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Cyclists' ride pays off for local businesses

Colorado-based tour company targets Yamhill Valley as a must-see destination

Sep 15, 2014

By Dan Shryock
Of the News-Register

Leaping Lizards! Did anyone see that van and trailer in downtown McMinnville today?

 Lizard Head Cycling Guides, a Colorado-based bicycle touring company, was in town for its second Oregon bike tour this year. They rode into town from Forest Grove and Gaston on Sunday and headed down West Second Street today on their way through Amity and on to Silverton. So far, 24 Lizard riders have visited the Yamhill Valley this month before heading to Silver Falls State Park, the McKenzie Pass, Oakridge, Eugene and points south.

 More important to the local economy, the riders accounted for 24 room nights at Hotel Oregon. They also ate 24 meals three times each day.

Lizard Head ( leads road and cycling tours throughout the United States but this is the first year they’ve added Oregon to their itinerary list. The company website declares “the state of Oregon may offer the best border-to-border cycling experience in the 50 United States. … (The) Oregon Bike Tour offers miles and miles of quiet rural roads.”

A company spokesperson says the Yamhill and Willamette valleys were selected because “it’s a really interesting area. There are nice roads and pretty scenery. We really wanted to incorporate wine country.”

The first tour passed through Carlton and McMinnville a week ago. That tour was so popular “we over-sold it,” said Amelia, the spokesperson. That meant a 20-person peloton snaked its way down Third Street. A second tour was added to accommodate four more people wanting to ride here. The larger group dined at Hotel Oregon; the smaller group enjoyed Nick’s Italian Café, Amelia said.

She estimates at least $250 per rider is spent each day during a tour. The primary expenses are lodging and three meals, of course. The tour guide/support must sleep and eat as well.

That’s $6,000-plus into our economy. Thanks, Lizard Head.

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