Cycling in Simcoe County has boomed significantly over the past few years, helping local businesses get back on track.

"During the pandemic, cyclists were just travelling locally," said Tourism Simcoe County experience development coordinator Brendan Matheson.

According to Cycle Simcoe, cyclists generated around $850,000 for the region's economy last year.

"In 2021, we had over 2,500 overnight stays as a direct result of cycling tourism. And that surpassed 2019 pre-pandemic, which was actually around 1,500," said Matheson.

He said they've mapped out and posted cycling-specific signs along multiple routes across Simcoe County. The longest route, the 160-kilometre Simcoe County Loop Trail, is considered one of the premier cycling loops in Ontario.

"We're actually seeing that the promotion and the route development is actually working. And we're seeing a lot of cyclists come for multi-day, self-guided tours, staying in the region and supporting local businesses."

Cheryl Kydd, owner of Dragonfly Dreams Inn, said the rise in cycle tourism's popularity had benefited her business.

"This is my biggest year."

Cyclists have rooms at Kydd's inn booked throughout the summer.

"They actually book a year in advance. They do blocks of four suites each month starting in June, July, August, September," said Kydd.

Her Midland bed and breakfast is one of 80 cycling-friendly businesses to have partnered with the tours.

After a slow two years due to the pandemic, Kydd said she's delighted to see business return to a booming pace.

"I look forward to the cycling business because they offer a different type of clientele."

Kydd said she already has repeat customers, with many visiting from outside the region.

"They want to explore small rural Ontario towns. There's so much to offer, so it's booming," she added.

A sold-out five-day event is being held along the trail in August, with 150 cyclists participating.

It will mark one of the largest events Cycle Simcoe has seen so far, with the hope it'll continue growing the sport and supporting the economy.