Adventure Cycling Announces Winners of Young Adult Bicycle Travel Award

Sara Chars and Kaj Kraus win The Greg Siple Award for Young Adult Bicycle Travel to participate in Adventure Cycling education courses.

MISSOULA, MONT., March 14, 2017 — Adventure Cycling Association is thrilled to announce Sara Chars, 25, of Minneapolis, and Kaj Kraus, 23, of Washington D.C. as the winners of The Greg Siple Award for Young Adult Bicycle Travel. Chars, the winner of the Intro to Bicycle Travel track, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and works as an art director for Tiger Oak Media. Kraus, the Outdoor Leadership recipient, is a bike messenger for UrbanStems while pursuing advanced degrees in deaf cultural studies and sign language linguistics at Gallaudet University.

Now in its fourth year, The Greg Siple Award was developed at the request of Adventure Cycling members as a way to introduce more young people to bike travel. The name of the award was recently changed to honor Adventure Cycling’s cofounder and art director, Greg Siple, who retired in January after over 40 years, and credits his father for giving him the resources he needed to pursue a lifetime of bicycle travel.

The Greg Siple Award is designed to support riders of varying experience and cover the cost of attending one of Adventure Cycling’s education courses. Upon course completion, the recipients will take what they’ve learned and apply it towards an outreach activity in their community to promote bicycle touring.

Chars was chosen from 68 applicants for the Intro to Bike Travel track. This award is aimed at young people who dream of going on a self-supported bicycle tour but want to learn more about the logistics of bike travel before hitting the road. Chars will be outfitted with a new Sand County Advocate Cycles touring bicycle, and other touring gear, courtesy of Big Agnes, Arkel, Portland Design Works, HubBub Online and The Outspoken Cyclist, with bike shipments covered by Bike Flights.

Chars will attend the Intro to Road Touring course in Eugene, Ore., July 23 – 28. After the course, she plans to lead a workshop on how to make do-it-yourself panniers just before Minneapolis’s annual Cranksgiving ride, a food drive on two wheels. “Panniers were really life changing for me as it took the weight of a backpack off of my body and transferred it to the bike,” Chars wrote in her application. “It was this ‘a-ha’ moment that I want to share with others and have them personally experience for themselves.”

Kraus was chosen from 85 applicants for the Outdoor Leadership track. This award is for those who have bike travel experience and want to get more involved in outdoor leadership. Kraus will attend a Leadership Training course in Toronto, September 14 - 17, where he will learn about the philosophy of leadership and how it applies to self-contained and supported bicycle tours. Then he will put his new skills to the test when he goes on an Adventure Cycling self-contained tour. Kraus will also receive a $100 gift certificate to Adventure Cycling’s Cyclosource store to update his gear.

After taking the Leadership Training Course, Kraus will plan a fully accessible bike tour on the C&O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage and a bike maintenance and travel information class for members of the deaf community in the Washington D.C. area. “In general, there is a lack of significant deaf leadership, but certainly in the world of outdoor bike travel, too,” Kraus explained in his application. “In a large part, this is caused by the lack of opportunities available to deaf people in the first place.”

Special thanks to the following sponsors who are generously outfitting the 2017 award winners: Advocate Cycles, Arkel, Big Agnes, Bike Flights, Portland Design Works, and HubBub Online and The Outspoken Cyclist

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Adventure Cycling Association inspires and empowers people to travel by bicycle. It is the premier bicycle-travel organization in North America with more than 52,000 members. Adventure Cycling produces cycling routes and maps for North America, organizes more than 100 tours annually, and publishes the best bicycle-travel information anywhere, including Adventure Cyclist magazine. With more than 45,000 meticulously mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike-travel adventures. Contact the office at (800) 755-BIKE (2453),, or visit

Lisa McKinney, Communications Director
Direct: (406) 532-2759 / Twitter: @advcyclingassoc  / Facebook: @adventurecycling


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