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Cycling promotion paying off in Penticton

The city's attempt to promote Penticton and area as a cycling destination appears to be paying off, say industry and tourism officials.
September 11, 2016 - 9:30 AM

PENTICTON - Penticton is starting to see benefits from being promoted as a cycling destination, says Tourism Penticton.

Tourism Penticton Executive Director Kelly Hopkins says last fall’s "Go Media" conference has resulted in a surge of media writers visiting the city this summer from across Canada and Europe, who are writing about the city’s cycling possibilities.

“We are becoming better known as a place for cycling. Last spring’s “Chain of Events” promotion highlighted early cycling in the area and events that compliment cycling in Penticton, Naramata and Summerland, and we have a campaign out now aimed at markets in Spokane, Seattle and Vancouver to attract fall cyclists,” Hopkins says.

Tourists are trending towards being more adventurous, Hopkins says, noting the visitor’s centre's requests for information regarding adventure recreation was up 200 per cent this year over last year.

Cycling requests were up 38 per cent, with tourists making more inquiries regarding off-road biking.

“With the improvements to the Three Blind Mice” trails, the area is getting known as a place to come not only for entry level cycling, but for higher levels of biking as well,” Hopkins says, a sentiment echoed by Freedom Bike Shop manager Kurt Flaman.

I’ve noticed a bit of a spike in tourism this year, especially off-road biking,” Flaman says.

“Three Blind Mice is now a sanctioned recreation site, with an active club and well maintained trails that now outstrip anything Whistler, Kamloops and Nelson have to offer,” he says.

“If you build it, they will come,” he adds.

Flaman also gives high praise to Penticton City Council for embracing the idea of making Penticton a cycling destination.

“The city has been really receptive to doing things these days, where previous councils have been, frankly, hostile towards cycling advocacy,” Flaman says, noting council has been working with stakeholders and other biking enthusiasts to improve the trail system so cyclists can stay off busy roads and highways.

“We get a lot of complaints from people who want to ride the KVR, but can’t because it’s not a consistent, congruent route,” he says, blaming previous councils for selling off portions of the right of way and forcing portions of the trail onto roads.

“Those trail incongruencies need to be taken care of so cyclists don’t have to take roads,” Flaman says.

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