OGDEN -- Although it rained slightly, Wednesday's wet weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of a group of Asian cycling company CEOs as they began their first leg of a 400-mile bike ride through Utah.
The conglomerate is in town this week to participate in "A Scenic Tour of Utah," a partnership among Ogden city, the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Economic Development Corporation, which takes the form of a scenic bike ride designed to showcase the natural beauties of Ogden, Weber County and Utah in general.
On Wednesday, the group started their week-long ride in Ogden at the Hilton Garden Inn. Escorted by several members of the Ogden Police Department, the cyclists traveled 28 miles through the city and Ogden Canyon before arriving at Snowbasin later in the evening.
"This is a gorgeous area," said Louis Chuang, president of Topeak Cycling Accessories in Taiwan. "We knew this was a great place, but we didn't imagine this."
The tour was inspired by Ogden City Business Development Director Steve Fishburn and Mayor Mike Caldwell's recent trip to Taiwan, where, along with representatives from GOED and EDCU, the pair worked to enlighten Taiwanese bicycle manufacturers on the benefits of setting up shop in Ogden.
Caldwell and Fishburn say the city's aim is to turn Ogden into a North American cycling cluster, bringing an interconnected concentration of cycling businesses to the city -- similar to the thriving Northern Utah aerospace industry.
And if first impressions mean anything, the Asian cycling group said they got a great one on Wednesday.
"We are here, looking at investment opportunities and for opportunities to expand," Chuang said. "I can tell that if we came here, we wouldn't get bored. We enjoy this type of recreational environment."
Grace Ruan, president and publisher of Wheel Giant, Asia's biggest media outlet for the international cycling industry, echoed Chuang's thought.
"I've been down visiting around the 25th Street area and I am very impressed," she said. "It's very elegant. You have a nice, clean city."
Ruan is putting together a documentary and special publication on the tour.
Fishburn said the cyclists began their day early, with a round of golf at the Ogden Golf & Country Club.
"We're trying to show them some of the things that we have to offer, and one of those things is our scenic landscape," Fishburn said. "So far, I think we've done that. They don't get to see mountains and blue skies like this very often."
The riders will continue their ride today and throughout the rest of the week, going from Mountain Green in Morgan County to Salt Lake City; Park City to Sundance Mountain Resort; Fish Lake in Richfield to the Capital Reef National Park; Boulder city to Bryce National Park; Brian Head to Zion National Park. The tour will conclude in Las Vegas at the Interbike International Bicycle Expo.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.