This year’s Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, CBES Between the Waters Bike Tour made a financial splash for the nonprofit’s bottom line but also had a significant impact on the Eastern Shore economy. In its 23rd year the one-day event held October 24 brought in nearly $89,000 in estimated visitor spending. CBES utilized an online survey with conservative metrics to track Bike Tour Participants’ spending in three main categories: Registration/Oyster Roast, Lodging, Restaurants/Meals, and Shopping.
This year the Bike Tour was based in Cape Charles but the results of the spending by nearly 800 registered riders was felt as far up as Onancock according to survey responses. CBES conducted the survey to help gauge riders spending habits as well as garner feedback on the Bike Tour itself. Survey response was well above the industry average with 184 responses representing an estimated 354 Bike Tour participants weighing in.
Increase in spending in subsequent CBES Bike Tours seems to be an emerging trend as the length of riders stays continue to increase as the survey results support. In previous years, the majority of cyclists traveling from off the Eastern Shore stayed either overnight or the day of the event. However, this year’s survey results show the highest percent, 45 percent of respondents, stayed two or more nights on the Shore, followed by the second highest category being day-trippers at 30 percent.
Feedback has always shown that a large part of the annual tour’s appeal to repeat riders is the rotation of locations from year to year. CBES plans to continue changing locations but not necessarily the same ones utilized in prior years. Instead, a stronger focus will be on forging partnerships with towns that along with their businesses actively support hosting the Bike Tour.
Along with the economics, the survey highlighted an overwhelming appreciation for the volunteer-driven Bike Tour, organized for the eighth year by CBES Event Coordinator, Phyllis Tyndall. Respondents gave the ride high marks in Safety, Pre-registration and Check-in, Rest Stops and Lunches, as well as Routes. Overall Ride Experience was ranked “Excellent” by 71 percent and “Very Good” by 25 percent.
This dovetailed with anecdotal feedback offered during the ride and the event’s Oyster Roast on Saturday night. Encouraging too was the response to the survey question “How likely are you to participate in future CBES Bike Tours?” 85 percent stated, “Very Likely” followed by 11 percent who answered “Somewhat Likely.”
“The Bike Tour is CBES only fundraising event and leveraging its success for the health of the organization is obviously very important,” said Arthur Upshur, CBES President. “But also paramount to our mission of compatible economic development, CBES has always looked to this eco-tourism event as a way to promote the Eastern Shore and support our local businesses.”
CBES Between the Waters Bike Tour 2016 will be held Saturday, October 22. Location and other details to be announced.