It’s day three of the bike tour; today was the Mountain City to Bristol leg. The bike tour has several objectives, the most important of which is to meet lots of voters throughout the district. But I also want to promote small businesses. And I want to emphasize the beauty of our region. We can improve the allure of our area to tourists from all over. Their satisfaction with trips to Northeast Tennessee can help us grow our economy.
Today’s ride was a good example. The bike trip from Mountain City to Bristol takes route 421, a winding road with some challenging climbs. The ride is a little famous locally; the route is known as “The Snake” because of all the curves in the road. It is certainly a worthy challenge for bikers from throughout the US. And, like me, the bicyclists would stop at local businesses such as the Raceway Restaurant in Shady Valley. I’m a traditionalist, so I had a cheeseburger and fries there.
This is good time to point out some of the other local businesses I’ve interacted with so far on the bike trip. Lunch yesterday was at Sherry and JP’s Chicken House in Mountain City. The Bike Shop in Johnson City, TN repaired the bad weather bicycle that I used on a portion of the Tweetsie Trail Sunday night. A special thanks goes to Brian at Hampton Trails Bike Shop. The frame on my primary bicycle failed in late May, and it was a challenge to get my newly made in Tennessee bicycle frame to me on time; it arrived last week and Brian moved all the components from the old bike frame to the new one. Yesterday was its first ride, and “The Snake” today was its second. This evening I gathered with supporters in Bristol at the Studio Brew; thanks for the hospitality.
One of the things I hear when I interact with business owners is that we are doing OK in supporting our tourism economy, but we can do better. Fly-fishing is outstanding here, hiking is outstanding here, camping is outstanding here and bicycling is on its way up. So, all you folks from outside the district who are reading this and also looking forward to a next vacation, take a look a beautiful East Tennessee!