Sunday, 4 November 2012

The power of cycling tourism: London-Land's End by bicycle!

Please note this article is out of date. The fund-raising as discussed in the article is not required any more. The book was published June 2013 and the Blog Article of June 2013 features all essential information about the book. We decided to keep this article on-line, as it provides a great overview of the development work we have been doing over the years. It shows how a long-term vision (rare in Britain!) really can start something new. We have now published two successful cycling guidebooks ourselves and receive great feedback from its users. 

You may well be aware of the rising popularity of cycling in Britain. The best cycle racers of the world are from the UK these days, inspiring more and more people to start riding for fun! This results in a higher demand for high-quality cycle routes, most notably for leisure. The creation of the National Cycle Network was one great step forward, but being pioneers in the cycling industry, at my EOS Cycling Holidays we now wish to take the next step.

Using the current available infrastructure, we want to create an attractive long-distance cycle route in southern England, with its own clear identity; welcome to our London-Land’s End by bicycle project! We intend to publish a high quality guidebook with the best cycle routes of southern England, together forming a continuous traffic-calmed leisure cycle route from London to Land’s End. The book will be especially for "new cyclists", encouraging families with teenage children and couples to take up cycling together. 

The book will feature a continuous route description, full mapping, visitor information and listings of B&Bs, campsites, budget accommodations and bike repair shops. The book comes with a website featuring live route-updates, social media and naturally the book and GPS-tracks for sale. By including links from Dover and Harwich to London and from mid-Devon south to Plymouth, we also intend to open up the route to international cycling touristsWe intend to promote the route locally, involving local establishments, cycling groups and authorities. 

So beyond the added value of cycling fun, what would such a publication bring to local economies? Well, a condensed Dutch-language version with the same route was published by us spring 2011. Although the book only sells 350 copies per year (figures for both 2011 and 2012 were identical), the economic value of cycling holidays made as a result of this book is much greater. Based on figures of multiple accommodation providers in combination with feedback to the author, it is estimated that about a third of the Dutch-language book buyers actually embarked on a journey, which translates to about 116 cycling parties per year, a total number of about 200 people. 

We did a survey in 2010 at the Amsterdam Cycling Holiday Fair, asking the audience of this fair about their cycling holidays. Interestingly, this survey clearly identified two major dedicated groups. About 50% preferred B&B accommodation and does cycling holidays of up to 10 days duration whilst the other 50% preferred camping and does cycling holidays of up to 14 days. If we use this information to label the behaviour of those 200 Dutch people per year who cycle our route to Land's End, we are up to find some amazing figures.

B&B accommodation in the UK costs roughly £35 per person per night, so with 100 people choosing for B&B accommodation for 9 nights, this is a boost to the local economy of £31,500 per year. B&B cyclists tend to spend at least another £30 per person per day on lunches, dinner and additional food and drink purchases, topping up their total expenditure with another £30,000 to about £60,000 per year. 

Using the same calculation method for 100 camping cyclists, with a campsite generally charging £8 per person per night for 13 nights, the boost to the local economy of accommodation charges is about £10,400 per year. This budget-group tends to spend less on their meals, often cooking themselves or limiting their purchases to take aways. On average, this group will still spend about £15 per person per day on essentials, bringing a further expenditure of £19,500 to a total of about £30,000 per year.   

Our survey at the 2010 Amsterdam Cycling Holiday Fair also asked cyclists what else they like to do whilst touring by bike. The vast majority of respondents emphasised their enjoyment of the great outdoors, being "close to nature", as the Dutch call it. 35% also indicated enjoying sightseeing on the way, paying a visit to a museum or attraction every two days or so. With a non-ambitious figure of 3 venue visits per holiday and an average entry cost of £8.50 per person per venue, this adds up to another £5,000 of revenue.

So, just by selling 350 guidebooks per year, this project brings £95,000 annually to Britain. Note this is not including charges paid to Stenaline for the return night crossing Hook of Holland-Harwich and to First Great Western for the return journey from the West Country to Harwich. If you include these expenditures (about £250 per head, £50,000 total), the total annual boost to the economy as a result of this guidebook is £145,000!

In August 2011, we published our first guidebook in English. This book about cycling in The Netherlands in the same format (full route description, good maps, reliable visitor information and accommodation listings), has sold 800 copies during its first year, easily doubling the sales figures of the Dutch-language guide, due to its wider audience of English native speakers. With minimal promotion, 20% of these sales were achieved via the designated website with nearly 25% of orders coming from overseas. We expect a similar guide about cycling in England in English would achieve a similar figure of sales. Just as with the Dutch language book about England, if only a third of these potential London-Land's End book buyers were serious about doing (parts of) the route, the value per year to the local economy would be at least the same. (please note: this publication is out of print since September 2015 and has been replaced by the book "Cycling in Amsterdam and The Netherlands, the second edition of this book project)

You might have noticed though that author and publisher of the guidebooks do actually don't receive anything of this money. Lots of research goes into the development of these guidebooks. To be able to fit in over 750 miles of routes in 164 pages in a clear, compact, but also attractive way with lots of photography, there is a high demand to artwork and cartography requirements in comparison to other publications. Also, as retail prices for books are at an all time low, margins for profit as a result of book sales are minimal. This is why we are  currently facing a shortfall of £3000 in the production costs of the new book.   

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll ask 500 services providers on the route (which will be listed in the book at no charge) for voluntarily contributions, just as organisations that have an interest in the publication of this book. We also call for help from cycling enthusiasts who'd like to see this book being published. We respect the tough times we are all in, so such a donation could be as small as £10On donations of £40 or more you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the book once it is published. By making a donation you’ll achieve official “friend” status. Friends will keep being informed about the progress of the project and will be the first to hear the latest news about the book and/or route. Your help is much appreciated!

Please note again: the London-Land's End book was published June 2013 and the fund-raising appeal has been closed. The Blog Article of June 2013 features all essential information about the book! See also below:

What about going for a traffic-calmed cycling holiday with one of my "Cycling Dutchman" guidebooks?

The London - Land's End Cycle Route Book is designed for those who LOVE cycling, but don't like traffic. The book takes you onto the most beautiful cycle routes of southern England, including the Camel Trail, Devon Coast to Coast Route, Bristol and Bath Railway path, Thames Valley route and many more! What makes the book unique is that the route is completely continuous, including detailed directions and local knowledge all the way. Get inspired; choose your favourite route sections or go for a full summer holiday adventure; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag, see

Cycling in  Amsterdam and The Netherlands - The very best routes in the cyclist's paradise makes you travel beyond Dutch cliches like clogs, windmills and the Amsterdam red light district, allowing you to truly explore the lowlands. The book features 1064 kms of routes and has special chapters explaining the unique Dutch cycling-minded traffic rules and its cycle route signage systems; 164 pages, colour, wiro bound, fits in standard handlebar bag, see also

Other popular Cycling Dutchman blog articles:

Explaining Dutch cycling infrastructure:

Dutch bike rides and Dutch cycling culture:

The 12 best bike rides of The Netherlands

Dutch style bike rides in the United Kingdom:
Newer Posts Older Posts Home