September 10, 2019

2019 Bicyclists Bring Business: Glens Falls

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. While the city of Glens Falls and the needs of the cycling tourist may have changed over time, the network of enthusiastic business owners, residents, and elected officials remain committed to attracting cyclists and enhancing their reputation as a cycling destination.

The evening presentations by the New York State Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails staff provided updates on trail projects underway that will close critical gaps along the Empire State Trail, an overview of bicycle tourism as an economic driver, and recommendations for attracting cyclists using examples from around the country for inspiration.

Following the presentations, groups were assembled to participate in a “social brainstorming” exercise that identified opportunities to increase the number of bicycle-friendly businesses in the area, build upon the suite of amenities that are attractive to cyclists, and impediments to achieving these goals. A complete report will be available that will include a detailed summary of the event, discussion topics, and recommendations in the coming months.

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.

On the morning of September 11, PTNY took Bicycles Bring Business on the road to tour the City of Glens Falls. The route took cyclists along the Feeder Canal Trail and the Warren County Bikeway, and through the downtown area. Signage, bicycle racks, quality of trails, and vehicle attitudes towards cyclists were among many attributes noted by participants. The 11 mile tour of the City offered participants the opportunity to experience the city as a touring cyclist, and make on the ground observations that add a visual perspective to some of the discussion points raised the night before.

The two-day event was attended by more than 60 people who offered diverse perspectives on this topic and creative ideas that will be useful for surrounding communities hoping to achieve a similar objective..

For more information, email b3roundtable@ptny.org. Be sure to check this space often for more information about upcoming B3 events. 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.

Discover how bicyclists can bring business to your community

Imagine...dozens of weary but happy bicyclists arriving at the edge of your community on a summer afternoon, all of them hungry and thirsty, some intending to stay the night, and most eager to explore your canal community, to experience its history and uniqueness. Imagine, too, that these self-propelled tourists later go home and tell family members, friends, co-workers, and other bicyclists about their wonderful visit.

Do you see economic opportunity here? Of course! To some degree this opportunity already has become reality along New York's historic Canal System, especially along the Erie Canalway Trail. But the potential economic benefit to your community or business from touring bicyclists can be much greater if you actively welcome this relatively new kind of visitor.

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.”

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

Previous Bicyclists Bring Business Reports:

The 2018 Bicyclists Bring Business events were held at the junction of the Erie Canalway Trail and the Champlain Canalway Trail in Waterford and Cohoes on September 24 and 25. Cyclists, elected officials, tourism pros, and business owners came from throughout the Capital Region to discuss how the area can further develop as cycling and outdoor recreation destination.

This year's event was sponsored by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Champlain Canalway Trail Working Group, the Town and Village of Waterford, the City of Cohoes, Bike Barn Cycling & Fitness and Capital District Transportation Committee.

Read the full report from B3 in Waterford and Cohoes. As a result of feedback received through this event, PTNY has also developed the one-page informational sheet: Becoming a Bike Friendly Business

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