Adventure Cycling Awards Bike Travel Scholarships

Four young adults will bring their bike travel experience and leadership skills to their communities

MISSOULA, MONTANA, March 29, 2016 — Adventure Cycling Association is thrilled to announce the four winners of the 2016 Young Adult Bike Travel Scholarships. Now in its third year, the scholarship program was developed at the request of Adventure Cycling members as a way to introduce more young people to bike travel.

Since 2013, the Adventure Cycling Young Adult Bike Travel Scholarships have funded eight young adults out of 143 applicants. With so much interest, Adventure Cycling expanded the program to support more young cycling leaders.

“We’ve been deeply impressed by the high level of demand for these scholarships, in all parts of the country,” said Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling. “So we went back to our members and sponsors to see if they would support a larger program, and without hesitation, they increased their support.”

With the new increase in support, the program this year has expanded into two separate categories: “Introduction to Bike Travel” and “Outdoor Leadership.” Both tracks are designed to support riders of varying experience levels and cover the cost of attending one of Adventure Cycling’s education courses. Upon course completion, the scholarship recipients will apply what they’ve learned to an outreach activity in their community.

Cara Thompson, of Bainbridge Island, WA, and Nathan Dorfman of Tulsa, OK, were chosen from 52 applicants for the Introduction to Bike Travel Scholarship. 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. Cara and Nathan will each be outfitted with a new Salsa Marrakesh touring bicycle; touring gear from Big Agnes, Arkel, and Portland Design Works; and bike shipments covered by

Cara and Nathan will both attend the Introduction to Road Touring course in Williamsburg, VA, in May. After the course, Cara plans to lead a group of writers and artists on a bike tour, called “Story-Bike,” through the Olympic Peninsula. They’ll ride along the coast and present stories of cycling while inviting community members to share their stories and ride with them. Nathan, who is currently an International City Management Association fellow for the city of Tulsa, OK, plans to set up an after-school cycling program for elementary students in Tulsa after the course.

Rachel Irvine of Minneapolis, MN, and Luke Kantola of Tiburon, CA, were chosen from 29 applicants for the Outdoor Leadership Scholarship. This award is for those who have bike travel experience and want to get more involved in outdoor leadership. Rachel and Luke will attend a Leadership Training Course to learn about the philosophy of leadership and how it applies to self-contained and supported bicycle tours. They will spend four days with road-savvy leaders exploring the dynamics of outdoor leadership, the subtleties of group motivation, and successful conflict resolution. They’ll also learn bicycle repair, camping skills, food preparation, chore rotation, and cycling safety. Then they will put their new skills to the test by going on an Adventure Cycling self-contained tour.

Rachel currently works as an adolescent sexual health educator for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. She would like to incorporate bike travel into her current work. She said, “I have felt in my own life the transformative power of physical movement, reflection, nature, and the act of ‘pilgrimage’ of various sorts, and I know that leading outdoor bicycle travel could be an incredible opportunity for healing, empowerment, and growth for youth participants.”

Luke plans to make a short film about bike travel after completing the course. “I fell in love with bike travel this summer on the Pacific Coast Route and want to share my excitement about touring with others,” said Luke. “A film is a unique tool for sharing an adventure because it can be by accessed by almost anyone in the world.”   

Additional information on the Young Adult Bike Travel Scholarship Program is available here. Donations to the Young Adult Touring & Leadership Scholarship Fund can be made here.

Adventure Cycling and our 2016 scholarship winners are so grateful to the donors and in-kind support to keep this program growing. Special thanks to: Salsa, Arkel, Big Agnes, Bike Flights, Old Man Mountain, and Portland Design Works.

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

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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 49,000 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 44,662 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


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