Quarterly Update from Board / ED for March 2024

Mar 21st, 2024

Letter from the ED

I’m thrilled to share exciting updates as we transition into the second quarter of 2024. First and foremost, let’s celebrate what we accomplished together in 2023! Your support continues to be instrumental, and I express heartfelt gratitude for a successful end-of-year campaign. Thanks to your generosity, we achieved our stretch goal of $500,000.

Our new 2024-2029 strategic plan, which we’ll share much more about in June, is underway, with goals and outcomes paving the way for an impactful future. In 2024, we are particularly enthusiastic about:

  • Creating more opportunities and resources to help new riders discover their first bike trip
  • Building relationships with partners across the country for expanded program and advocacy impact
  • Leveraging our almost 50 years of experience to bring valuable knowledge into local communities through piloting skill-building workshops and camps

Just a couple of weeks ago, we hosted a What’s in Store for 2024 webinar, in which the VP of Programs Jeffrey Mizell and I highlighted some of our program priorities for the year as part of our strategic plan:

  • Support more than 500 new riders with Adventure Grants and Adventure Rides programming
  • Create the first ever Adventure Rider Council in the Rocky Mountain region
  • Address the increasing demand for gravel and offroad route options by developing three new weeklong loops and an epic route, all including offroad terrain
  • Update 20 segments of the Adventure Cycling Route Network (ARCN) and create a new route rating system to help riders determine each route’s difficulty levels
  • Add two new gravel tours to this year’s Guided Tours schedule
  • Receive, vet, and publish 40 new Short Routes across the U.S.
  • Create and pilot an Adventure Camp model, lowering the access and financial barrier to Guided Tours

Thank you to all who attended the webinar and participated in a lively chat conversation and Q&A session; it was wonderful to connect with you! If you missed it, I invite you to watch a recording of the webinar.

I hope you’ll consider supporting this impactful mission-driven work by making a donation today. If you do so by March 31, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar by our Trailblazing supporters! Remember, every donation to our campaigns this year helps us grow this incredible bicycle travel community and, as a bonus, enters you into a drawing to win an All-Packa bicycle by Bike Friday!

Thank you for being an integral part of our Adventure Cycling family. Together, we’re pedaling towards a future filled with exploration, community, and shared adventures.

Jennifer O’Dell
Executive Director

P.S. Stay tuned for the results of the member survey in May and a webinar detailing our new strategic plan in June.

Staff Spotlight

Daniel Mrgan: Art Director

Smiling man with beard crouched with his head in the triangle of his loaded bikepacking set up.

Before arriving at Adventure Cycling in 2017, Daniel worked as a magazine designer and illustrator. His early bicycle adventures started in his home state of Florida in the pre-GPS days of bike travel, when getting lost was a feature and not a bug. Loading a bike bag with books, jerky, and chocolate, and exploring the less-traveled country roads on the weekends helped him gain a new perspective on the state — its unique natural beauty, complicated history, and people.

Another fond memory from this time revolves around a small but mighty community bike shop (Hi, St. Pete Bike Co-op!) where he first started volunteering, then eventually helped to run it. The time spent at the shop helping others not only cemented his belief in the utilitarian beauty of bicycles but taught him many lessons about the value and power of community as agents of change and inspiration.

As much as he enjoys the physical challenge of pedaling up a meandering mountain road or bike camping under the big skies of Montana, it is these early insights and lessons that he cherishes most. If you asked Daniel about Adventure Cycling, he would probably tell you that it’s a place in the mountains where they’ve been worshiping bicycle travelers since the mid 70s and to this day welcome them to their building for a chat and ice cream and sometimes even take an artsy black and white photo portrait of them with their bicycles. After six years at Adventure Cycling, this still sounds like poetry to him, and he hopes it does to you as well.

To read more about Daniel and other staff, check out our staff page.

Board Corner

First and foremost, please join me in welcoming our newest board members, John McDermott and Flavia Chen. Their passion for the outdoors and cycling — as well as their expertise in stakeholder engagement and policy, nonprofit and executive leaders, and technology — have already helped us strengthen and finalize the strategic plan.

February marked our quarterly meeting, where we elected our officer slate. I am honored to continue serving as Chair, alongside Daniel Kanter as Vice Chair, Noel Kegel as Treasurer, and Ricky Albores as Secretary. A heartfelt thank you to Elizabeth Kiker for her outstanding service on the executive committee.

In our last quarterly update, we spoke about building off the momentum of our 2023 programs in three ways:

  • Expanding our focus on education, outreach, and participation with cyclists who are new to bike travel.
  • Continuing to evaluate how to best provide value to our existing and new members, and ensuring we can do so sustainably.
  • Implementing new learning mechanisms to understand and quantify how our programming is helping people gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed for a lifetime of bicycle travel experiences.

For the first, staff is piloting a new workshop program called Adventure Rides. The first will be in the Denver area in June in coordination with the support and excitement of local partners. For the second, leadership is focused on keeping members connected to our core mission and to the incredible community you’re a member of through increased webinar opportunities and online resources. And lastly, we’re currently recruiting people new to bicycle travel to our Adventure Council, where we’ll listen to and learn about the needs of new cyclists.

Early this year, the board successfully passed a strategic plan that provides a clear direction for the next 5+ years. Our strategic plan is rooted in Adventure Cycling’s DNA and mission, aiming to inspire and empower bike travelers, especially the next generation. Our benchmarks for success include making bicycle travel a top 10 outdoor activity in the U.S., positioning Adventure Cycling as the national educational leader for bike travel adventures, and having organizations nationwide use Adventure Cycling’s guidelines for route planning.

We are proud that our strategic plan integrates clear objectives, strategies, financials, and staffing efforts. Stay tuned for specific long and short-term goals to be unveiled in June. Over the next three years, we’ll focus on increasing digital distribution of routes, forming partnerships, and introducing new events and activities to engage riders across the U.S.

As a Board, we are enthusiastic about supporting Adventure Cycling staff as they embark on this vital work. The road ahead is filled with promise, where bicycle travel is not just an adventure but a transformative experience for all.

Maria Elena Price
President, Board of Directors