With fall around the corner, cycling clubs around the province are organizing some spectacular rides highlighting the best this region has to offer. Whether it’s climbing the Highlands on the Cabot Trail, casually rolling and perhaps sampling wine along the pristine Harvest Moon trail in the Annapolis Valley, or checking out some of the most authentic fishing villages along the Rum Runners Trail, Nova Scotia is establishing itself as a hidden gem in the cycling world. The Guardian Newspaper for example has awarded the Cabot Trail among it’s top three cycling destinations in the world in 2018. Exit surveys also indicate that 84% of people that visited Nova Scotia report the province to be excellent or above average as a cycling destination.
So how can local businesses and workplaces attract more revenue from cycle-tourists visiting the region? This year, Bicycle Nova Scotia’s Bike Friendly Business program has been helping businesses do just that: highlight establishments that are able to cater to the needs of cyclists and help entrepreneurs newly interested in attracting this demographic. The benefits are clear. With high education and income levels, cyclists are willing to pay more for accommodations restaurants, shops and attractions where they feel not only accepted, but supported.
As an organization, in 2018 Bicycle Nova Scotia has heard from touring groups from Maine and New York looking for unique Maritime experiences. This aligns with data that notes Americans still rank cycling as the top two to four most participated activities. Paired with the differential between the Canadian and US dollar, businesses can work with Nova Scotia’s iconic towns and villages to lure Americans, and Europeans to the region. It’s not rocket science or reinventing the wheel. The needs you had as a teen rider or young adult cyclist are still some of the more productive measures businesses can take to attract cyclists. Accomodations have to be comfortable with the idea of providing secure or in-room overnight parking for individuals or groups that are touring. Shops and services ought to be open to extending Maritime hospitality to cyclists looking for access to cold water and clean washrooms. Attractions can do their part by providing ample places for riders to rest up during longer tours. A picnic table or bench in the shade is all it takes.
For whatever reason, catering to cyclists has been compared to providing for the backstage
demands of a pop-music diva. It’s time for businesses to get over that assertion and look at touring cyclists as any other patron at their establishment: someone looking for a safe place to rest, a great place to eat, and somewhere that showcases the rich history that Nova Scotia has to offer. There are resources out there that can help you, and the Bike Friendly Business program offered by Bicycle Nova Scotia is one way we can help!
Bicycle Nova Scotia (BNS) is the province’s administrating body for competitive cycling and
advocates for improving the profile and safety of cycling, both in a competitive and
noncompetitive capacity. Along with our community partners, BNS is a leader in expanding the Nova Scotia Blue Route: a continuous network of designated bicycle routes on roads, streets and trails spanning the province to encourage local riders to explore what Nova Scotia has to offer, and to attract more cycle tourism to our great province.