MISSOULA, MT (BRAIN)--The state of bicycle touring in the U.S. remains strong, if it can be measured by the state of the touring organization Adventure Cycling.
The Missoula, Montana-based group is among the country’s largest non-profit cycling organizations, with 44,000 members. The group is coming off a good year financially, seeing a 23 percent increase in individual donations according to its fiscal 2011 numbers released Tuesday.
“Adventure Cycling is growing in nearly every way possible and it’s helping us grow awareness and support for bicycle travel throughout North America,” said executive director Jim Sayer, who met with BRAIN in Boulder, Colorado, this week.
Membership actually declined slightly—2.7 percent—in 2011, perhaps due to a weak economy. But membership is still 19 percent higher than it was 10 years ago.
The organization operates on a $4.1 million annual budget and is active in a number of arenas, including mapping, advocating for the interests of bike transportation and touring on local, state and federal levels, publishing a magazine, running tours and operating an ambitious website.
Among Adventure Cycling’s projects:
- The organization is working with state and federal officials to establish an official U.S. Bicycle Route System.
- Adventure Cycling continues to map touring routes, including the first section of the Underground Railroad Detroit Alternate, a new routing option for cyclists wishing to travel between Oberlin, Ohio, and Owen Sound, Ontario. Adventure Cycling's Route Network now encompasses 40,974 miles—the largest mapped network of bike-friendly routes in the world.
- Although Adventure Cycling experienced a small decline in participation and tour revenue in 2011, it's tour division has maintained an average growth rate of more than 10 percent over the past three years. In 2011 it offered 43 guided tours, including supported trips, self-contained tours, and educational courses. More than 960 cyclists rode with Adventure Cycling during the season.
- In 2012, Adventure Cycling will continue research on its next long-distance bicycle route, Bicycle Route 66.
- A new website, BikeOvernights.org, is intended to encourage newbie tourists, including bike commuters looking for local adventure.