A “banner year” for the Adventure Cycling Association can only be good news for bicycling in general.
The nonprofit bicycle touring association announced this week that the number of members and participants in its bicycle tours rose in the past year, as did its operating budget and revenue.
That tells me that more people than ever are taking bicycle tours for everything from overnight trips to cross-country expeditions. Or at least they’re thinking about it.
Executive director Jim Sayer is quoted:
“We are just grateful to be part of the fast-growing active travel and bike-touring markets — and part of the movement to create a more bike-friendly world.”
Here are just some of the indicators reported by the Missoula, Montana-based group:
- Membership hit an all-time high of 45,225 members, reflecting a 5.5% growth rate that caps a 20% increase in membership over the last decade. Most of these are individual or family members, although there are 233 bike shop members and 125 club memberships.
- Adventure Cycling saw a 33% increase in bicycle tour participation to 1,275 people. The association offered 50 guided bicycling tours — self-contained, supported, van, inn-to-inn, educational — in 2011.
- Adventure Cycling’s team of cartographers released the Underground Railroad Detroit Alternate, a new option for bicyclists traveling between Oberlin, Ohio, and Owen Sound, Ontario on the historic route that stretches all the way from Alabama to Canada. Now the Adventure Cycling route network is expanded to 41,420 miles of bike-friendly routes.
- Meanwhile, work continues on the Bicycle Route 66, a bike map of the Mother Road from Chicago to Los Angeles. That should be ready in late 2014.
- Sales Adventure Cycling’s bicycle-touring maps increased 4% in the past year as 33,500 were sold. The association’s online store — Cyclosource – experienced a 7% rise as sales hit $900,000.
The staff at the newly renovated headquarters isn’t rested on its laurels for the coming year. They’re offering 70 guided bicycle tours, with more in the Eastern US. Sign-ups are ahead of last year’s rate, with many rides already selling out.
Some staff members will continue to work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System in the newly created Department of Travel Initiatives. Among other tasks, they’re completing a “best practices” report that will guide the states in creating cross-state bicycle routes that link with routes in adjoining states.