Arizona Has Bicycle Tourism, Study Claims

If you've spent considerable time in Phoenix, you might wonder if anyone in this city knows how to ride a bicycle, since the cyclist appears to be an endangered species in the downtown area.

However, a study by the Arizona Department of Transportation seems to show that people come to the state to pedal around -- to the tune of $88 million a year.

ADOT says that estimate includes tourism dollars from out-of-state bicyclists who participated in major cycling events, sales at bicycle shops from customers who live elsewhere, out-of-state tour companies that come to Arizona to host bike tours, and professional racing companies that come here to train.

The study counts nearly 200 bike events between 2012 and 2013, including road biking, mountain biking, BMX, and triathlons -- it starts to add up.

While it might seem that northern Arizona's the top destination for this stuff, the study shows that most of the bicycling events are in the Phoenix area, although both northern and southern Arizona have their fair share of events, like the Tour de Tucson.

Most of that $88 million figure comes from retail sales and manufacturing (more than $57 million annually).

Interestingly, ADOT says this study tried to exclude the economic impact of Arizona residents on the bicycling industry, so all the purchases of the Lance Armstrong-types who travel in huge packs on the streets of north Scottsdale on weekend mornings are apparently left out.

According to a release from ADOT, "This methodology ensures that the 'substitution effect' is minimized by eliminating in-state participants who would be spending their money elsewhere if they weren't spending it on cycling events and purchases in Arizona."

The entire study can be found here, and the cliff-notes version can be found here.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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