Biking Just Beyond the Big City – NYTimes.com
As passionate cyclists and campers, Bronx residents Lukas Herbert and Laura Willis have introduced friends to their avocation and hope to see their fellow city riders discover the joys of multiple-day bicycle touring. But they know an impediment exists.
“While bike riding is becoming hugely popular here, a lot of people do not have access to personal vehicles, which poses a major obstacle for doing a bike tour,” Mr. Herbert said in an email.
Enter Gotham Bicycle Tours, which the couple started this spring to offer three-day, two-night bike tours just outside the New York City metro region.
“Fortunately, we have a mass transit system that permits bikes, so we are setting up these tours with 100 percent access to mass transit,” said Mr. Herbert, an urban planner with Westchester County, specializing in bicycle and pedestrian work.
“The idea is to remove as many barriers as possible to get people out on a bike overnight,” he said. “Then, if they do our tours, maybe they’ll graduate to a bigger, longer tour or strike out on their own. Regardless, the goal is to increase bike traveling, which is a good thing.”
Four tours are scheduled, two that traverse the Hudson Valley ($275 a person) and two along eastern Long Island and out to Montauk ($295 a person). The trips start at commuter rail stops outside the city.
Aside from not doing the actual pedaling, Gotham is making the outing as easy as possible for travelers by mapping scenic routes, planning meals and arranging accommodations (bed-and-breakfast options are sometimes available for noncampers).
Gotham staff will shuttle riders’ gear and even the cyclists themselves if they get too tired. Technical assistance is available for everything from a flat tire to tent setup (tent rentals are available too).
Adventure Cycling: Bike Bits Vol. 16, No. 10, May 21, 2014
BIKE OVERNIGHTS OUT OF THE BIG APPLE
Lukas Herbert of New York City recently launched a small bike-touring service called Gotham Bike Tours. It’s aimed at introducing people to the bike overnight concept by leading them on three-day, two-night tours just outside the New York metro region. “While bike riding is becoming hugely popular here, a lot of people do not have access to personal motor vehicles,” Lukas said. “This poses a major obstacle for doing a bike tour. Fortunately, we have a mass transit system that permits bikes, so we are setting up these tours with 100 percent access to mass transit.” The idea, he added, is to remove as many barriers as possible to getting people out on a bike overnight for the first time — or even the second or third time. “Then, if they do our tours, maybe they can graduate’ to a bigger, longer tour, maybe even strike out on their own. Regardless, the goal is to increase bike traveling, which is a good thing.” Tours upcoming this summer include two in the Hudson Valley and another pair on eastern Long Island.
Bicycle Tourism – The Vacation of the Future
July 9, 2014 by Lukas Herbert
Bicycling is booming. Just take a look around and you’ll see more bicycles than ever: on local pathways, riding down Main Street, locked up in front of stores…people are taking to bicycles in record numbers, both as a way to get around and as a form of recreation. It has long been thought that only young people were fueling this boom. But now studies have shown that a significant share of the growth in bicycling is coming from older people entering retirement age. Given the broad appeal of bicycling across these age groups, two things are certain: cycling is here to stay, and the number of people who take to two wheels is forecast to continue to grow.
It is hoped that many people can be encouraged to take to bicycles as a form of local transportation: getting to work, getting to the store…as a clean alternative to driving a car. This will mean less congestion on local roads and less pollution. But what about bicycling as a vacation? Perhaps the appeal of bicycling as a recreational activity will translate into a vacation choice?
Many people are betting that it will. The number of new regional recreational trails has increased across the country with some trails stretching for hundreds of miles – perfect for a cycling vacation. In our own region, we seen many local trailways begin to have a huge presence. For example, in Westchester, trailways are the #1 county park in terms of usage. Some local rail trails, such as the old Putnam Line, stretch on for 50 miles, offering some riders a big day ride, or a two-day journey for those looking to ride fewer miles per day.
Our regional trailway system is about to take a great leap forward with the addition of a new bike/pedestrian path on the New NY Bridge – the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Such a facility will undoubtedly be a huge tourist attraction for cyclists, much like the Walkway Over the Hudson is today, a popular tourist destination in Poughkeepsie which now attracts half a million visitors a year. The future bike path on the Tappan Zee might even serve as a gateway for regional bike tourism that begins in the New York Metro Area.
What’s great about bicycle tourism is that this type of activity isn’t just “green” in terms of low impact to the environment. It also means “green” in the pockets of local business owners, who can capitalize on the sales that bicycle tourists bring. And Rockland County could be uniquely positioned for this once the new bridge opens.
Bicycling enthusiast Lukas Herbert operates Gotham Bicycle Tours, a Hudson Valley based cyclo-tour company that offers 3-day/2-night bicycle and camping B&B tours to locations outside of the New York City including the Hudson Valley, Montauk/Eastern Long Island and Cream Ridge Vineyard in New Jersey. All of the tours start and end at Metro-North or LIRR stations. For more information visit GothamBikeTours.com or call 917-748-1119.
How Tourism Lowers Taxes
Tourism officials remind ambivalent NIMBY-ists that cycling isn’t just about them — it has a big upside for locals, regardless if they like or loathe bikers.
Executive Director of Dutchess County Tourism Mary Kay Vrba says that Hudson Valley tourism is a $4.7B business, bringing jobs and tax revenue in addition to tourists. “If wasn’t for tourism in Dutchess County, our property taxes would be $800 higher each year,” she says.