look out for them. It’s all pretty simple.

    Of course, I will leave out any comments about ridiculous biking tights. Maybe that bothers you, too. If so, I agree. Ridiculous. But, I am told, practical.

    • hhmmm... says:

      Come on!..u kno everybody luvs the tights! 😉 Fine, if you wanna say I’m grumbling then ok I’ll go with that. I’d rather ‘grumble’ then hit and hurt one of those people. If riding bikes on roads were so safe they wouldn’t make bike paths. Just sayin.

    • Dmaxnjackson says:

      But they dont pay attention to traffic laws either…………

    • I beg to differ…bikers do not pay the same taxes. They do not pay personal property taxes on their bikes nor do they pay for a title, tags or insurance.

      • Roscoe Evans says:

        Really? Because it seems to me that most of the bikers I see at these sorts of events are adults who arrive by cars, with bikes on or behind their cars. And, they pay for all of their accoutrements, and the associated taxes, tags and fees, too.

        Work harder. Pay more. Quit whining. That’s my new mantra.

  12. BeenThere says:

    Excellent opportunity for CC, local merchants and bike riders. Hope the CC fossils don’t shut this down like they did the Balloon Festival.

    • hhmmm... says:

      They need to bring back the balloon fest. If it scared the horse then just put em in the barn for a couple hrs. Its not like the balloon’s went on all day…if they could bring that back and cancel the bicycles on the back roads which can be a real hazard that’d be great.

  13. Honestly, I think bicycles on back roads with blind hills and sharp turns are really a hazard. Register the bike, but a tag on it, and get insurance to help pay for upkeep of the roads and then I will share the road