November 16, 2015
National Bike Travel Weekend kicks off on June 3 – 5, 2016 with thousands of people taking a one or two night bike trip in the U. S. and Canada, all on the same weekend. There will be big groups, small groups, and solo bike travelers taking bike overnight trips of 5 to 100 miles, to campgrounds, parks, hotels, B & Bs, and friends’ backyards. All of the trips will be independently organized, and everyone can take advantage of an array of fun online DIY resources, including an interactive map where you can view the location of the trips, read trip details, and join a trip or add your own.
This prolific weekend of bike travel is part of Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2016. As events & outreach coordinator, it has been exciting to observe—and be part of—the enthusiasm for National Bike Travel Weekend throughout North America. I recently chatted with Steven Powell, the national volunteer coordinator for National Bike Travel Weekend, about how the event is coming together.
I understand that you’ve assembled a network of over 160 volunteer ambassadors to help people plan their own bike overnight trips. Who are these ambassadors?
This is a really unique part of National Bike Travel Weekend. The volunteer ambassadors are from over 40 states and one Canadian province (so far), and they are eager to share their local and regional knowledge of bike-friendly routes and overnight accommodations. I’d like to introduce just a few of them:
How can someone get started and what can they do now?
First, explore the National Bike Travel Weekend webpages.
I won’t spoil the fun by detailing all of these new webpages, but if you’ve never taken a bike overnight trip, be sure to follow the “Get Inspired” link which will take you to our newly updated bikeovernights.org website for examples of the various types of trips, what to take with you, how to pack, plus a ton of useful stuff for the newbie and experienced bike traveler.
I hear that Adventure Cycling is giving away 501 bicycles in conjunction with National Bike Travel Weekend. Is that true?
Yes! We will be giving away 500 little bicycle keychains to the first 500 people who register their National Bike Travel Weekend trip. We will also draw a name from all of the registered trips and give away one custom-painted 40th anniversary Salsa Marrakesh touring bicycle.
Do you have to be an Adventure Cycling member to participate in National Bike Travel Weekend?
No! Our mission with this initiative, and everything we do, is to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle, whether you are an Adventure Cycling member or not. The most important thing is for you and your family and friends to get on bikes and experience the fun, usefulness, and magic of bicycle travel.
What are your plans on National Bike Travel Weekend?
I’ll be teaming up with my local cycling club to organize a bike overnight trip especially for young people and families. We will bicycle along the Erie Canal towpath trail in upstate New York to Fairport, where we will camp and take advantage of the showers and swimming pool. There’s a hot tub, too. We make it really easy for first time bike travelers.
Will National Bike Travel Weekend become an annual event?
Yes, we certainly hope so. While June 3 – 5, 2016 will be the largest-ever weekend of bicycle travel in North America, it would be great to see it grow each year.
On a personal side, is coordinating volunteers for National Bike Travel Weekend the only thing you do?
Besides this volunteer role, I’m a tour leader for Adventure Cycling, and in 2016 I'll be leading the new self-contained tour on Hawaii's Big Island. On the professional side, I have a research job that takes me to cold remote places in the winter to study the Aurora Borealis. It’s a perfect setting to dream about warm weather bike travel and all those great trips being planned for National Bike Travel Weekend!
Interview courtesy of Steven Powell. Images 1 and 3 courtesy of Adventure Cycling Association, images 2, 4 & 5 courtesy of Steven Powell, and image 6 courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center, Earth Science & Remote Sensing Unit, ISS Expedition 30 crew.
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Adventure Cycling Association with Bike Your Park Day on September 24. Ride to or within your favorite parks and public lands with thousands of other throughout the country on the same day. Register at BikeYourParkDay.org. Thank you to the 40th anniversary sponsors: Raleigh Bicycles, Montana Department of Commerce, Salsa Cycles, Advocate Cycles, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, Primal Wear, Visit Mississippi, Visit Idaho, Travel Oregon, Osprey Packs, Experience Plus!, Destination Missoula and Missoulian.
Find out more about Adventure Cycling’s generous sponsors.