Too frequently, it seems, advocates of cycling get caught up in the seemingly intangible benefits of cycling when hawking it around to various groups. But there's another benefit that many overlook in their reporting of how cycling can positively affect a community: the bottom line.
Melanie McIntyre of the Metropreneur's article (from last year) on the economic benefits of cycling on a community is a great start to this. Not only does it highlight three cycling-related businesses in the Columbus area, it points out that they're all growing, despite the current economic downturn.
Three bike shops, in Central Ohio, Paradise Garage, :roll, and B1 Bicycles, are all experiencing great success right now. Paradise Garage has expanded into a larger space due to its success, :roll opened a new shop in Upper Arlington recently, and B1 is expanding the lines it carries into triathlon gear and more. All three are great examples of the benefits cycling can bring to a city and the economy.
Another great example of how cycling can benefit businesses comes from a Bike Commuting in Columbus interview with Columbus restauranteur Elizabeth Lessner. In that interview, Lessner pointed out how she courts bicyclist customers because they make her businesses and the neighborhodds they are in safer by putting more eyes out on the road, reduce the need for (and costs of) car parking, and bring a greater sense of community to areas.
The mayor's office and Consider Biking are both actively courting the business community as well - pointing out the benefits of happier and healthier employees, less need for parking spaces, and a more environmentally friendly city as reasons to do so. Consider Biking's 2 by 2012 program in particular is designed to aid businesses in promoting cycling amongst its employees and encourage citizens of Columbus to cycle to work two days per month, which would make Columbus the most active cycling city in the country.