Perhaps you’ve heard that Greenville has a bit of a thing for cycling and that cyclists have a thing for Greenville. What started out as a best kept secret has been whispered across the country until it became a roar. We built a little trail that went from here to there and it seemed like an oasis in the heart of a city. The community embraced it, businesses opened around it and on it, put out the welcome mat for cyclists, served healthy food, great coffee, craft beer, and began to thrive. Soon everyone wanted inn on that cycling thing!
Cycling creates vitality and revitalizes everything and everyone around it. It supports healthy, mindful living and engagement with both nature and community. That’s good for building great cities and that’s good for business. The Greenville metro area now supports a massive cycling community with many municipal and industry-supported initiatives. So how about some numbers? Nuts and bolts? Brass tacks? (No, squirrels, not those nuts! Moving on.)
The Greenville Hospital System (GHS) Swamp Rabbit Trail now has over half-a-million users per year. Among those, more than 125,000 come from out of town, contributing $6.7 million in trail tourism. Dozens of new businesses have opened that have a direct connection to the trail and Greenville’s vibrant cycling community. Among multi-use, rail-to-trail systems, the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail has above-average use for commuting and short trips. Greenville County tourist spending is on the rise. It saw an increase of $83 million in 2014.
In addition, companies such as the Trek Travel have chosen Greenville for recurring bicycle-touring trips, bringing tourists from all over the globe. Sample a Trek Travel ride on May 1, 2016 leaving from the Swamp Rabbit Inn!! Click here for more details on the free ride guided by Trek Travel.
We’ve got class. In addition to GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail, the Greenville area features world-class road riding, with everything from beginner rides to pro-level challenges and training, mountain biking at Paris Mountain State Park, the Clemson Experimental Forest and the DuPont State Recreational Forest, dedicated cyclo-cross routes, and bicycle touring that rival the European mountains. Check out "Cycling Greenville" a guidebook with 20 great rides around Greenville County written by inn keeper Wendy Lynam.
There is truly something for every type of cycle tourist in the Greenville area and the Upstate of South Carolina. The weather in the Upstate is temperate year round. We have a few days that are too hot and a few that are too cold but very few days each year that aren’t great for riding.
We’ve got bragging rights! According to the USA Today newspaper, the community cycling investment has put Greenville on the map for cyclists traveling in the Southeast. Bicycling Magazine lists Greenville in the top twenty cities in the country for bicycling. And the League of American Cyclists recognizes more than three dozen Greenville businesses as “Bicycle Friendly” (BFBs).
Gotta love those MAMILs: middle-aged men in lycra (hey, if I didn’t have all this fur I’d be a middle-aged buck in lycra)! Cycle tourists have a median age of 53 years old and use expendable income for cycling related trips. More than 50% of cycle tourists have household income above $75,000, with 10% earning over $200,000.
A full 92% of cycle tourists are planning a multi-day cycle trip in the next three years. In addition to cycle trips, cyclists engage in other activities such as: day road rides (87%), taking bikes on vacation (85%), independent bike touring (82%), casual riding in town (80%), and road racing (76%). Rabbits who race bikes (0).
Don’t expect the hubbub to blow over anytime soon. Greenville has become a hub for international business, hosting companies from all over the world. Currently, Greenville has the highest international investment per capita in the nation.
With a metro population of over 860,000, major industries including technology and financial services, and a gross product over $36 billion, Greenville and the Upstate of South Carolina has the right demographics to continue supporting and growing its cycle industry. And generations of Swamp Rabbits quietly keeping everything warm and fuzzy. You’re welcome.
The good times have rolled into Greenville and they are here to stay. Stay with us at the Swamp Rabbit Inn and Properties and enjoy the ride!