A Washington-area biking club is seeking to differentiate itself from another biking group that visited the Berryville area earlier this summer but failed to deliver much of the economic punch that area businesses had hoped for.
Organizers of Bike Virginia, a pedaling organization that spent five days in and around Clarke County in June, had said that the tour’s impact on local economies in rural areas brings over $2.8 million in spending and indirect revenue. But the high hopes for an economic bump to Berryville merchants from the event quickly evaporated as Bike Virginia riders apparently carried their wallets toward the bright lights of Winchester at the end of each day of biking.
Now another biking group, Potomac Pedalers which is planning its Back Roads Century ride through Clarke County on Sunday, September 23, 2012, is trying to smooth some of the feathers that may have been ruffled by Bike Virginia’s less-than-hoped-for delivery.
“We are a 501(c)(3), non profit, 2,500+ strong bicycle club in the Washington DC area,” said Potomac Pedalers chairman Robert Bernstein in a letter to area leaders and media outlets. “For the past number of years we have had our premier event, the Backroads Century in the Berryville/Clarke County/Jefferson County area. This is our major fundraiser, allowing us to give grants in accordance with our By Laws purpose. Having successfully grown this event over the past three years from 700 riders to 2,000 riders, we feel it is time to involve the community more. We have already begun reaching out to local businesses for the supplies we need, but we wish to do more.”
Bernstein said that unlike Bike Virginia, Potomac Pedalers returns to the Clarke County area every year and is “linked inexorably to the community and we wish the community to feel linked to us and to look forward to our ride.”
To ensure that Potomac Pedalers’s message reaches community leaders Bernstein plans to meet with any interested parties at the Barns of Rose Hill in Berryville on Wednesday, 12 September from 7 to 9 PM.
“I will start the meeting with a short history of the Backroads Century,” Bernstein said. “I will continue with some of the challenges that we face and my vision of the future. I will then entertain questions. I hope that my vision excites you and that this, as Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, ‘is the start of a great friendship.’”
Bernstein said “We want our riders to savor the area and to return at other times during the year.”