Local businesses invited to become bike friendly

Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast already has at least five bike-friendly services in place and earned the right to display the bike friendly sign. They've opted for a slightly larger sign than the free sign.

Business owners from across the county got the lowdown last month on how to become an official “bike friendly” business.

Those who earn the official designation are given special recognition through Travel Oregon’s marketing channels, including TravelOregon.com and RideOregonRide.com. All participating businesses also receive a welcome packet with bike friendly toolkit, stickers, window clings and the option to purchase a customized bike friendly sign that will alert bicycle tourists that the business has qualified for the program.

It’s the first program of its kind in the nation and Travel Oregon undertook the task because bicycle travelers in Oregon spend $400 million annually — approximately $1.1 million per day — and they wanted Oregon businesses to have the opportunity to position themselves in the marketplace at the top of the list for bike tourism.

To qualify as “bike friendly,” businesses must agree to provide at least five bike-related services, from free water (from a hose) to protected, overnight bike storage.

The list of possible services is long and even farms can take part in the program and attract bike riders to their roadside stands. Golf courses, bed and breakfast providers, holistic pet food markets, lavender farms, cafes, grocery stores and more already are on the list. Here in Wallowa County, Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast of Joseph was among the first to earn certification.

“It’s the right time to get behind this program,” said Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce Director Vicki Searles.

Mountain View Motel and RV Park owner Scott Hathorn III already serves bicyclists and said he planned to formally join the program.

“Bike riders love it here,” he said. “They love to get set up in the campground and have a party.”

Several attendees agreed that Wallowa County seemed to have the trifecta of attractions for cyclists: agritourism opportunities that allowed them to connect to the land; bike friendly roads and businesses to facilitate their vacations; and natural resources and historical sites galore.

All the information needed to begin the process of certification is available online at Industry.TravelOregon.com/BFB.

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