Twin Bridges, Montana, US
What makes it great?
Local residents of the small township of Twin Bridges, Montana have listened to, observed and provided the niche needs of bicycle tourists – specifically, bike-packers – visiting their town.
The small size of the town is more than made up for by the level of welcome and friendliness offered by local businesses and residents.
Twin Bridge’s path to success
Twin Bridges is a town of just 381 people, located on a cross-roads of two of America’s greatest long-distance cycle trails: the TransAmerica and the Lewis and Clark Trails. Long-distance/endurance cyclists – Bike-packers – frequently pass through. They didn’t use to stop. That changed in 2009 when local resident, Bill White, decided to build a bike camp. Why? Because he wanted to know what it would take for these passing cyclists to stay in his town, and spend some money. He asked. They responded. Showers were top of the list. White added picnic tables, chairs, a sink and grill; plus space for pitching tents. The local Council accepted his proposal for the small structures and, after raising $9,000 it was all ready by June 2009
The key outcomes for the Twin Bridge’s local community and economy
Word quickly spread among bike-packers. Word of mouth advertising! The town’s two restaurants quickly started experiencing increased trade.
Bicycle tourists in Montana spend, on average, around $75 p/day. For small towns such as Twin Bridges, that’s a significant new revenue stream.
Cyclists leave donations at the Bike Camp up to $100. Tour groups spend $200 on local groceries. In the first summer, over 300 cyclists used the campsite and this has grown exponentially, year on year, since.
“The project has to be one of the highlights of my life,” White told Adventure Cycling in 2009, the first year the camp was in operation. “I met some wonderful people and am already looking forward to next year. The Town Council turned from skeptical to firm believers.”
“More and more you hear people say that they changed their itinerary to stay here," says White.
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