The Future of Travel: Bicycles [Huff Post]

Travelers--the future is on bicycles! Don't believe it? Consider the following trends, all of which show a dramatic increase in vacationers traveling by bike.
This list comes courtesy of Adventure Cycling, the largest (and as they are quick to note, growing) cycling membership group in North America. For full disclosure, I will say that I am very biased: I spent two years traveling by bicycle, and I think bike travel is the best way to see a state, country, or continent. It appears that an increasing number of people agree.
  1. Major Cycling Events Continue to Grow: David Harrenstein, executive director of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association (NBTDA), told us that attendance at major recreational cycling events has been going up. According to a recent study by Bikes Belong, these events (such as Ride the Rockies or RAGBRAI) are a huge economic boon: in 2008, 1,700 road riding events in the U.S. drew more than one million participants, raised more than 200 million for charities, and generated an estimated 572 million in direct economic impact.
  2. Commercial Tours Surge: Despite the downturn, bike tour operators are doing great. "Our business has seen a 20 percent increase from 2009 to 2010 and we are off to a good start for the 2011 season," said Tania Worgull, president of Trek Travel, which operates tours in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. "We continue to add new destinations each year to accommodate the growing interest in bike tours."
  3. The Economy is Noticing Bike Tourists: According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin, in 2010, out-of-state visitors traveling to Wisconsin for cycling opportunities generated half a billion dollars in economic activity.