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Socially Distanced Ride One Way Community, Business Leaders Bringing Tourism Dollars Back To Town

Courtesy of Canyon 2 Canyon Ride

Communities like Bryce Canyon City, just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah, rely heavily on tourism. With the coronavirus putting a pause on international tourism, community leaders and business owners are looking for ways to bring more Utahns to town. 

“On a normal year, it's pretty common to talk to a German tourist  who will say, ‘oh, this is my third time to Bryce Canyon National Park.’ And then it's also pretty common to talk to somebody from Salt Lake City that's never been here,” said Lance Syrett, the general manager of Ruby’s Inn, located in Bryce Canyon City. 

The 4th annual Canyon 2 Canyon bike ride this weekend is one effort by Syrett and other local and business leaders to encourage Utah residents to come to their community. 

“Man, this is an event that is built for COVID,” Styrett said. “It's built for all the social distancing, all the parameters, all the safety guidelines.”

The free bike ride is open to people of all ages. Families or groups book their start time online ahead of the event so they can be shuttled from Ruby’s to where the ride begins at Inspiration Point in Bryce Canyon National Park. 

The shuttles have already been adapted for social distancing and the staggered start times help reduce congestion. The 17-mile, mostly downhill ride ends at the bottom of Red Canyon. 

According to Syrett, this is the second major event held in the area since the pandemic began with the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon last month being first. 

Moving forward, he thinks events like this that encourage Utahns to explore a part of the state they have never visited will be important for economies that rely on tourism. And while the pandemic has been rough for everyone, he says it isn't all bad. 

“So one of the silver linings is that people in our state are starting to figure out that these places that we have in our backyard are pretty cool and that people come from all over the world come to see these places and if you haven't seen them maybe you need to come see them,” he said. 

The Canyon 2 Canyon ride is on Saturday. More information can be found here.