• Wed March 03 2010
  • Posted Mar 3, 2010
Wisconsin [bikeiowa note: Is anyone from Iowa tourism or governmental agencies listening here??? What can we do to get a study like this? Iowa is certainly poised for bicycle revenues similar to this in the next few years.] By GREG PECK The past few days, I’ve been hearing them—male cardinals, singing loudly atop trees on my early-morning dog walks. Thoughts of spring and getting out a bicycle can’t be too far behind, can they? A new study shows just how many of us bicycle and the economic impact. State Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, commissioned this first-ever study, done by graduate students in UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. The results: Recreational cycling generates $1.5 billion (with a “b”) in annual economic activity in Wisconsin. That tops the $1.4 billion economic impact of deer hunting in 2006, the most recent DNR study. The figures include dollars produced by the state’s bike factories and sales and services industries. The report found that 49 percent of Wisconsinites bike for recreation, making it among the most popular outdoor activities. Bikers support more than $924 million in tourism and resident spending each year. Bikers from other states spend more than $535 million a year. If the state could boost nonresident bicycling by 20 percent, it could raise economic activity by more than $107 million and create the equivalent of more than 1,500 full-time jobs. That study offers a healthy dose of good economic news. If you haven’t checked out any of the state’s network of bicycle trails, do so. I’ve been on several, my favorite so far being the Elroy-Sparta Trail with its former railroad tunnels. Check out the options here. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my two-person household has seven bicycles (OK, three are for the grandkids when they come, though the youngest just turned 1). I’ll be pumping up those tires soon. Greg Peck

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