Ecotourism: Rural Entrepreneur Rents Recycled Bikes To Cycling Tourists

viaventura-tandem-bikeWho says you have to live in the city to be an entrepreneur? The idea that you have to be in a “hot” city to be a successful entrepreneur is a common misconception, and while that may be true if you’re in the tech industry, for many other people, business opportunities are where you find them, which may be right near your home.

If you’ve ever spent much time out in the country, visiting or living in smaller communities or other rural areas, you might have noticed that virtually everybody’s an entrepreneur of some kind, as there aren’t too many employers around, and the jobs that are available are often lower paying ones.

In order to get by, many people, even if they do have a job, run a side business doing something needed in the area. In some places, cutting wood and delivering it can be a profitable seasonal business, as can fixing and sharpening chainsaws, and in others, growing a big backyard garden can mean earning a few hundred extra dollars per week at the farmers market. Some of these rural businesses grow into a full-time job, and could continue to grow beyond the reach of a single person, to the point of even employing a staff, depending on the market and the business.

The story of Eloísa Benítez, of Serón, Spain, is a great example of a rural entrepreneur seeing a need that she could meet, and could do so with the resources she had access to already.

There is a system of Green Routes (Vías Verdes) in Spain, created by converting old railway tracks into biking and hiking paths, and these paths attract nature lovers, cyclists, ecotourists, walkers, horse riders, and more. Along those Green Routes, restored old train stations serve as hubs and information centers, with many visitors coming through them.

One of these stations, Estación del Tren de Serón, is in Benítez’ hometown, and she realized that her friends and family had a lot of bikes at their homes that rarely got used. And at the station were plenty of tourists that would willingly rent bikes to ride on the Green Route, so she launched her own bike rental business using these recycled and refurbished bikes.

“At first we borrowed most of the bicycles, then family and friends that didn’t use them gave them to us. We have made the necessary adjustments and they are perfect because they work very well for rental.” – Eloísa Benítez

Her business, ViAventura, now rents not only standard models of bikes, but also tandems, bike trailers, pedal carts (for kids) even trixis (bike taxis) to visitors to the area, supporting ecotourism with pedal-powered transportation.

[Via www.andalusianstories.com, image via ViAventura]

About the Author

lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, slacklining, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves good food, with fresh roasted chiles at the top of his list of favorites. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, RebelMouse, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!