2019-03-09 / Front Page

Promoting ‘bicycle tourism’ in region


Russ Roca and Laura Crawford found their calling after a cross-country bicycle tour. Once they viewed the scenery and spent time with ordinary people across the nation, they went full-time into the business of promoting the hobby and helping communities attract cyclists. Roca will share advice during a regional workshop focused on bicycle tourism on Rt. 6 and nearby roads and trails. Russ Roca and Laura Crawford found their calling after a cross-country bicycle tour. Once they viewed the scenery and spent time with ordinary people across the nation, they went full-time into the business of promoting the hobby and helping communities attract cyclists. Roca will share advice during a regional workshop focused on bicycle tourism on Rt. 6 and nearby roads and trails. Area tourist promoters are looking to cash in on the growing popularity of bicycling by steering more pedalers to U.S. Rt. 6 through the center of Potter, McKean and Tioga counties.

They’re also working to divert cyclists onto roads and trails that will carry them into other local communities.

A free public workshop and luncheon for business operators and community leaders interested in supporting the plan will be held on Thursday, March 14, at the Deane Center in Wellsboro. For details, call 814-435-7706.

The Galeton-based Pennsylvania Rt. 6 Alliance is spearheading the plan, following a successful effort to have the highway designated as a U.S. Bike Route last spring.

“We have been working to enhance the touring bicyclists’ experience across the scenic and historic highway,” said the alliance’s executive director, Terri Dennison.

Studies show that cyclists are using Rt. 6, despite safety hazards and the lack of wide berms across much of its expanse through the region.

“Not only do we hope to improve their journeys, we also want to create loops off of Rt. 6 using existing trails and gravel roads,” Dennison explained. “These loops will give the bicyclist a reason to stay longer in our communities, eat at our local restaurants and diners, and stay overnight.”

Russ Roca, an expert in bike tourism, will share strategies that his organization, A Path Less Pedaled, has used to help other regions to develop their tourism programs. Roca will provide attendees with clear strategies that can be implemented in a short period.

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