Development of a Bicycle Tourism Plan

Franklin County’s reputation for first class bicycling continues to grow as the sport becomes more and more popular. In fact, the area was recently considered a potential Olympic venue while Boston was pursuing a chance to host the games.  Low volume back roads through the New England countryside allow cyclists enjoy the beauty around them without the conflict of city traffic.  A wide variety of terrain allows them to choose their level of activity – challenging in the hilltowns of our region, or more leisurely up and down the flatter Connecticut River valley.  Triathlons, dirt off-road races, long distance rides from ice cream stand to ice cream stand are becoming more common in our region.  Family rides along our bikepaths provide additional opportunities for all levels of riders.

canalside-trail-riders

Bicyclists enjoy the Canalside Trail in Turners Falls, a flat trail welcoming to bicyclists of all levels.

It has long been reported that bicyclists come from far and wide specifically to ride in Franklin County. Along with them comes the opportunity to enhance economic development and bring tourism to our area. Across the country, Planners are keying in on just how much the bicycling community can contribute to your town’s economy.  To that end, the FRCOG is kicking off creation of a Bicycle Tourism Plan.  This Plan will bring together many different stakeholders in the bicycling and tourism areas, and will conduct an economic analysis of what bicyclists currently contribute to our economy, as well as identify areas we can target to bring in more business.  Over the last decade the FRCOG has worked diligently to enhance the safety and ability of bicyclists to get around our region, from installing trailblazing signs, to producing free maps of potential routes throughout the County and beyond.  We are excited to use that backdrop to launch our next phase of bicycle planning for the area.