Bicycle tour organization still spinning

2006 marked the 30th anniversary for the Bikecentennial summer, when some 4,100 bicycle tourists hit the highway and rode the TransAmerica bicycle route to celebrate the nation's 200th birthday.

The Bikecentennial group is still around under a different name, Adventure Cycling Association. The group is still based in Missoula, Montana, and boasts 42,500 members, up from 7,500 in the early years. It's the largest nonprofit cycling organization in the country.

The hometown newspaper, the Missoulian, wrote about Adventure Cycling Association recently. It covered the group's history and interviewed executive director Jim Sayer about the continuing work to develop such bike routes as the 867-mile Underground Railroad Bicycle Route.

The overall plan for the group is to work with state and federal agenices to create a network of 35,000 miles of bike routes criss-crossing the country. Sayer calls it an “interstate system for bicyclists.”

In addition to charting maps and compiling resources for touring bicyclists, Adventure Cycling also hosts bicycle tours throughout the year.

As Bikecentennial, the organization simply hired an experienced bicyclist to lead a small group cross-country. Adventure Cycling still uses that mode, called self-contained. The group also offers supported bike tours, which offer luggage and sag support, catered meals, and groups ranging from 40 to 200 fellow cyclists. Another category, education tours, is designed for cyclists who want to learn about independent, self-contained touring on the road or on dirt. Future bike tour leaders also take these tours.

Just to see how far Adventure Cycling has come in 30 years, check out the names of some upcoming tours:

Mountain bike the Grand Canyon;
ultralight bicycle tour;
Underground Railroad tours;
Canada's Great Divide Route;
organic farm tour of Northern California;
family tours in Colorado and the Paul Bunyon Trail in Minnesota.

In addition, there are the old stand-bys:
Great Divide;
Northern and Southern tiers;
and C&O Canal, among others.


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