MISSOULA, MT (BRAIN) — Adventure Cycling Association's membership hit an all-time high of 46,724 members in 2013, and the group also hosted more tour participants than ever this year.
“Adventure Cycling continues to benefit from the surge of global interest in bicycle travel,” said Jim Sayer, executive director of the organization. “We are being asked by cities, states, and provinces all over North America how they can attract more bicycle tourism and we’re hearing from many businesses that want to get more involved in this thriving sector.”
Adventure Cycling remains the largest cycling membership organization in North America. Overall, the program experienced a 3.3 percent growth rate in 2013, which caps a 19 percent growth rate in membership over the last decade. Besides individual members, Adventure Cycling also attracted 274 bike-shop members and 123 club memberships.
Life memberships are another growing category. The organization welcomed 276 new life members, more than double the number of those who joined in 2012, bringing the total number of life members to 2,288. Funds from life memberships are designated to providing long-term support for the organization. In the past, life-member funds helped purchase Adventure Cycling's headquarters and last year, helped complete its expansion and renovation.
The organization's magazine, Adventure Cyclist, underwent a thorough re-design recently and has added editorial and advertising pages and increased circulation. Advertising in Adventure Cyclist increased 13 percent to $298,000 in 2013. New advertisers included New Zealand Tourism, Big Bend Texas, Bacchetta, Velo Orange, Vitacost Vitamins, Whitefish Bike Retreat, and Balance Insurance. The magazine is published nine times a year and reaches more than 100,000 readers annually. The magazine is the association's primary member benefit, along with discounts on maps and access to tours and instructional courses
The group also saw a 6 percent increase in tour signups this year, to 1,360 cyclists. Adventure Cycling offers 70 guided tours with a mix of self-contained tours, supported trips, and educational courses.
On the map front, the group completed mapping a new mountain bike route in Idaho, called the Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route. Maps for the 608-mile route will be available in early 2014. The group also has begun design layout and mapping for the 2,500-mile Bicycle Route 66. Maps for that will be available in 2015.
Map sales declined 2 percent in 2013, after four record sales years in a row. Over the last decade however, the organization’s map sales have grown 42 percent.