Steamboat Springs City Council member Scott Myller bikes to Friday’s meeting to discuss the economic impacts of cycling and how local businesses could profit.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs City Council member Scott Myller bikes to Friday’s meeting to discuss the economic impacts of cycling and how local businesses could profit.

Steamboat merchants eye cycling potential

Steamboat business owners discuss economic impacts of summer events

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— One look at Steamboat Springs’ summer cycling calendar and it’s pretty obvious there are significant events coming to town with economic opportunities.

In another 10 years, local officials think those opportunities could be even more prominent and generate an additional $7 million in sales-tax revenue.

Local merchants gathered Friday afternoon at Rex’s American Grill & Bar to learn about the economic impacts of cycling and how businesses could profit. The program was put on by the Bike Town USA Initiative and the Colorado Mountain College Small Business Resource Center and was attended by about 30 people.

“Can we leverage cycling to make it look more like what skiing and snowboarding does for Steamboat in the winter?” asked Rich Lowe, who has been studying cycling economics for the Bike Town USA Initiative.

Lowe thinks cycling might be one of the ways Steamboat can help occupy the 25,000 pillows in lodging properties during summer.

Lowe pointed out that only 2 percent of the U.S. population skis or snowboards compared with the 27 percent who bike. That’s 86 million cyclists. Lowe said cycling generates $133 billion in the U.S. economy and supports 1.1 million jobs.

Locally, there is reason to think Steamboat could begin capturing more of those cycling dollars. For example, Steamboat Ski Area is expected to begin building more trails in summer, including ones dedicated to downhill riding. Jim Schneider, vice president of skier services for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., told Friday’s audience that the ski area attracts only a relative few mountain bikers a day compared with the 2,000 who visit Whistler, British Columbia, facilities daily.

“Will we ever get to 2,000?” Schneider asked. “I don’t know. We think we can get to a couple hundred.”

Summer cycling events will promote Steamboat as a cycling destination. Larger events incl­­ude Ride the Rockies, which will bring 2,000 cyclists through Steamboat for two nights June 14 and 15. The statewide USA Pro Cycling Challenge Millennium Promise professional cycling stage race is expected to attract 15,000 visitors to Steamboat on Aug. 26 and 27.

“We do think it’s going to be a big event,” said Schneider, who is serving as the local event chairman.

This is a big summer for cycling in Steamboat, but local officials are pondering the long-term economic forecast as it relates to cycling.

According to a 10-year model, Steamboat could see 161,000 bike visitors annually.

“It’s not that much growth over what we’re already doing,” Lowe said.

With each visitor spending an estimated $113 each day during a four-day trip, more than $73 million could be pumped into the local economy each year, Lowe said. It could create nearly 700 jobs and contribute $3 million in sales tax revenue to the city and $725,000 to the county.

“It’s a big deal,” Lowe said. “That’s a lot of tax revenue.”

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Scott Ford, Do you ever wonder if anyone ever learns anything?

Just imagine how much money SB makes from sidewalks. 300 million or so US citizens can use sidewalks. Virtually every tourist that comes to SB uses sidewalks. Thus, the entire tourist economy is because of sidewalks.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

Don't forget the bathrooms, everyone's gotta go sometime.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 4 months ago

If we are to go big on cycling I think that they need to be liscensed and insured. Presently they are neither and the laws seem not to apply. What happens when they cause an accident? I suspect that a cyclist has never been cited for a violation in Steamboat, If a cyclist causes an accident where do the victims turn for relief?

In the recent past a cyclist drove in front of a car and got hit, no charges were filed.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm all for the biking amenities. Love my bikes. And I'm glad the mountain will have lesser grades in the future touring trails. I hope Jim Schneider has ridden the Quarry trail's grade. Its perfect.

Scott F, As the saying goes, if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In our case, with revenues mainly from sales tax, every event will be promoted as a revenue source. I doubt you'll change this. Try to enjoy their enthusiasm for math that starts out producing $7 million and ends up producing $70 million.

Fred, methinks you need more toys, and less insurance.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 4 months ago

Steve, We need to plan ahead. Your example on affordable housing should provide ample evidence of the validity and wisdom of the "ready, fire, aim" theory. When disaster strikes lawyers seek deep pockets and those promoting wall to wall bikes, may be in the crossfire. I fully expect you to get the last word in here.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 4 months ago

Bicycle disasters?

So before anyone goes skiing they should be licensed and show insurance? Same for kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and walking?

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Jason Miller 3 years, 4 months ago

Yes the police do issue tickets for riding on the sidewalk,running red lights etc.I was issued one.In other countries large bike communities work fine.But in the states we are car obsessed.If Mr.Duckels or anyone else is worried about bicycle disasters.I would like to point out more accidents are caused by idiots on cell phones not watching the road.

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 4 months ago

And believe it or not, I've actually been "pulled over" while paddling my canoe down the Yampa through Rich Weiss park.

Because my water jug that day was a recycled handle of rum. One sniff by the code officer and I was free to go. :)

Time to go play !!

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 4 months ago

If a biker has assets it would be foolish to go without some coverage. Bikers with no asssets are home free and the victim is out of luck. Lawyers have no interest in empty pockets. Scott, Im not sure if homeowners insurance covers anything, but you can be sucked into any situation if it is determined that you are capable of paying.

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sledneck 3 years, 4 months ago

Do bikers have cell phones or just the "car obsessed"?

Seriously Fred... "Bicycle disasters"??? Funny mental picture though; of bikers sprawled all over Lincoln Ave.

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exduffer 3 years, 4 months ago

Jester- I watched one of those 'idiots on cell phones' put his bike in the ditch this morn.

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Jason Miller 3 years, 4 months ago

You know sledneck i meant the Car obsessed But it is a dumb idea to use a cell phone while riding a bike or driving a car.I would of love to see that exduffer.I like most would of laughed my butt off.Heres your sign

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