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  • Sat April 07 2007
  • Posted Apr 7, 2007
Directors of recreational bicycling tours from all over the nation will be visiting Southeast Minnesota this November as the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association (NBTDA) holds its annual conference in Lanesboro. Members of the organization include multi-day cycling events such as RAGBRAI (Iowa), Oklahoma Freewheel, Ride Idaho, Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, and Bike Florida, to name just a few. "The folks from Lanesboro assured us that we would be visiting a genuine 'bike town' and we decided to see it for ourselves," said NBTDA president Al Hastings of Auburn, N.Y., where he heads In Motion Events. "We're looking forward to bringing our group of professional bike tour managers to an area we've long heard about," he added. Sixty to 80 people will be attending the conference to be held Nov. 7 to 10. Most public venues will be utilized by the conference including the newly-constructed Commonweal Theatre. "We're looking forward to providing a professionally-produced, yet small town flavor to this national conference," said Dave Harrenstein, NBTDA executive director and Lanesboro resident. "The new Commonweal Theatre complex is an ideal meeting location along with other locations we can utilize. We plan to offer attendees a campus-like atmosphere." U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) of District 8 has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the organization's closing banquet to be held at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center and has accepted the invitation. The event will also provide economic benefits to Lanesboro as attendees are expected to reserve 50 or more lodging rooms for four nights in the off-season. According, to Julie Kiehne, executive director of the Lanesboro Area Chamber of Commerce, "When the NBTDA told us they were interested in holding their national conference in Lanesboro, we immediately said yes. Not only will the event have a positive economic effect, but we hope that the attendees will spread the word about Lanesboro to their bicycling patrons nationwide." Kiehne added that there will be opportunities for citizens and businesses to become involved in planning for the hospitality to be extended to conference attendees. The National Bicycle Tour Directors Association is a professional organization of bicycling tour managers formed in 1980. Its Web site, www.nbtda.com, lists hundreds of organized bicycle touring events throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Asia.

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