Letter from the ED
As we emerge into the post-COVID world, a key theme of 2023 is reconnection. We’re excited about the work that’s happening to reconnect with our community and to engage with new riders. At the mid-point of 2023, it’s a great time to celebrate the work we've accomplished so far.
We hope you are all enjoying the redesign of Adventure Cyclist Magazine! We’ve received a lot of great emails and letters from members and appreciate hearing from you! In routes, we've completed 10 of the 17 map updates and are gearing up to start receiving submissions for Short Routes (more to come on this soon).
We’ve also started our listening journey, and Adventure Cycling will host four outreach events in Colorado and Montana this year, as well as attending three cycling festivals geared towards women and adventure riding. Adventure Cycling Ambassadors have started their projects to support emerging riders in their community and help us create more awareness about bike travel. You can read about them here.
This spring, Adventure Cycling staff attended industry events Bike and Pike Expo and Sea Otter, reconnecting with our beloved cycling community and introducing 200+ attendees (cyclists and industry professionals) to the concept of adventure cycling and our mission. Tours: 269 people have finished a tour with us this year. Bike travel season is just getting started, and we’re expecting to host 1,148 participants on Adventure Cycling’s Guided Tours in 2023.
Over the past few months, Adventure Cycling’s program leadership team has outlined a path to further our mission and increase participation in bike travel across our core activities. Our mission is to help people travel by bike — for a weekend, a week, or a month — and whether this is a first trip, or a 100th, we continue to build and promote the infrastructure and resources to access bike travel. Some of you asked what it means to provide EPIC Experiences through Access, and below are the impact goals we’ve outlined for 2023.
Continuing the theme of reconnection, we've planned a series of live stream events throughout the summer and fall to share more about our work. In mid-June, we hosted a live webinar for the USBRS program. In August, we’ll host a live stream about our Short Routes, and in November, we’ll host another to share our plans for 2024 and an update from the board. Look for sign-up information in the member newsletter or visit the Calendar of Events section of the website to register for each event (registration form coming soon).
We hope to see you at any of our events, whether that’s online or on road, so we can continue to connect and discover what it is you love about bicycle travel and Adventure Cycling.
I've been with Adventure Cycling since 2010, coming aboard first as a part-time grad student with a 1-year-old baby boy at home. I started by working on map updates in Adobe Illustrator, then was hired full-time as the org's second-ever GIS Specialist in 2011. The first major route I worked on was the much publicized and unprecedented realignment of the Northern Tier away from the Bakken Oil Fields in northern North Dakota. Since then, I’ve managed route research, Adventure Cycling's geospatial data bank, and been chief cartographer for Route 66, Texas Hill Country, Chicago-to-NYC, Arkansas High Country, the 2018 Great Divide map revamp, Parks Peaks and Prairies, and many other route revision projects.
If not cycling, then I am on my feet going far and uphill somewhere. My first love was backpacking, which was parlayed into thru-hiking (I've thru-hiked the AT, PCT, and much of the CDT), which was parlayed into ultrarunning. Now I just like pushing hard uphill. In winter I can be found at Snowbowl, trying to one-up my 9-year-old on the road-cut jumps. (He's winning now, but I float better on powder!) As a family, we are trying to graduate to longer river trips involving extended overnights, but this is slow going since I am still firmly rooted to dry lands.
The Great Divide was without a doubt a favorite bike ride. But equally memorable are the micro-jaunts from my front door. One such experience was heading up Deer Creek Road one morning and coming out two days later above Florence, Montana, in the Bitterroot Valley after having crossed the northern Sapphires and Miller Peak. A journey I've repeated with my sons is the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, and I still inflate with pride thinking about my 7-year-old weathering 35 miles in driving rain and never complaining.
Lessons learned? There are bike routes everywhere, like a nearly inexhaustible amount in and around our home alone. Don't over plan, or you'll be less likely to invite the adventure that comes with going off-script. Practice short-term memory loss if there are struggles. Morning wipes the entire slate clear. Just keep going.
We just finished our spring Board meeting in Denver, the first time we did an in-person meeting away from Missoula. We missed being “home” in Missoula, but as a national organization, we wanted to expand our meeting locations. It was wonderful to reconnect with people in person. Reconnection is becoming a theme as we consider the work staff is doing to reconnect with our established and emerging riders through gatherings throughout the U.S. Look for more news on that in the coming year as well as topic-specific webinars listed above by staff.
The Governance committee has been working on recruiting new Board members as two longtime board members reach the end of their term limits in the next year and a half. We’re excited to bring on one new board member mid-year this year — welcome Audrey! You can read her bio online. Her energy and enthusiasm for cycling and travel will give us a fresh perspective! Since we expanded the size of the board to 12 members, we have a few vacancies to fill after our board members step off in the next 18 to 24 months. If you are interested, please check out our Board of Directors page and submit an interest form. We are particularly interested in chatting with people who have experience in digitization, mapping, and non-profit experience.
The Finance committee has been working and supporting staff as they update and launch new systems and technologies for organizational management and program budgets. This “under the hood” work touches the entire organization and will help everyone plan, forecast, and execute programs more efficiently, and we recognize that implementing new systems is challenging. As a Board, we appreciate the staff’s hard work and the amount of work that has been done in a short period of time on this project.
Looking ahead, we’re starting a new round of strategic planning and have pulled together a small committee to move that work forward. Key to this process is building on the work of the last strategic plan and reviewing the current context of the world. We’re lucky that getting outside and exploring the world continues to be an important priority for many people. Our goal is to put together a simple but clear working document that can provide focus for everyone: staff, Board, and members – new and existing! Our aim is to make sure Adventure Cycling continues to grow the number of people who want to travel by bike through inspirational and engaging programs.
Always, thanks for your support as we build toward a greater and more connected community of bicycle travelers!