Maybe it’s all the good endorphins we get from riding that are helping us ignore the economic climate, but according to Sea Otter, cyclists are traveling, racing and spending like it’s no big deal:
PRESS RELEASE FROM SEA OTTER: In spite of a challenging economy, cyclists remain in the saddle. Early registrations for the 2009 Sea Otter Classic are strong. And other cycling events, organizations, and businesses are reporting good showings for the 2009 season.
Matt Fritzinger with the NorCal High School Mountain Bike League says, “We are looking at 450 riders representing 36 teams this season, which is up 100 riders from last year.”
Tom Spiegal of Team Big Bear reported a doubling in pre-race registration for the Bonelli Park mountain bike event held on March 1st. The event was the first race of the Kenda Cup West, a California and Colorado-regional series of cross-country races. Sea Otter will be the fourth event in the series.
USA Cycling also continues to see increases in membership as the ’09 year rolls on. “We’ve seen a distinct and steady rise in membership over the last five years,” says Theresa Johnson, USA Cycling’s Vice President of Member Services. “This is due in part to the growth in popularity of top-level professional cycling here in the U.S. and also to the rise in awareness of the health and fitness benefits of cycling.” She reports that USA Cycling license sales are up 3% over the same period last year.
And on the business side, Eric Wallace, Thule’s Marketing Field Services Manager, notes that sponsorship of the Sea Otter Classic (and other events) is crucial to the future of their business.
“At Thule, we’re constantly looking for ways to promote the sport of cycling, which is a very key market for our brand. Participating in Sea Otter each year gives us the opportunity to keep driving that brand value forward, which is why we keep coming back, year-after-year.”
Cyclists are riding, businesses are selling, and events are growing. Early signs are indicating that 2009 is shaping up to be a good year for our sport.