Duluth Mountain Bike Tourism Gets International Promotion
By Dave Grandmaison
The key to creating a world-class mountain bike tourism destination relies on having amazing infrastructure (e.g., trails, bike paths, public transportation, parks, accommodations) and communicating the region’s unique selling points to bicycle tourists who have a seemingly unlimited set of options in front of them. The Duluth mountain bike community has taken this message forward and is pushing to promote our impressive network of mountain biking trails that traverse the city’s wilderness landscape.
Last February, The Duluth Experience traveled to Europe to meet with bicycle tourists at two large bike fairs in Amsterdam and Antwerp and to promote Duluth’s growing network of mountain bike trails to the international community. With help from our partners at Visit Duluth, we were able to connect with thousands of Dutch and Belgian tourists looking for unique mountain bike destinations around the globe. With the Duluth Traverse nearing completion it’s time to tell the world that Duluth is the Midwest destination for mountain bike adventures in the US.
Evidence of the international interest in Duluth’s growing mountain bike scene can be found in a recently published Holland-based “Bikezine” which features the Duluth Traverse – a 100-mile purpose built mountain bike trail that will connect multiple trail centers and, upon completion, will be the longest urban mountain bike trail in the nation. Spearheaded by the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS), Duluth’s local mountain bike club, the construction of this ambitious project has made amazing progress. The momentum is growing with volunteer help from the Duluth cycling community, the City of Duluth, the Minnesota Power Foundation, and a variety of local businesses such as LOLL Designs, Krauss-Anderson Construction, Thirsty Pagan Brewing, Maurices, and many others.
Bike tourism is certainly an expanding sector of Minnesota’s tourism industry. Coupled with the growing international demand for unique tour destinations and the amazing opportunities like those in Duluth, the future looks bright for mountain biking in Minnesota.