Whether you’ve been in town for five minutes or five generations you can expect a warm welcome in small rural communities throughout Oregon. And when these communities learn that Cycle Oregon is planning a route through their town, the reaction is even more enthusiastic. They get to meet people from around the world while earning an important economic boost. Still, many of these hidden gems around Oregon’s mountains, valleys, rivers and canyons continue to struggle economically.
On both of our events, we rely on locals to create the Cycle Oregon experience, providing services ranging from dinner service to recycling to rest stop support. Typically, these groups are civic organizations like the Lions Club, VFW, Future Farmers of America or the local PTA that have a specific purpose for the revenue they generate. On average, we support 15-20 groups in each community and together they earn between $15,000 – $25,000.
When a fire forced the tough decision to avoid Halfway, Joseph and Enterprise, we knew that those towns would feel the sting. That is why we honored our financial commitments to those communities for the services they were going to provide. These groups received nearly $50,000 and include school athletic teams, arts organizations, EMT providers, rodeos, fairs, historical societies and animal shelters. While we cannot replace the economic power of our riders, they were pleased to know that we would follow through with our commitment. In addition, when we backtracked to Baker City, and Farewell Bend, those community organizations pitched in and earned even more money for their local projects.
But we believe Cycle Oregon can be much more than just a shot in the arm for the communities we visit. Our short-term impact is important, but we also need to focus on long-term solutions. That’s why Cycle Oregon supports increasing bicycle tourism infrastructure and amenities throughout the state. We have been a part of the growing bicycle economy which now contributes $400 million to Oregon’s economy annually and generates 4,600 jobs. Let’s make sure that the places that have made Oregon cycling famous get their share. Here’s how:
Visit Rural Oregon: We encourage you to make your own Cycle Oregon and go see the places that make this state special. You can use our bike maps, check out the Scenic Bikeways or use bikeportland.org’s stories to get ideas of things to do and places to stay.
Spread the Word About Our Grants Program: Know any great bicycle tourism efforts throughout the state? Through our grants program, we invest $50,000 – $150,000 each year toward projects that improve communities and increase safety and infrastructure for bicycle tourism. Applications are due November 15, click here for details.
Help Grow the Cycle Oregon Fund: We are planning a fundraising campaign to support community projects along Scenic Bikeways and other bicycle-friendly places around the state. You can help strengthen and support people and communities that are working hard to promote bicycle tourism.