Bike Friendly means Big Business!

The Chamber Connection: Bike Friendly means more than you know! It means Business! Big Business!

By T. Myers

During the past two years, Travel Oregon and Bicycle lovers across the state have been working together to develop a program that can be used anywhere a bike can travel to let the public and cyclists know that people who ride bikes are welcome! At first it seemed to be a resurgence of grassroots support for the two wheeled conveyances- one that fits the lower carbon footprint of energy conscious Americans and it also served as a statement against higher gas prices. Both arguments for the good of the people!

In La Pine we installed a workable bike lane that far surpasses those in the urban settings. (I have yet to see a second bike making its way through the bike lane of La Pine, but none the less, it is here). The bike lane was also designed to impede speeding traffic and slow it down as it moved south on HWY 97. Two purposes-crossing at the former widening of the roadway to reduce its use once again, removing turn lanes and the ability to pass a vehicle in the outside lane that is no longer. H-m-m-m!

So, Oregon has taken on the idea of creating bike tours on the ground in different parts of the state. Towns and villages that are located on these routes are reaping the benefits of having a bike friendly attitude and offering amenities to bicycling visitors that are in the form of information booths, bike racks for parking, hotels with bike access in closed garages to prevent theft of precious bikes. (Prevention of bike theft is crucial-Like my daughter who rode her bike to Bi Mart last week on Monday the 10th and locked it in front of the pharmacy to go inside for a few minutes. When she returned, her bike lock was cut and her very expensive bike was long gone!) So these hoteliers offer storage solutions for guests. Some even extend free bikes to visitors with maps of the area so they can go and explore on two wheels instead of four and if they drove a car to the accommodations, they now have a place where they can get exercise and enjoy a slower look at the town they are visiting!

In these bike friendly towns they are setting up repair stations and someone in town is available with parts if needed. We could do it in our local auto shops or tire centers.

Seem like a lot? Just wait! Cyclists spend an average of 20% more at the places they stay and restaurants where they eat a meal and enjoy the hospitality of the area. They get hungry and thirsty and tired when they ride bikes all day long and when they check in, a friendly welcome goes a long way in setting up the spending that will follow. The next time they return? Guess what? They bring friends!

As a City, we can get signage (Travel Oregon has signs for a song that are uniform and attractive) that says we are bike friendly to put on our local businesses. We can arrange to put up accessible and safe bike racks for very little money at all of the places that visitors like to stop. We can learn how to ‘talk bike’ to our visitors and if we do those few small things and perhaps set up a nice bike tour of the local area and hand the visitors a nice little map to get started, we can score big with potential visitors who want an active hands-on way to recreate and vacation!

Can La Pine fit the bill for being bike friendly? If Bikes mean Business they way Oregon has determined, La Pine is poised to reap the rewards of Oregon’s Bike related Travel Industry. It contributes $400 million annually to Oregon’s economy. Bikers also spend $175 million for accommodations and food service, $54 million on groceries, $72 million for motor fuel, $32 million for event fees, $28 million on bike repairs, clothing and gear. Serious bike travelers are part of the reason that there are 4600 bike related jobs in Oregon, an average of $18 million in room related taxes into the state coffers and let me remind you that each and every biker who is on a trip spends 20% more than the car traveler when they come to your area.

Talk to the Chamber about being bike friendly. Call 541-536-9771 to support the idea of being Bike Friendly La Pine!

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Newberry Event 3rd time’s the charm!

Third Time “was Charmed” at Newberry Event

By T. Myers

The three day music festival to fight against MS made its third time as an annual event at the DiamondStone guest lodge site over the weekend of the 24-26th of July. Artists from all over the country made appearances on one of the two stages and the people who bought their wristbanded tickets were thrilled to have an opportunity to see such high quality talent, memorable sets and stunning visions of the environment blending with the music to create a one of a kind venue for Central Oregon.

“It is growing each time we schedule the event,” Sean Jackson, promoter, explained to a group of folks at the bar. That sentiment was echoed throughout the three days when host and co-owner of DiamondStone, Doug Watt, introduced the main stage acts as they appeared. Barring the generator problems and the long set ups between acts, it still produced a feeling of unity around the idea of fundraising.

Doug Watt also hosts the acts to hotel accommodations at the lodges and the bed and breakfast is in full swing, too, because the performers always want to return again next time for more in terms of donating their items. Voodoo Highway lead singer came out with a new band the broken down guitars for the festival. Inn a Vision and the Steppas gave rousing renditions of real reggae for an afternoon filled with a smokey haze and cold July winds that chilled to the bone! The Steppas, from Hawaii, had a difficult time keeping their hands warm, but the music was hot hot hot!

Surprise of the weekend was longtime LA Band, Fishbone! No one was ready for what usually appears only in huge stadiums and auditoriums in concert to thousands. The show was huge! These gentlemen gave a theatrical, bigger than life performance with lots of color, quips and a variety of musical sounds from all genres. The crowd was ready for anything and they got it all!

Jelly Bread was a delightful band and the lead singer, the level of energy and the song list made everyone very happy. The Pink Floyd Tribute Band featured every sound and nuance of the originals and close your eyes and listen and you were there twenty years ago- or more- with the real guys. Pigs on the Wing has been at the event for two years and they are great. Craig Chaquico wowed us with his guitar riffs and songs from the Jefferson Starship era. His new lady singer was no Grace Slick, but passable with her lighter vocals on the old standards.

There is not enough to say about the way Doug and Gloria Watt (who delivered a well-done and touching message on Sunday afternoon before the closing acts) are able to put these groups together into one venue.

Adding the infamous and favorite group, the Terry Robb Trio to end the event was a coup and he did not disappoint with his vocals or guitar!

All of this being said, I am still wondering why- even though it continues to grow, that there are not more Lapinites or Bendites to attend this event. It is right in our back yard and literally a beautiful spot for an event. Add the music, vendors and food providers and this little gem is something no one should miss out on. Hoping for Number 4, T. Myers, signing out!


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We Gave a Party and NO One Came

The Chamber Connection: We gave the community a free party and nobody came!

By T. Myers

The weather outside was delightful and the spirit in the air was full of expectations about how we enjoy our outdoors and about the fact that we would be there to share. Vendors came from far and near, fish were stocked in the big fish pond, RVs set up house for the weekend, gun and sports vendors were ready to share wares and the food vendors lined up to sell a variety of everything from ELK to tacos to funnel cakes to snacks and beverages.

On Saturday morning the feeling of excitement filled the park and we opened the doors to the public. In North La Pine a group of ATV enthusiasts did a poker run out east of town.

Back at the Park, we waited for folks to come and visit the event.

And we waited.

And we waited even more.

The day got hotter and still people did not come out to enjoy a free festival or fish at the kiddie pond or go through the vendor booths.

The food vendors had some business. We have to eat!

The info booths gave out info. The sign folks inside did a land mine operation selling lots of their handmade and original metal signs. The Costco booth had a chance to share all of the services that they have for customers- including online orders and deliveries and a large selection of camping gear and they even featured a new gun safe.

The Band of Brothers, Clem Strechlin, the Spice Guy, Ponderosa Mountain Men, Radio Fliers, Personal Product vendors and others spent a quiet weekend anticipating business that did not come.

Those folks who did stop by stayed to visit and it turned out to be a great weekend to catch up with other La Pine supporters while new visitors walked through the exhibits with ease of a sparse crowd. When it is not real busy, you get a chance to catch up on the folks you work with on a day to day basis and really have time to listen.

The hardest part of living with this kind of reaction to a plan and the hard work it takes to make it happen, is that you are left feeling like it was a mistake.

La Pine has a history of mid-September events of this kind.

The traditional fall fests of years past always occurred in the middle of September. It was a way to get families to the park to enjoy being together, outside, and the fact that it was a friendly cost free event that always made it better for the participants.

Is this idea now past history? We have had community picnics, Gospel fests, fall business displays and many more events under the guise of filling up a family friendly fall. Do we call it good and move on, or do we decide to continue if there is better support? Please contact us at the Chamber and give us feedback. 541-536-9771 or stop by the corner of Huntington RD and HWY 97 at the office.

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