Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Two weekends ago, bicycles were the most common sight on certain Baker City streets.

Starting today, and continuing through Sunday, the two-wheeled conveyance of choice is the motorcycle.

We support both the Baker City Cycling Classic and the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally. Both bring hundreds of people to town, most of whom spend at least a little money while they're here.

We recognize, though, that neither event is universally beloved.

To be blunt, both can cause hassles of varying degrees.

The main issue is that sections of several downtown streets are closed during parts of both the race and the rally. These closures make it more difficult for some people to get to their destination, and in some cases for customers to reach a business.

Organizers of both events have shown that they're willing to consider potential changes to mitigate these effects. The route for the bicycle time trial, for instance, probably will be changed next year to avoid the need to restrict access to the post office.

Ultimately, though, it's simply not possible to avoid all conflicts and continue to host the events.

The part of the bicycle race that results in the most widespread street closures, the downtown criterium, is designed to take place on streets, and it's obviously not feasible to have a couple dozen bicyclists rolling at up to 30 mph and still allow unrestricted auto traffic.

As with any event, the monetary benefits from the race and the rally aren't distributed equally among local businesses.

But perhaps businesses that have not fared well with one or both events could try different tactics to attract visitors. We'd expect that most businesses that have done well would share their expertise.

Ideally, all businesses that cater to travelers' needs - food, lodging, fuel and the like - should reap at least a small dividend from weekends when hundreds of people show up who wouldn't be here otherwise. These events pose challenges to be sure, but they also create opportunities.