MISSOULA, MONTANA, January 31, 2017 — Adventure Cycling Association celebrated its 40th birthday year with its best-ever performance across the organization, hitting high marks for membership, income, tours, event participation, and advocacy. Launched in 1976 as Bikecentennial, the organization maintained its status as the largest cycling membership non-profit organization in North America, and undertook some of the largest cycling events ever seen on the continent.
“We took a deep breath entering 2016, “ said Jim Sayer, Adventure Cycling’s executive director. “When we exhaled, we were blown away by everything our staff and volunteers accomplished.” Sayer added, “I’m especially proud of our two new global events, Bike Your Park Day and Bike Travel Weekend, which drew more than 23,000 participants, many of them new to bicycle travel. We’ll be continuing these events in 2017.”
Focused on inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle, Adventure Cycling accomplished these goals in 2016:
Membership and donations: The organization shot past its goal of 50,000 members and topped out at 51,222, making it the largest cycling dues-paying membership non-profit in North America. Included in that number are 132 new life members, individuals who give $1,500 to $2,000 for lifetime memberships. Members currently hail from 57 countries. Donations came in at the same record level as 2015, with major support for advocacy, mapping, and the Young Adult Bike Travel Scholarship program.
Income: Adventure Cycling set a new income record, pulling in US$6.5 million. Income is provided by tax-deductible membership dues and donations, tour fees, map and product sales, and print and website advertising revenue. Corporate support also reached an all-time high, with many businesses and destination marketing organizations sponsoring 40th anniversary events.
Tours: The organization ran 95 bike tours and instructional courses (99) and served more participants (1,695) than ever before. Many of these tours are different from those offered by for-profit tour companies and clubs, in that they are self-supported (no motor vehicle support).
New bicycle routes: Adventure Cycling is known as America’s bicycle travel experts, in part because the organization has developed one of the largest mapped networks of bike-friendly routes anywhere in the world. In 2016, the group’s cartographers and researchers finished the new 310-mile Texas Hill Country Route and completed research on the forthcoming Chicago to New York City Bicycle Route (for release in May 2017). Altogether, Adventure Cycling has mapped 45,003 miles of routes and developed over 100 map sections, covering paved and dirt roads and trails throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Publishing: Adventure Cycling published nine issues of its popular bike travel magazine, Adventure Cyclist. According to Bicycle Retailer trade magazine, Adventure Cyclist is the third largest circulation cycling magazine in the U.S. and the best value for advertising. Also published was the stunning large-format pictorial book, America’s Bicycle Route: The Story of the TransAmerica Trail. The TransAm Trail is the iconic 4,200 mile cross-country route that helped launch Bikecentennial back in 1976. The book sold quickly and required a second printing in December.
Online: An active year generated more online activity than ever with 1.1 million website users and 47% growth in social media channels, including Facebook (113,000 total fans), Twitter (38,500 total followers), and Instagram (24,000 followers). Subscription to the popular Bike Bits e-newsletter rose to 63,000. The organization also saw growth in its unique website, bikeovernights.org, which features stories and how-to-information on one- and two-night bicycle tours, the “gateway drug” to bicycle travel.
Events: As part of the 40th anniversary, Adventure Cycling launched three new events, including the Montana Bicycle Celebration, which drew thousands of attendees from all over the world to the Missoula area for a Bikecentennial rider reunion and for a slew of parties and trail dedications. Of special note were the first-ever Bike Travel Weekend (June 3-5) -- in which more than 11,900 people participated in over 900 DIY (do-it-yourself) bike tours all over North America -- and Bike Your Park Day (September 24), in which more than 11,000 people participated in over 1,400 DIY bike events in national and state parks and on public lands. Together, the events amounted to one of the biggest celebrations of cycling in North America, and will be repeated in 2017.
Sales: Sales of Adventure Cycling’s renowned bike maps came in slightly lower than the record-setting 2015 (when it released the new Bicycle Route 66 map set), with 38,262 map unit sales. Digital map sales set a new record, with 2,577 units sold. Overall sales orders rose 7 percent year-over-year to 14,770 and brought in more than US$1 million in revenue.
Advocacy: Adventure Cycling invests net proceeds from donations, sales and tours into advocacy for safer cycling and better bike travel conditions in North America. In that regard, 2016 was a banner year. A partnership with Amtrak yielded new carry-on service for cyclists on the Vermonter (after similar service was provided on the Capitol Limited between Chicago and Washington, DC) plus new train-side checked service on all of Amtrak’s long-distance lines. Other highlights included growing the designated mileage and signed mileage of the official U.S. Bicycle Route System and developing partnerships with national parks (including Glacier, Shenandoah, Blue Ridge, and Natchez Trace) to improve cycling conditions and facilities. Adventure Cycling is working with partners on a best practices guide for active transportation (cycling and walking) in national parks, and is the principal partner working with the National Association of State Parks Directors on better cycling opportunities. Adventure Cycling staff and volunteers also worked with local and state partners to change potentially dangerous applications of rumble strips in states like Montana and Kansas.
Adventure Cycling Association inspires and empowers people to travel by bicycle. It is the premier bicycle travel organization in North America with more than 51,000 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 over 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), firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.adventurecycling.org.
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