With increasing numbers of mountain bikers coming to the Cowichan Valley to take advantage of the area’s many popular trails, the City of Duncan is looking at strategies to entice them to visit local businesses.
At a recent council meeting, staff were directed to create an ad on social media that will target the mountain biking community who visit the Valley, informing them of what the area’s business community has to offer before they pack up their bikes and head home after a day of being on the trails.
But that may be just the beginning of an advertising campaign targeting the mountain bikers.
The city is also looking to gauge the interest of the Municipality of North Cowichan and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, in which many of the bike trails are located, to work with Duncan to install signs with QR codes on them providing information on downtown Duncan in the parking lots at the base of the many local mountains that are popular with the bikers.
At the last council meeting in Duncan, acting Mayor Tom Duncan said the initiative began after a local mountain biking enthusiast approached the city and pointed out that often on the weekends, you can’t get a parking spot halfway up Mount Tzouhalem because of the huge numbers of bikers that are coming to the Valley to use the mountain’s trail systems.
“It was suggested that perhaps our tourism committee could work with North Cowichan to come up with a plan for some signage that says to the bikers that, now that you’ve finished riding, come downtown to have a drink or a meal,” Duncan said.
“We want to see if there’s an appetite for this sort of expansion of tourism, or whether it’s something we should just leave until the new committees are formed [after the municipal election in October].”
Staff advised that the hope is there could be further discussions about the signage at the base of the mountains at the next tourism advisory committee’s budget meeting.
“That would be an opportunity to get an understanding of the costs for the signage at the mountain biking locations,” staff said.
A staff report by Alison Boyd, Duncan’s corporate services coordinator, confirmed that mountain biking in the Cowichan region is growing, and is popular at many local mountains; including Maple Mountain, Mount Tzouhalem, Cobble Hill Mountain, and Mount Prevost.
“Male and female, young and old, participate in this extreme activity daily,” she said.
“The Cowichan region has been featured in many mountain biking YouTube videos, promoted by very popular mountain bike riders, and featured on extreme sports TV channels.”