Author:Miller, Harrison
Position:NC TREND: First take: Leisure

Cycling is a rapidly growing hobby that is creating big economic waves in North Carolina. Its popularity is reflected by the annual Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast Ride, a fall event that is so popular that participation was capped this year at 1,100 cyclists. Millions of bikers trek the state's 2,072 miles of bike trails across 263 park systems and greenways, including a lot of out-of-state visitors.

Nationally, cyclists spent $83 billion on "trip-related" sales in 2017, up from $71 billion spent in 2012, and generated $97 billion in retail spending, according to a 2017 study by the Outdoor Industry Association, a trade group for the outdoor recreation industry. Those same benefits are reflected in North Carolina.

Pisgah National Forest and Tsali Recreation Area ranked as the top two biking destinations in the Southeast in 2015.

Brevard Greenway 76,000 annual trips

Western N.C. economic impact

252,000 biking visitors per year

Average daily spending $189.66 per person

Supports 1,702 jobs


$15.3 million in tax revenue & $43.3 million in income

American Tobacco Trail 481,000 annual trips

Little Sugar Creek Greenway 383,000 annual trips

Duck Trail 146,000 annual trips

Economic impact of shared-use paths in North Carolina

A recent study by N.C. State's Institute for Transportation Research and Education and Alta Planning+Design found:

a $26.7 million investment constructing the four greenways

resulted in

$48.7 million in business revenue from greenway construction,

$19.4 million in annual sales revenue at local businesses across greenways, and

$25.7 million in annual health savings due to more physical activity, less pollution and congestion, and fewer traffic injuries from use...

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