September 30, 2021

Ilion, NY Bicyclists Bring Business 2021 - Creating A Bike-Friendly Community

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Discover how bicyclists can bring business to your community

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ince 2009, Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) has hosted an annual Bicyclists Bring Business (B3) event in a select location along the Erie Canalway Trail. The event offers community partners, businesses, residents, and cyclists a unique set of resources to help them capitalize on the growing bicycle tourism market in their area.

New York’s trail network has witnessed tremendous growth over the past 20 years, underscored by the completion of the Empire State Trail. The growth in outdoor recreation opportunities across the State has resulted in a resurgence of outdoor enthusiasts; notably, long-distance cyclists.

Or annual Bicyclists Bring Business event provides communities with a better understanding of how they can attract and retain bicycle tourists by providing the services, amenities, and accommodations that bicycle tourists seek— safe, off-road cycling between historic communities, scenic landscapes, interesting attractions, and plentiful services.

2021 Virtual Event: Ilion, NY


Join PTNY, the New York State Canal Corporation and Herkimer County HealthNet for our annual Bicyclists Bring Business event on the evening of September 30, 2021 from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. This year, PTNY and our partners will be conducting a bicycle and pedestrian assessment in Ilion, NY to help illuminate the factors that encourage, and deter, cyclists from leaving the trail and making their way into the Village of Ilion. The presentation on September 30, 2021 will showcase our findings from the assessment and provide elected officials, tourism professionals, and local business owners with the tools to:

  • Encourage bicycle tourists to visit Ilion;
  • Ensure that bicycle tourists can safely and comfortably get to and around Ilion;
  • Meet the needs and desires of bicyclists with cyclist-oriented infrastructure and amenities;
  • Give bicyclists positive experiences that draw them back for repeated visits and that they will share with fellow cyclists;
  • Take the first steps to foster partnerships and secure resources.

2021 Partners

The Canal Corporation runs the New York State Canal System, which includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. In 2017, the Canal Corporation celebrated the 200th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the Erie Canal, which occurred in the city of Rome on July 4, 1817. The Canal System includes the Erie Canalway Trail, a multi-use trail designed to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers. Together, the canals and trail create a world-class recreationway that is a vibrant, scenic and unique New York resource.

Herkimer County HealthNet (HCHN) is committed to the well-being of individuals who live, work, play and learn in Herkimer County. HCHN continually hosts a Living Well Series. The classes in the series include evidence-based programs, so that individuals can live healthier and enjoy a better quality of life. Classes include the National Diabetes Program; both Diabetes Prevention and Living with Diabetes, Living with a Chronic Condition, and Smoking Cessation. This series pairs well with the Parks & Trails NY Bicyclists Bring Business Program, as HCHN encourages increasing physical activity on many of Herkimer County’s accessible trails and in its parks.

Suggestions for increasing local bicycle tourism from previous roundtables

  • Share and distribute information about benefits of bicycle tourism via meetings, signage, maps, brochures, and public education among business owners, tourism offices, and nearby attractions
  • Focus on services that are particularly important to bicyclists, such as lodging and campsites, local maps, transport of luggage, bicycle repairs and bicycle security
  • Link local trails into a larger network of potential users
  • Promote local events and bicycle-friendliness on web and elsewhere
  • Anticipate issues that may arise, such as trail appropriateness for bicycles and conflicts with walkers and motorized vehicles
  • Modest investments can result in a substantial boost for tourism

Learn more about the cyclists that travel the Erie Canalway Corridor now as well as how your business and community can market to and profit from future cycling tourists. Attendees at the Bicyclists Bring Business roundtable receive a copy of Parks & Trails New York’s guidebook, “Bicyclists Bring Business: A Guide for Attracting Bicyclists to New York’s Canal Communities.”

Check back here for more information about the 2021 event or email any questions to b3roundtable@ptny.org. Register as a Bicycle Friendly Business through the Bike Friendly New York Program, and sign up to receive PTNY's e-Newsletter for updates on upcoming event and the latest information on the parks, trails and all forms of outdoor recreation from around the state.

Bicyclists Bring Business 2020

Due to COVID19, Bicyclists Bring Business event was held virtually in 2020. The event took a corridor-wide approach to help community leaders attract cyclists and help grow local economies along the Canalway Trail. Program highlights included information about the popularity of cycling and the growth of the bicycle tourism market, strategies to create and sustain a bicycle friendly community, and guest speaker presentations on initiatives currently underway across the state and country.

Guest presenters shared strategies successfully used to help communities realize the economic benefits of bicycling.

  • Brian Stratton, Director of the NYS Canal Corporation, offered an overview of Empire State Trail projects and initiatives that the Canal Corporation is advancing across the state.
  • Dylan Carey, Project Director for Parks & Trails New York, provided data on the economic potential of attracting bicycle tourism, shared highlights from a trail network that is successfully capitalizing on bicycle tourism, and discussed strategies to help communities plan and design for cyclists.
  • Amy Camp, a trails and tourism consultant and founder of Cycle Forward, offered her perspective on creating a bike-friendly culture and building more awareness through
    promotional efforts.
  • Shane Mahar, Communication Strategy Manager for the NYS Canal Corporation, presented on the innovative Staycation initiative that promoted outdoor recreation and supported local economies during COVID restrictions and how that model might benefit the corridor in the future.
  • Paul Leone, Executive Director of the NYS Brewers Association, announced the release of the New York State Craft Brewery Passport, highlighting an incentive program hosted through an online application that is designed to help trail users find points of interest and encourage them to explore the communities and regions they reside in.
  • Natasha Wasuck, owner of Tinsel and The Lockstone in Albion, NY, offered her insights into leading a collaborative project within a community and how this important relationship-building exercise can help attract bicyclists and build community character.

Guest presenters participated in a panel discussion that touched on aspects of community engagement, planning and design, obstacles, low-cost improvements, partnerships, and the role of social media.

The goal of the event was to help participants gain insight into the needs and trends that can influence a bicycle tourist’s decision to visit a community, and how communities can use this information to grow their local economy by appealing to bicyclists.

Previous Bicyclists Bring Business Reports

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On September 10, 2019, the annual Bicycles Bring Business roundtable and community bike-a-round stopped in Glens Falls, returning to the city ten years after it was first hosted there. In a Bicyclists Bring Business first, the host for the evening round-table, the Queensbury Hotel was named as the newest official Bike Friendly New York certified business, showcasing the local business community's dedication to accommodating cyclists.

Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Canal Corporation released the 2019 Glens Falls "Bicyclists Bring Business" summary report that provides five major recommendations, each with a set of underlying strategies, to help communities like Glens Falls capitalize on the growing bicycle tourism market and the completion of the Empire State trail in 2020.

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