2017 National Bicycle Tourism Conference sessions will be posted when confirmed.

2016 National Bicycle Tourism Conference Agenda

The agenda will be updated as sessions are announced.  The 2016 National Bicycle Tourism Conference will include a vast array of workshops and topics and will also boast a number of high profile speakers and industry leaders. Sessions include keynotes addresses, panel discussions, workshops, interactive sessions and outdoor workshops.


Riding for the Fun of It
Lance Armstrong
from Austin, Texas and Aspen, Colorado
Hear from one of the most recognized cyclists in the world as he talks about the fun he now has riding recreational bike tours and charity rides with his friends.  Lance has ridden several recreational bicycle tours including this year’s RAGBRAI, Ride the Rockies and the Aspen Gran Fondo as well as many charity rides such as Bo Bikes Bama and the Best Buddies charity ride.  Armstrong has recently launched a successful weekly podcast called “The Forward”.  This will mostly be an interactive session with Lance taking your questions.
Successful Sponsorships are about Building Lasting Relationships
Dave Edwards, CEO/Owner of Primal in Denver, Colorado
Steve Mathews, Owner/Founder of Paceline Products/Chamois Butt’r in Kansas City, Missouri
Adam Robbins, National Director of Event & Sports Sponsorship at USA TODAY in Chicago, Illinois
Panel Moderator: Steve Schulz, Executive Director of Cycle Oregon in Portland, Oregon

In the past, sponsors expected to see their logos on banners and t-shirts.  That doesn’t cut it anymore. Today’s event managers face the challenge of delivering value to their sponsors through new and innovative ways.  Hear from a panel of three industry leaders who make decisions of how their company build successful relationships with events throughout the world.  This will be a moderated interactive panel session.


“We All Ride The Same Road”
Adding Diversity and Pizzazz to Rides
Nelson Vails, Olympian / Retired Cyclist / Ride with Nelly from San Diego, California

The road began in Harlem, NYC for “The Cheetah”, Nelson Beasley Vails. Harlem may seem an unlikely beginning for a cycling legend, but it was there that Nelson started on the path to become the first African-American to win an Olympic medal in cycling. His silver medal from the 1984 Los Angeles Games is the crowning jewel to a prolific and successful career on both the track and road. Cycling has taken him down many roads around the world, and Nelson’s contribution to cycling’s history was recognized with his induction into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame in 2009.  Hear from Nelson about what he has been up to and his “Ride with Nelly” program

(Also, it is important to note, that if you meet Nelson an added bonus is that you move to within one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon!)


Reviving a Cross State Bicycle Tour – Bicycle Ride Across Georgia
Franklin Johnson, Executive Director of the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia

This session will describe the steps taken to revitalize the previously stale Bicycle Ride Across Georgia. From the early 2000’s until 2015 BRAG experienced a decline in ridership from 3,500 down to just over 600. This secession will discuss the steps taken to increase ridership to over 1,000 from 600, and ensure continued growth.

Steps to the BRAG Turn around:

  • Identifying the root cause of decline
  • Planning a turn around
  • Rebranding
  • Product Improvements
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Planning for growth


Elevating Women’s Experience at Cycling Events
Brooke Wissler – Founder of Moxie Cycling in Minneapolis, Minnesota

During this session, Brooke will share their toolkit of best practices for boosting female participation, creating incentive and fundraising programs, maximizing value and experience, and improving retention.

Moxie Cycling Co. is a cycling apparel company made by and for women with moxie.  Moxie has spent the past five years sponsoring major events throughout the country such as STP, Bike MS NYC, Elephant Rock, and women’s only events Esprit de She, Venus de Miles, and the multi-city Goldilocks ride.

Moxie Cycling is invested in the category and has over a million dollars in sponsorship available in 2017 to elevate the experience of female riders at cycling and triathlon events.


Links in the Chain: Connecting Offline, Digital and Social to Market Your Bicycle Tourism Business
Jason Hackett, CEO of Brier Katama in New York City

Attendees at this session will get an overview of how to build an omni-channel tourism marketing campaign, integrating off-line efforts with online platforms.  Best practices for Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter will be covered.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to determine the right media-mix for your budget
  • Best practices for social media platforms
  • Benefits of paid vs. organic
  • Top-5 “to-dos” for getting started with any social platform


Measuring Trends in Bicycle Tourism: From the National to Local Level
Marian Mithanim, Eco-Counter in Montreal, Quebec)
Louisa Mursell, Ontario by Bike in Ontario, Canada)

How can we demonstrate the economic benefits of bicycle tourism? In the past, long and costly studies have combined count data and on-site surveys. While these studies provide great insights, they often cannot be recreated on a yearly basis. In two countries, France and Canada, tools were created to assess bicycle tourism usage trends and build day-to-day indicators. In the first part, Eco-Counter will look at the national initiatives: the value, challenges faced, and the results. Then, Ontario by Bike will share the methodology and results from a recent collaboration with Eco-Counter and a number of partners to measure cycle tourism at a regional level.


Truths about the Media Today: How to Optimize Speech and Interview Opportunities
Coach David B. Thorpe ESPN NBA Analyst/Truehoop TV Feature Contributor & Consultant to Dozens of NBA Players, Coaches & Executives

Gone are the days where people read stories because they were in their newspaper. Or listened to someone on local radio because that’s the station their car is always tuned into. Today’s media competes with fellow professional sites as well as every amateur with a camera and a keyboard in their phones/tablets/desktops.  And the choices for podcasts increase by the week. But there are still two things that work as well today as they did in the golden age of media; truths and great stories.

Learning Objectives

  • How to tell your stories
  • Speaking to the truth-the gold inside of the “superstory”
  • Preparing for an interview
  • Why authenticity trumps trendy
  • Social media tricks-how to engage followers with class and some wit

David Thorpe

KEYNOTE: 10% of Nationwide Tourism Turnover in Cycle Tourism?  That’s “Made in Germany”!
Burkhard Stork, National Director 
German National Cyclists’ Association 

When it comes to everyday cycling, Amsterdam and Copenhagen are the leaders – But when it comes to cycle tourism, we are in the lead! Germany is the number one travel destination for cycle tourists.

4.5 million of Germans enjoyed a cycling holiday lasting three or more nights in 2015. 10% of nationwide tourism turnover are spend on the bicycle saddle. In some federal states it´s up to 25%.

The session explores the secret to Germany´s success while having a look at situation, structures and strengths. You will learn why a cycling route needs to be runned, you will see, what a cycling route and a stage play should have in common.

Burkhard Stork is the national director of the German National Cyclists’ Association, ADFC e.V., with more than 155,000 members one of the largest Cyclist organizations worldwide.  As head of the level of operation he is responsible for advocacy, research, cooperation with administration, development of cycling tourism. Stork particular focuses on international exchange of experiences: What can we learn from each other, what will bring us forward? He lives and works in Berlin.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding how cycle tourism works in Germany.
  • Understanding the German system of “route operators”
  • Understanding the Role of your Parents in law
  • Understanding why quality is so important.

Portraits Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club

Global Bike Tourism Discussion
Burkhard Stork, National Director
German National Cyclists’ Association 

This open discussion session will focus on global bicycle tourism and will be lead by Burkhard Stork, the national director of the German National Cyclists’ Association

Developing a Statewide Bicycle Tourism Marketing Plan – The Case of Pure Michigan
Dr. Sarah Nicholls, Associate Professor and Facilitator/Coordinator
Michigan State University & Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan

This session will describe the development of the Michigan Bicycle Tourism Marketing Plan, an outcome of the implementation of the 2012-2017 Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan. Both the planning process and the plan’s content will be considered, and an update on accomplishments to date will be provided.

Learning Objectives:

  • Appraise the need for a bicycle tourism marketing plan in their area;
  • Describe the process of developing such a plan;
  • Identify critical components of such a plan;
  • Assess the opportunities – and the potential challenges – associated with plan implementation.


A CVB as your FBO (Forward Base of Operation)
Patrick Tuttle, Director
Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau

The Convention & Visitors Bureaus along a long distance cycling route can serve as an outpost to stage supplies or gear needed as the environment ahead changes.   Patrick Tuttle of the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau has seen his share of motorists and cyclists traveling through the area on the famed Route 66 and will share his experiences of working with CVBs.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn what a CVB might offer to tours and events
  • Learn the ways to ask for help and services
  • Learn how to employee a CVB
  • What limits what a CVB can provide to your tour or event
Aaron Hautala
Volunteer president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CREW)

In just five years Cuyuna (Minnesota) located on the headwaters of the Mississippi River has transitioned from a failed industrial town to a year-round, international, family cycling destination for mountain bicycling.  During this session volunteer president Aaron Hautala will speak to the components of what has developed Cuyuna from being an unknown sleepy small town to a top 15 destination in the world.  This presentation will speak direct to out-state communities and advocates (2 hours or less driving distance from a major metropolitan hub) seeking to impact their quality-of-life and regional economics through purpose-built mountain bicycling trails.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understanding the 2 hour travel buffer: Location is everything.
  • The Unified Volunteer Family (Vision, Mission, Values)
  • The Power of Partnerships: You can’t do it alone
  • Transitioning your narrative from a “user-group want” to a “statewide-economic-must-do-right-now.”
  • Storytelling that creates the news – not makes the news.
  • Predicting the future: The importance of listening
  • Recruiting future residents through cycling events
  • Introducing the Purpose Built Community: Made by cyclists, for cyclists
  • Long term vision and the art of peacemaking.
  • Show me the money! (Pretty please?)
  • Resisting status quo

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Beginners Technology Workshop:  Learn to Effectively Map Routes
Kevin Prentice
Head of Support & Business Development for Ride with GPS

Learn to effectively map routes using Ride with GPS.  No prior experience is required, but experienced users will benefit from attending.  Real world examples will be used to demonstrate how to reliably generate accurate cue sheets, properly map out-and-backs, modify existing maps, and leverage advanced tools to save time.  Integration with the Ride with GPS mobile app will be covered and the session will include Q & A.


Advanced Technology Workshop:  Learn to Effectively Manage Your Mapped Routes
Kevin Prentice
Head of Support & Business Development for Ride with GPS

Take a deep dive into the Ride with GPS Club & Tour Operator account.  This session is targeted toward tour operators, event organizers, tourism organizations, and clubs.  Allow your riders to view & navigate your routes with their phone or Garmin GPS and print customizable PDF maps & cuesheets, keep your route library and event calendar managed from year to year, and ensure your data is under your control with group permissions and backups. Whether you run tours all over the world, or are looking to become a great cycling destination, deliver more value to your riders with the Club & Tour Operator account.


USA Cycling and your Event
Joan Hanscom – Director of Event Services for USA Cycling
Stefanie Larson – Event Services for USA Cycling

As the official national governing body, the mission of USA Cycling is to achieve sustained success in growing cycling in America while delivering an exceptional customer experience.  Hear from USA Cycling about the services and resources that are available for your cycling event.

Learning Objectives:

  • Provide a robust calendar of events for riders of all disciplines and abilities
  • Support grassroots events
  • Get new people interested in the sport
  • Service cycling enthusiasts and help cultivate their passion
  • Create a national network to link all cyclists alike
  • Guide event directors into building successful and sustainable events
  • Provide an avenue for those who would like to try out racing as well as other disciplines
  • Encourage excitement over Team USA


  • Marketing exposure to USA Cycling’s audience of 140,000 individuals nationwide
    • Entry on USA Cycling’s event calendar
  • Online tools to make organizing your event easier
  • Cycling specific event insurance coverage designed to fit your needs including;
    • General liability coverage for your participants, volunteers, sponsors, coaches, mechanics, clubs, and additional insured
    • Excess medical coverage for your participants
  • Access to online registration system that includes Event Cancellation Insurance
  • One on one help from our experienced and friendly staff
  • Access to more than 2,700 clubs around the country for your participants to get more out of their cycling community
  • Tiered memberships for enthusiasts and racers

Resources and Programs:

  • Event Director Education
  • RaceClean
  • Safesport
  • Women’s Cycling
  • Cycling Advocacy
  • Collegiate and Clubs

USA Cycling 600-pixel banner

Success Story: Dirty Kanza
Jim Cummins (Executive Director of Dirty Kanza)

Casey Woods (Executive Director of Emporia Main Street)

All-Road riding, or “Gravel Grinding,” is widely considered to be the fastest-growing and most important genre in bicycling today. When the cycling industry talks “Gravel,” the discussion almost always begins… and ends… with “Dirty Kanza.” Jim Cummins (Executive Director of Dirty Kanza) and Casey Woods (Executive Director of Emporia Main Street) will talk about the success of Dirty Kanza and what it has meant to the town of Emporia, Kansas, to host this influential and exceedingly-popular event.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how gravel grinding is emerging as “the” bike event
  • Understand how growing the ride into a public event broadened the interest level and success of the event, and got the community involved
  • Understand the importance of connecting and partnering with your community’s tourism/visitor agency


Southern Spokes: Two Southern Mayors Talk About Bike Tourism
Mayor Gene McGee (Ridgeland, Mississippi) 
Mayor Blake Sanders (West Pelzer, South Carolina)

Join Mayor Gene McGee (Ridgeland, Mississippi) and Mayor Blake Sanders (West Pelzer, South Carolina) for a discussion about bike tourism in their communities. From the Natchez Trace Century Ride to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, learn how Mayors McGee and Sanders have embraced cycling and how it has impacted their towns.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand what bike tourism can look like in a small to mid-size city, and how the successes
    differ from a large metro area
  • Understand how city officials think about bike tourism and how to approach them
  • Understand how various bike tourism efforts and events have led to small business creation
    and success


More sessions will be posted as confirmed!