Charting a Course for the Future of Bicycle Travel

Jun 21st, 2024

Adventure Cycling’s Strategic Plan 2024-2029

We believe that adventure, whether small or large, can change us. To live a life of discovery, we must unplug, break from our routines, feel the wind on our brows, and welcome opportunities to feel awe and wonder. The bike — no matter the kind — is the way to get you there.

We also believe that memorable bicycle adventures deepen connections between people and places, promote healthier individuals and environments, and contribute to thriving local economies. Faced with a politically divided nation, climate change, and an ever-increasing amount of time in front of screens, bicycle travel has never been more important.

For nearly 50 years, we’ve been opening the door to adventure for thousands of people. For the next 50, we plan to inspire and empower thousands more to ride through it. In our beginnings, Adventure Cycling was one cross-country route and a group of scrappy young cyclists gathering others to ride across the U.S. Then, as momentum grew, our founders recognized the strength of this adventurous community, using that power and passion to create thousands of miles of routes, a robust Guided Tours program, advocacy for safer riding conditions nation-wide, and an award-winning magazine full of inspiration and resources.

Now, like any movement in its second half-century, we’ve created a new strategic plan with new ways to grow our community and become a top outdoor activity. Building on the strengths of the past 50 years, we’re piloting new programs, taking our resources digital, and diversifying our core programs to reach more cyclists.

To open the door to more bike travelers, we’re focusing our programs on three key outcomes:

  • Education: provide riders with the skills and knowledge to take on a life of bike adventures
  • Experiences: create opportunities for riders of all abilities to gain confidence and build community by riding together
  • Routes and Resources: empower riders with comprehensive trip planning knowledge by increasing and digitizing our vast library of routes, articles, guides, and more

As a part of these approaches, we’re getting hands-on and local. For the next five years, you’ll find us more and more in the places people live, putting on workshops, building shorter routes, and attending events. Cyclists of all kinds — including Adventure Cycling active members — will benefit from our new programs and initiatives.

As a member and supporter, you’ve experienced the benefits of bicycle travel. Together, with your support, we will continue to pave the way for transformative bicycle adventures and inspire the next generation to embrace the joy of exploration on two wheels. Join us as we pedal toward a future where bicycle travel is recognized as a top outdoor activity, and the benefits of adventure are accessible to all.

Our Organizational Identity

Why Adventure Cycling Association Matters: We believe that more bicycle travel means deeper connections between people and places, healthier individuals and environments, and thriving local economies.

Mission: Adventure Cycling Association inspires, empowers, and connects people to travel by bike.

Vision: Bringing the Transformative Joy of Bicycle Travel to Everyone

Envisioned Future

By 2045, the next generation of cyclists have embraced bicycle travel as a top outdoor activity.

Benchmarks for Success

  • Bicycle travel ranks among the Top 10 outdoor activities in the U.S.
  • Adventure Cycling is recognized as the national leader in bike travel education, routes, and resources.
  • Our guidelines for route planning and curation are adopted nationwide by route creators and organizations as the highest standard for routes.
  • Our connected community of members supports and enables a diverse funding base to support Adventure Cycling programs.
  • Adventure Cycling is a top employer in the outdoor industry.

Goals & Objectives: Charting a Course for the next 3-5 years

Increase Participation in Bike Travel

Our #1 goal is to help riders gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become and continue to be bike travelers.

  • Pilot three new educational programs for new riders to learn the fundamentals of bike travel
    • Adventure Rides: local educational program for new riders, complete with curriculum, gear, funding, and volunteer engagement, to serve new riders in at least four locations
    • Education for Credit: an education-for-credit model for college students in at least four colleges or universities
    • Adventure Families: an educational program for families in at least two to three locations
  • Evolve our trip planning resources to meet all types of rider needs
    • Grow a collection of at least 100 Short Routes
    • Introduce three new gravel and off-road routes to the Adventure Cycling Route Network
    • Develop a route rating system that provides clear information on difficulty, terrain, and amenities to be used not just by ACA but other route planning organizations.
  • Diversify guided experiences for riders of all abilities to gain confidence and build community
    • Pilot new educational hub-and-spoke Adventure Camps with beginner-level itineraries
    • Expand guided experiences with more gravel and off-road tours
    • Extend leader training to support new introductory tours and educational programs

Establish Innovative Partnerships for Rider Engagement

To grow bicycle travel as a top outdoor activity, forging strategic partnerships will multiply our impact on local and national scales.

  • Digital Route Distribution: Partner with third-party platforms to distribute all Adventure Cycling routes, enhancing accessibility and reach
  • Advocacy: Partner with like-minded organizations to advocate for policy initiatives and improve access to bike travel
  • Adventure Council: Integrate Equity, Diversity and Inclusion principles into program development as we expand initiatives
  • Adventure Grants: Partner with organizations across the U.S. on local cycling programs that focus on new riders, serving over 800 riders annually

Mobilize the Community to Expand our Reach

We will engage our deeply committed community of adventure cyclists to support our mission-driven work of bringing bicycle travel to more people.

  • Engage sustaining members and cultivate 5,000 new supporters through an updated membership structure with benefits that appeal to riders across the bicycle travel spectrum.
  • Continue to publish award-winning stories and inspiration via Adventure Cyclist Magazine (digital and print) and distribute to members based on our updated membership tiers
  • Establish a new structure for corporate partnerships that enables the scaling of pilot programs
  • Provide opportunities for members to directly contribute to the mission:
    • Develop and review Short Routes
    • Host community and fundraising events for the 50th anniversary
    • Participate in guided experiences
    • Advocate for policy initiatives that improve access to bike travel
    • Support our program work to give new riders the skills, knowledge, and confidence to travel by bike with donations, time, and expertise

Grow the Visibility of Bike Travel

Through targeted digital communications and outreach, we’ll bring to light the impactful benefits of bicycle travel and empower every rider with the inspiration and knowledge needed to embrace adventure cycling.

  • Launch a virtual, educational webinar series to engage at least 500 new riders annually
  • Collaborate with filmmakers and video producers to celebrate 50 years of bike travel
  • Expand our digital resource library through video, enhancing accessibility and convenience
  • Attend 10 community and industry events annually to broaden our reach and leadership
  • Develop a nonprofit coalition to promote the impact of bike travel on economies, the climate, and mental and physical health, culminating in a national awareness campaign

Strengthen the Organization

Through People, Operations, and Board Effectiveness

  • Expand our operational footprint across the U.S. through remote work options, dispersed staff, and program operations in every region, impacting communities in all parts of the country
  • Continue to boost and modernize organizational systems, including finance, technology, risk management, operational procedures, and HR to better inform how we work
  • Create a more inclusive, collaborative, and innovative organizational culture by implementing a multi-year Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion operational plan
  • Maintain a full board comprised of members with diverse lived experiences and skills to effectively support our strategic efforts

Our Core Programs

Through thoughtful, accessible programs that make an impact, Adventure Cycling is positioned for a great RIDE into the future.


Expanding and Enhancing Bicycle Route Offerings

Our Routes Program continues to be Adventure Cycling’s foundational work as we enhance bicycle travel experiences by providing safe, curated routes as a resource that empowers riders of all backgrounds and abilities. Rooted in a deep commitment to safety and accessibility, the program serves as both a catalyst for the development and expansion of safe cycling routes across diverse landscapes and a conduit for connecting local communities with cyclists, increasing the visibility and impact of bicycle travel.


Innovating Partnerships for Rider Engagement & Advocacy

When we forge partnerships with local organizations dedicated to advancing cycling accessibility and infrastructure, we’re multiplying our impact on local and national scales. Leveraging our substantial national membership base and influential presence, we champion initiatives aimed at making cycling and bike travel more accessible to all. Through collaborative advocacy efforts, we strive to create safer, more inclusive cycling environments, empowering individuals and communities to embrace the transformative power of two wheels.


Piloting Nationwide Educational Programs for New Riders

Adventure Rides encompass a series of different pilot programs offering a transformative journey for different groups of riders like new cyclists, families, and college students. Through multi-week workshops, bike overnights, or week-long camps, participants come together to learn the fundamentals of bicycle travel, culminating in a memorable bike travel experience. These workshops not only impart practical skills but also cultivate a sense of camaraderie and empowerment among participants.


Restructuring Guided Tours for Enhanced Experiences

Our Experiences program specializes in curating exceptional cycling experiences that inspire, challenge, and unite riders from all walks of life. With a passion for exploration and a dedication to excellence, we facilitate journeys unlike any other. Whether a seasoned cyclist seeking new horizons or a novice eager to discover the joys of bike travel, our expertly crafted tours promise unforgettable moments and lifelong memories. Leaning on our 50 years of leading groups on self-supported guided experiences, we’ll expand our offerings to include more educational and entry-level tours, as well as gravel tours, to serve more riders.

Ride with Us

As Bikecentennial, our founders created the bicycle travel movement in the U.S. With the help of supporters, the organization crafted routes, experiences, and resources that enabled thousands to take on life-changing adventures. Today, the way people interact with the world and the cycling community has changed. To become a top outdoor activity in the U.S., our movement needs something fresh — programs that are skill-building, challenging, relevant, and accessible!

Life-changing adventures await thousands of cyclists who haven’t yet discovered Adventure Cycling. With this new strategic plan, we are committed to modernizing our programs and resources so that we can continue to improve your bicycle travel experience and empower those who haven’t yet started. Accomplishing our goals takes hard work, piloting new ideas, partnering with like-minded organizations, and, most importantly, community support.

Together, we will continue to pave the way for more people to experience the joy of exploration on two wheels. Join us as we pedal toward a future where bicycle travel is recognized as a top outdoor activity, and the benefits of adventure are accessible to all.

Chart a Course for the Future

You’re a key traveler in our journey to opening the door to bicycle adventures for all. Help us increase the impact of our programs and grow the bicycle travel community by donating.

If you would like more information or have questions, please email us at