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Bicycle Tourism on the Rise, Joplin Could Benefit - KOAM TV 7

Bicycle Tourism on the Rise, Joplin Could Benefit

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

A group of cyclists braved the elements, today, on a ride from Miami to Carthage. But it was only a small part of a long journey along Route 66. Their ride from Santa Monica, California to Chicago, Illinois has the potential to also benefit Joplin, Missouri.

As they whiz by, these bikers definitely don't seem tired. But they've been pedaling since mid-April.

“The trip is about 2500 miles roughly, and we started April 18, we'll finish in Chicago June 10th and its 55 days,” says Brian Managan, a trip leader with Adventure Cycling Association.

A group of 6 tourists are on the first guided bike tour of Route 66 offered by that organization, taking in the many sights along the way, including Joplin’s Mural Park. They're joined by several local bikers to travel through the region.

“It’s pretty obvious that there’s an awful lot of history on Route 66 that even I wasn't aware of and I’ve been spending 6 months researching this route,” says Managan.

And this group is not alone. International and domestic travel along Route 66 is on the rise. An estimated 10 to 12 thousand international tourists will travel through Joplin each year and it’s becoming more popular to travel on a bike.

“One of the growing niches lately has been bicycle tourism. Two years ago the Adventure Cycling Association, they developed an entire series of maps for Route 66 on bicycles and Joplin is the trail head on 2 of those 6 maps,” says Patrick Tuttle with the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Putting Joplin literally and figuratively on the map for more tourists and drawing people to the downtown area.

“We thrive to get all kinds of tourism here. Our goal is always to put people in our hotels sometimes the group comes through and camp but the fact that we can get them to eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores is a positive,” says Tuttle.

And having a more personal tour through Joplin helps keep the cyclists focused on their destination.

“When people go out and try a really big trip like this and they get to their destination after months on the road, just watching their faces and the sense of accomplishment,” says Managan.

Adventure Cycling plans to hold 2 guided Route 66 trips each year. To view their maps visit https://www.adventurecycling.org/

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