Sunday 30 October saw Pedal Power ACT’s flagship event, Fitz’s Challenge, once again run across Canberra’s very own Brindabella Ranges. And, once again, the event attracted well over 1,200 riders who had a desire to challenge oneself within the Territory. But there’s something else that’s starting to capture the attention of the industry.
And that is cycling tourism.
In the Tourism Research Australia paper, titled “Growing Cycling Tourism in Victoria” (Dec 2015), when survey participants were asked which state or territory is the best for cycling experiences as part of a holiday, short break or day trip – the ACT scored only 4% of votes from a sample base of 2000.
It was perceived as only more popular than the Northern Territory (1%), and Western Australia (2%).
In what is starting to become an upwards trend for Fitz’s Challenge, the event continued to attract a large portion of interstate riders. Over 46% of participants, in fact, were not residents of the ACT.
The Tourism Research of Australia paper identified beautiful scenery, sightseeing, and riding in a charity or bike event in the top 8 cycling experiences most common for cycling while travelling – all of which are traits synonymous with the Fitz’s Challenge event.
While Fitz’s, and events like Fitz’s, are assisting the development of cycling tourism in the ACT it appears there is still much more that can be done.
It is important to note the paper did also state respondent awareness and knowledge of cycle tourism was generally low.
Awareness and knowledge about a cycling opportunity are two key areas that can assist the growth of cycling tourism in the ACT.
Pedal Power ACT is already working closely with the ACT Government on identifying and creating cycling tourism participation opportunities.
Coupled with the power of word of mouth, it would seem the most effective way of contributing to tourism growth would be to simply spread the word about these opportunities to ride a bike here in Canberra.
Whether it’s a major event you’ve challenged yourself in like Fitz’s Challenge or Big Canberra Bike Ride, or a smaller scale social ride with some friends for fun – sharing a cycling experience with another could just prove to be a turning point in growing cycling tourism in the ACT and challenging current perceptions of the Territory.
If you or a friend would like to be notified when registrations have opened for Fitz’s Challenge in 2017, an online expression of interest form is available.