Celebrating 40 Years: The Journey Is Just Beginning

March 23, 2015

Adventure Cycling Association will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2016, the anniversary of a 4,250-mile Trans-American bicycle ride called Bikecentennial during America’s bicentennial and brought together by the enthusiasm of thousands of cyclists, volunteers and supporters.  The 40th anniversary is a milestone for Adventure Cycling that will honor the past and look to the future of bike travel with events, tours and projects that will inspire new bike travelers of all ages and backgrounds.

A Bikecentennial '76 group nears the end of their trip. Photo by Dan Burden.
A Bikecentennial ’76 group nears the end of their trip. Photo by Dan Burden.

I’m fortunate to be the staff member who gets to implement the plans for Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary. And coincidentally, in the same year that Adventure Cycling celebrates 40 years I will celebrate my 40th birthday. I was born in the summer of 1976 during Bikecentennial. With this milestone approaching and the first two months of my new job at Adventure Cycling behind me, this is a new chapter for me, too. I’m already motivated by the innovative ideas of the founders of Bikecentennial and the advocacy work accomplished by my co-workers in the Travel Initiatives Department. I also can’t help but make a wish list of bike trips I’d like to experience as I listen to Bikecentennial riders talk about where their bikes have taken them.

The Adventure Cycling staff. Photo by Greg Siple.
The Adventure Cycling staff. Photo by Greg Siple.

This is just the beginning. Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary plans will continue to develop in the next several months and I will continue to be motivated by the Bikecentennial founders and riders, my co-workers and Adventure Cycling’s members.

Riders on the Trans-America Trail. Photo by Kathy Versluys.
Riders on the Trans-America Trail. Photo by Kathy Versluys.

Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary will be the biggest celebration of the bicycle since Bikecentennial. Plan to be at our headquarters in Missoula for the Montana Bicycle Celebration, July 15 – 17, 2016, for reunions, parties, bike rides, music, speakers, film, art, and Tour of Montana’s bicycle expo and professional bike races.

A group visits Adventure Cycling Association in Missoula, Montana. Photo by Greg Siple.
A group visits Adventure Cycling Association in Missoula, Montana. Photo by Greg Siple.

We are also working on details for National Bike Travel Weekend, an event that will inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to go on bike overnights on the same weekend. Another event, Bike to Your National Park Day, will celebrate Adventure Cycling’s 40th and the National Park Service’s centennial by encouraging bicycling in the national parks, state parks and other recreational areas.

A young bicyclist in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Lisa McKinney.
A young bicyclist in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Lisa McKinney.

Adventure Cycling will also honor the past with archival projects to preserve the memories of Bikecentennial riders. I have already talked to a handful of Bikcentennial riders and founders and have felt moved by what the ride meant to them. It was transformative to many. For some, it meant falling in love with another Bikecentennial rider. Others moved to a new community they visited along the Trans-America Trail. Some felt empowered to choose a different lifestyle or profession after overcoming the challenges of the 4,250 mile ride. Some felt renewed faith in the American people after experiencing generosity along the trail. Most agreed that it was a defining event or the most exciting event of their lives, and one that gave them the confidence to accomplish anything in life.

Bikecentennial '76 riders enjoy a picnic after a day of riding. Photo by William Weir.
Bikecentennial ’76 riders enjoy a picnic after a day of riding. Photo by William Weir.
A Bikecentennial '76 rider enjoys an extra large ice cream cone. Photo by Dan Burden.
A Bikecentennial ’76 rider enjoys an extra-large ice cream cone. Photo by Dan Burden.

Also, feel free to reach out to me if you are a Bikecentennial rider and want to stay in touch about the 40th anniversary or if you have interest in volunteering or participating in the 40th anniversary in some way.

My blog will appear every other Monday and will offer the latest on 40th anniversary events and projects and will include interviews with Bikecentennial riders and others involved with Adventure Cycling’s founding event.

It’s just the beginning of Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary and I’m confident you will be as inspired as I am from now until the end of 2016.

40th ANNIVERSARY HIGHLIGHTS is posted every other Monday by Adventure Cycling’s events and outreach coordinator, Eva Dunn-Froebig. Eva and guests will preview 40th anniversary events and projects and interview Bikecentennial cyclists. Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2016 will honor the past and look to the future of bicycle travel. Fill out this form to express your interest in the 40th anniversary. Celebrate the spirit of bicycle travel from the summer of Bikecentennial 76 by submitting your photos, stories, and words of wisdom from then and now, and any time in between in the comments below.

 

Comments

Dave Wagner April 7, 2015, 1:24 PM

In 1976 Bikecentennial product a week-by-week calendar book. I still have mine, I think! It would be great to see something like that published for the 40th as a commemoration.

"The surest thing there is is we are riders,

And though none too successful at it, guiders,

Through everything presented, land and tide

And now the very air, of what we ride."

John Ludway March 24, 2015, 8:58 AM

How are the Trans-Am signs holding up? A good way to get more youth involvement would be a national design competition for new signs along the route, or for signs along other routes.

Eva Dunn-Froebig March 31, 2015, 9:47 AM

I was told that the signs are already designed and are in the manual that transportation agencies use to officially sign all roads and highways. We aren't allowed to change them or self-sign. Here is more information about signing bicycle routes: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/us-bicycle-route-system/implement-a-us-bicycle-route/sign-a-us-bike-route/

Eva Dunn-Froebig March 30, 2015, 11:43 AM

Great suggestion! There are plans to re-sign the route. I will pass your idea on.

David Lindstrom March 26, 2015, 8:35 PM

Hi John Ludway . How Ya been?

Wayne Rucker March 24, 2015, 2:23 AM

Remember the book series "A Day in the Life" there were several, America, Australia etc etc.....why can't there be one of the Bikecentennial?

Eva Dunn-Froebig March 30, 2015, 11:41 AM

Wayne, there is a book is a book in the works. It's scheduled to be published next year. Thank you for your comment!

Mitch Zimmerman March 23, 2015, 4:39 PM

Very curious as to details of the 40th anniversary TransAmerica ride. My wife and were already planning to do the central TransAmerica route from West to East in 2016. We planned to do it self-supported and take our time (maybe 4 months?).

But we might be flexible and join a large group depending on the details.

Please keep us posted on the plans!!

Thanks

Mitch Zimmerman

( I am currently an Adventure Cycling member)

Eva Dunn-Froebig March 30, 2015, 11:46 AM

We will keep you posted!

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