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The outdoor area will provide a variety of services for cyclists in response to growing cycling tourism

PHOTO COURTESY OF PRINEVILLE-CROOK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE - Cyclists take a break at the cycling hub at the Prineville-Crook County Chamber officeCycling is taking off in the tourism industry and the local chamber of commerce have taken special steps to make them feel welcome in Prineville.

The Prineville-Crook County Chamber recently created a cycling hub at its main office, which also serves as the community's visitor's center. Chamber Director Kim Daniels said a water filling station was added to the building as well as a bicycle fix-it station complete with the tools needed for bike repair and signage where visiting cyclists can register their trip. The additions are funded by a 2021 Travel Oregon grant, and all the construction and installation came courtesy of local vendors.

"The main reason for this is we already have the cyclists stopping here," Daniels explained. "They come here, they get information, they ask where they can eat and if they are going to stay overnight, (they ask) where to stay. So, we are kind of like a home base, regardless."

So, the Chamber decided to pursue the grant so that the office could offer the amenities that cyclists often request — and provide them even when the Chamber office is closed.

"It is really just getting them the resources at their fingertips if we are not here," Daniels said, adding that another goal is provide resources when Good Bike Co. is closed. "We work very closely with Good Bike and send as many people there as we can, but they are not always open."

To further welcome cyclists after hours, Daniels said the Chamber is allowing cyclists to park in their lot before heading out for a ride. She stressed that all valuables are removed from the vehicles.

"There is nothing of value left," she remarked.

The signage added to the Chamber building serves several purposes. The Chamber is providing QR codes that visitors can scan for information about dining and lodging options in Prineville. And the registration feature is "more of a safety feature than anything," Daniels said.

"It lets us know how many people are in your party, which vehicle is yours and when you plan to return," she continued. "On the off chance that they don't return, we at least know who to look for and the route (the cyclists took). It also lets us track how many cyclists we are getting to the area."

But even before the Chamber began offering registration, Daniels realized that cycling was taking off in Crook County and other places and wanted to act on it.

"Cycling is growing as a sport," she said. "We saw the numbers going up. We saw the number of cyclists coming to our office, parking their vehicles here and asking for information increasing."

And so far, the early returns on investment are promising. Daniels said the feedback the Chamber has gotten from cyclists has been amazing.

"It has been great for us."

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