Quarterly Update from Board / ED for July 2024

Jul 2nd, 2024

Letter from the ED

Get ready to feel the thrill of the open road and the wind in your hair as we unveil our new strategic plan! Crafted with the roots of Bikecentennial and the needs of today’s cyclists in mind, this plan sets forth a bold vision for the future of bicycle travel, igniting a spark of excitement that will propel us forward into the next chapter of Adventure Cycling’s legacy.

At the heart of our strategic plan lies our unwavering commitment to enabling memorable bicycle adventures that transform lives. The plan is not just a roadmap — it’s a thrilling adventure that will bring even more people into our bicycle travel community. To do that, the plan focuses on increasing the accessibility of our programs and piloting new programs that empower riders to take on bicycle adventures.


We’re embarking on an ambitious expansion effort, introducing new off-road loops and crafting an epic route that will add to the diverse offerings of the Adventure Cycling Route Network. Through these endeavors, we aim to preserve the legacy of our existing routes and chart new territories that beckon adventurers from all walks of life. We’re committed to growing our Short Routes collection, free routes near where people live that can be accomplished in one to four days. By diversifying route offerings, we ensure that cyclists of all skill levels and backgrounds have access to bite-sized adventures that ignite their passion for exploration.

We’ll increase the accessibility of our routes not only in their design but through better digital distribution of the routes and the creation of a route rating system as well.


Our Guided Tours offer comprehensive support, allowing riders to embark on transformative journeys with the confidence of group travel and the expertise of Adventure Cycling. In the next few years, we’ll introduce new gravel and off-road experiences as part of our dedication to catering to cyclists’ diverse needs and preferences. We’ll pilot Adventure Camps, immersive educational experiences where participants build confidence, acquire essential skills, and forge lasting connections within a supportive community set in accessible locations. In another pilot effort, Fundraising Tours will provide a unique opportunity for cyclists to support the future of bike travel while embarking on unforgettable adventures.

Innovation & Discovery

With a current member base of more than 50,000 and a nearly half-century in operation, Adventure Cycling has served hundreds of thousands of riders in the riding of millions of miles. As we look forward to the next half-century, our board and staff are clear: we must do better in opening bicycle travel for everyone. To innovate, our Adventure Programming will directly interact with emerging riders to grow our community. Adventure Grants provides direct financial support to local non-profit organizations across the nation, empowering diverse groups to facilitate bicycle travel experiences.

Adventure Rides workshops offer a transformative journey for new and emerging riders where participants come together to learn the fundamentals of bicycle travel, culminating in a memorable bike overnight. Our Adventure Council represents a groundbreaking approach to community engagement. By ensuring representation from emerging riders, the council plays a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s programming to address the unique needs and barriers faced by cyclists.

Lastly, we are committed to revolutionizing advocacy through collaborative partnerships with local organizations dedicated to advancing cycling accessibility and infrastructure. 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.

For me, this strategic plan is like the best kind of adventure. It’s what drew me to Adventure Cycling in the first place and inspired me to move my family across the country: to chart a path that continues the legacy of this 50-year-old organization while innovating for the needs of cyclists today. Your continued support and engagement are vital to our success, as are open communication and transparency as we embark on this journey. With that in mind, I want to give you a preview of membership changes that will support Adventure Cycling and its legacy.


To ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization, we are revamping our membership structure and benefits. Our streamlined membership tiers will offer new, enhanced benefits tailored to your level of commitment, providing increased flexibility and focusing on the impact of your support. Expect to see more information as we roll out new membership opportunities in the late summer.


Storytelling has always been a major part of what we do, guiding and inspiring cyclists on their adventures. In light of the changing landscape of media consumption and the rising costs associated with print publishing, we must adapt to thrive in the digital age. In 2025, we will transition to a quarterly magazine with an option for a digital-only version at lower membership tiers and a print copy at higher tiers. We believe that by embracing digital media and focusing on the impact of our nonprofit programs, we can continue to serve you and a new generation of bicycle travelers effectively while ensuring the long-term vitality of our organization.

As we embark on this journey together, I invite you to join us in embracing the spirit of adventure as we navigate this new strategic plan. If you’re the sort who dives deep into the plan and scours the map before an adventure, discover more about our strategic plan here and at our upcoming July 19 webinar. With your support and enthusiasm, there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.

Thank you for being part of the Adventure Cycling family.

Pedal on,

Jen O’Dell

Executive Director

Board Corner

I hope this letter finds you well and filled with the spirit of adventure that defines our community and the change of the seasons. It is with great pleasure that I share some exciting news from our recent May board meeting.

First and foremost, I am thrilled to announce that the Adventure Cycling Association Board of Directors has voted to welcome an iconic figure in adventure cycling, Lael Wilcox, to join our board. Lael brings with her a wealth of experience, passion, and a deep commitment to bringing more people into bike travel. Her remarkable achievements as an adventure cyclist, coupled with her dedication to promoting cycling as a means of exploration and empowerment, make her an invaluable addition to our leadership team. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Lael as she embarks on this new journey with us and cheer her on as she chases the around-the-world cycling record right now!

As you read above, we’re thrilled to share more details about the new strategic plan. To make sure we could achieve our strategic plan goals, staff presented a comprehensive three-year financial pro-forma plan that outlined how we would bring to fruition the vision we put forth. With this new plan, we ensure we’re keeping up with how people are digesting information and how people are connecting with organizations they love and support. The board also reviewed changes to membership — which will likely launch in late summer — that include new, exciting benefits and new membership tiers that allow people of all financial backgrounds to support the organization. We’ll also be increasing our digital content and moving to a quarterly publication of the magazine as Jen described above.

At our meeting, we discussed the nuances that come with these changes, and we also reminded ourselves that Adventure Cycling is in a privileged position as the very first organization in the U.S. to support bike travelers. Now, there are hundreds of organizations, associations, and clubs that support travel by bike in many ways. Our aim with the strategic plan is to continue to be a leader in that community and to all individuals who are passionate about adventure cycling by solidifying partnerships and providing our knowledge and resources so that more people can truly experience the joy of bike travel.

As we move forward, I encourage each of you to continue being active participants in our vibrant community. Your support, feedback, and involvement are integral to our collective success, and together, we can continue to inspire and empower cyclists around the world.

Thank you for your unwavering dedication to adventure cycling and to Adventure Cycling Association. I look forward to the exciting journey ahead as we pedal towards new horizons together.

Maria Elena

Chair, Adventure Cycling Association Board of Directors