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Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike Tourism Impact - Survey Results Are In! [ACA]

Last fall, Adventure Cycling staff worked with a University of Montana (UM) communications class on a survey to assess bicycle-travel habits and spending. The survey went out to 4,505 people who had purchased Adventure Cycling maps within the last three years. A link to the survey was also posted on our social media sites. We had nearly 1,300 people answer the survey and some of the data confirmed our long-standing beliefs about touring cyclists, while other information provided some ah-ha! moments.

Age. No surprises here, but what we were really curious to see was how many people under the age of 40 were traveling by bicycle. We've seen map sales ramp up considerably over the past few years, and while we know retirees -- both early and traditional, are our biggest market, the younger demographic is also on the upswing. 370 of the respondents were 40 or under. That's a promising sign for the future of bike travel.

Trip length. What I found interesting was that almost 29% said they bicycle travel for durations of less than one week (no wonderBikeOvernights.org - with the tagline, Don't wait to go cross country. Go Overnight.  is so popular). Breakdown also showed that about 29% take 1-2 week trips, with 22% saying 31-89 days was their trip length. 

Spending. We get the question, "How much do touring cyclists spend?" often, so tracking the average daily spending was important. We know that researchers on the Great Allegheny Passage tracked $98/day spending by overnight bike tourists (vs. $13 by day riders). We also know that traveling cyclists are typically a pretty thrifty group, and so when nearly 47% responded that they spent $25-75/day and 18.9% spent less than $25/day on their last trip -- we weren't surprised. Conversely, over 21% spent $75-$125/day and almost 10% spent over $125. This is helpful to us as we seek to elevate the needs of bike travelers and draw attention to the economic benefits of bicycling as we coordinate the U.S. Bicycle Route System.


[Adventure Cycling Association]

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