Thousands of cyclists from around the world eagerly sought adventure during Adventure Cycling’s 6th Annual Bike Travel Weekend. This year proved to be particularly exciting with the big weekend aligning with National Trails Day (June 5). The energy around Bike Travel Weekend was high as each participant planned, packed, and pedaled into the weekend in search of adventure and renewal after 18 months of living in isolation.
This year’s adventures involved careful planning for COVID-19 considerations as loosening restrictions and new CDC guidelines emerged. While many rides stayed local and kept things simple, others were more adventurous with ride leaders and participants eagerly looking forward to a life-changing adventure.
“I had a positive experience this year. It was my first time camping and my first time bike traveling.” –Whitney Theis
As riders got online to connect to one another, the Bike Travel Weekend Facebook Group grew by nearly 300 members in the weeks leading up to the event. Riders from around the world shared ideas, photographs, and encouraged one another to participate in Bike Travel Weekend. The group’s timeline is now filled with pictures and stories from ride leaders and participants.
We hosted two informational events via Zoom. The first, held on May 13, focused on the registration process and was primarily meant for first-time participants and those who hadn’t yet registered. The event was well attended by nearly 25 people with lots of information exchanged. Devin Cowens and Corinna Wollman shared their experiences with registering a trip and joining an existing ride as first-time participants.
See the recorded session on Adventure Cycling Association’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1DGtmySNzI
The second of the two virtual events was a lot of fun too. We posted a poll on the Bike Travel Weekend Facebook page and asked members of the group which topic they’d like to learn more about. The winning topic was how to select gear for a bike overnight adventure. In a follow-up webinar, Devin provided her expertise in leading group overnight rides for people of color and LGBTQ+ groups. Nearly 40 participants tuned in and asked questions and talked about the gear that they use on their own bike overnights!
See the recording of this session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI_6fJPqYkY
Bike Travel Weekend 2021 included 713 trips with more than 5,651 participants in both public and private rides. That’s an average of eight cyclists per trip! The event had trips in all 50 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and 15 countries across the globe! Everyone who registered to lead a ride or who joined an existing ride was entered to win a Co-Motion Americano bike. The first 250 people who registered to lead a trip also received a Bike Travel Weekend patch and sticker in the mail!
Wanderlust was clearly alive and well within the cycling community as thousands of cyclists all over the world actively sought out adventure by bicycle the first week of June. Many riders took to the road with destinations ranging from rustic campsites to boutique bed and breakfasts across the country. Other bike adventures included off-road trail excursions and gravel road adventures that gave participants an opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the outdoors. All of the stories, feedback, and photos Adventure Cycling has received point to this year’s Bike Travel Weekend as being one to remember!
“It is such an amazing way to introduce others to something that I love. Being there for someone’s first trip and seeing them find the joys of things they see, hear, and smell as they ride along is so fulfilling.” –Gary Davis, Ride Leader
This year’s Bike Travel Weekend focused on creating safe and inclusive bike adventures for underserved communities and marginalized populations across the United States. Devin Cowens, Adventure Cycling’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Coordinator spearheaded a project to allow for more diversity and inclusion in Bike Travel Weekend.
With support from Advisors, Volunteers, and Ride Leaders, Bike Travel Weekend trips promoted diversity and inclusion with a continued focus on making bicycle adventures accessible to everyone!
If you haven’t heard yet, Bike Travel Weekend is now a part of our new Bike Overnights Initiative, aimed at creating shorter and more accessible routes for cyclists to enjoy. The initiative will focus on creating short routes and a network of supportive Ambassadors in eight metro areas (Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Austin, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles).
Bike Overnights has already found associations in Bike Travel Weekend with 83 of the registered rides taking place in and around these eight metro areas. Seattle offered 17 rides, Minneapolis 15 rides, and San Francisco 10 rides this year. These rides provided numerous opportunities for hundreds of cyclists.
“Just keep it going!” –Mike Ciesielski
Didn’t get enough cycling adventure during Bike Travel Weekend? Explore by bicycle on September 25, 2021, for Bike Your Park Day! Along with thousands around the globe, you can ride to and through parks and public lands on the same day. Ride however long you like on roads, bike paths, or singletrack. Stop and enjoy a spectacular view, your favorite ice cream, or a cooling lake, and learn something new at a historical site. Share your joy and journey with friends and community while adventuring on your public lands by bicycle.
Thanks again to the volunteers and participants that made Bike Travel Weekend 2021 such a success! This year’s Bike Travel Weekend may be behind us with all those panniers unloaded and seat bags unpacked but we are already looking ahead to next year’s adventure!
Save the date for next year’s Bike Travel Weekend held June 3–5, 2022!