Cycling booming in Page County

LURAY — Cycling is booming in the area. And the economic impacts are being felt.

Last week, Page Valley Cycling announced that its 2015 events had a significant positive economic impact for businesses and community organizations in the county, with about 1,900 bike racers, family and friends generating around $220,000 in revenue on food, merchandise and lodging last year. The 2015 events included the Tour of Page County Stage Race, Shenandoah Time Trail, Shenandoah Speedway Criterium, Page Valley Road Race and the Luray Caverns CX bicycle races.

“For out-of-town cyclists, the primary frame of reference in the area has long been Skyline Drive, and one of my longtime goals as a cyclist and a local business owner is to bring cyclists down from the Blue Ridge to see the great riding we have here in the Valley,” Page County Cycling founder Chris Gould said. “I think my events have helped changed that perspective and sort of put Page County on the map for regional cyclists. For me, that's a joy to see as a cyclist because I love sharing the great roads with fellow cyclists. And as a business owner because it brings more income to local businesses.

The positive economic impact is just one way Page Valley Cycling gave back to the community with its events. The club also donated $9,000 to Choices of Page County, in addition to contributions to the Shenandoah, Stanley and Luray Volunteer Rescue Squads as well as Luray High School and Page County High School and Shenandoah Heritage Society.

Specific findings from Page Valley Cycling’s post-race surveys indicate that a total of about 1,900 people, including 850 bike racers, came to Page County for Page Valley Cycling’s summer road racing events. This number is up by about 250 visitors from last year. Of these, about 69 percent spent a night or more than one night in the area, spending money on lodging, food and merchandise.

Between $215,000 and $230,000 was spent on food, merchandise and lodging by race participants. This amount surpasses previous years of about bout $205,000 in 2014 and $200,000 in 2013.

Of the participants, 90 percent said they would come back to Page County for reasons other than a bike race, which is about the same as last year.

Gould is optimistic that the sport and its impact will continue to grow.

“Is it getting bigger,” Gould said. “The number of visitors from these events grow slightly every year and the amount of money spent is even more.”

For now, cyclists will have to wait for the cold air to move out and the heat to move in. But there isn't any doubt that cycling has left its impact on the community.

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