The Future of Young Adult Bike Travel

January 6, 2015

Overland Summers Youth Group visit, July 2014

As we enter 2015, I look back and really feel fortunate to have spent most of my adult life working either as a teacher, a coach, or a librarian. I’m aware that the avenues for continuing one’s education are many, and even as I approach the half-century mark myself, I remain curious and eager to learn. Since being hired by Adventure Cycling in 2013 as a Tours Specialist, I have been thrilled to learn that part of our organizational mission and strategic plan is to embrace a broader and more diverse membership including more youth and young-adult cyclists and to find ways to help them become leaders in bike travel across the U.S. From this broadening and diverse membership and advocate base, I believe the future of Adventure Cycling Association and the furthering of our mission can be carried on for generations if we nurture it and follow through.

One of the ways Adventure Cycling is supporting and nurturing a younger cyclist community is to offer the 2015 Young Adult Bike Travel Scholarship program. The scholarship program aims to provide young adults, ages 18-25, with access to bicycle travel through participation in one of our Educational Courses. Upon completion of the course, scholarship recipients will perform outreach activities for their communities and peers to promote the activity of bicycle touring. Last year we awarded the first scholarships to Alice Viana and John Nguyen, from Chicago and Houston respectively. To learn more about their stories, read a blog post about their goals and accomplishments. We are currently accepting 2015 applicants, with applications being accepted through February 1, 2015. We are grateful for our donors and others members who have supported this program and would also like to thank our corporate sponsors: Big Agnes, Arkel and Old Man Mountain.

Alice Viana & John Nguyen at IRT-Oregon, July 2014

We also support the development of young-adult bike travel leaders by advocating at outdoor leadership conferences to reach out to and inspire others. This past November, I was fortunate to attend the 2014 AORE Conference in Portland, Oregon. It was a new experience for me and great to be in the midst of many high-velocity, high-powered outdoor recreational leaders and mentors. One of my main goals was to suggest ways that outdoor leadership programs can incorporate Adventure Cycling’s mission and our educational bike-travel courses like the Leadership Training Course (LTC) and Intro to Road Touring into their curriculum and program offerings. For the first time, Adventure Cycling is offering Intro to Road Touring-Under 30 courses as part of our guided-tours slate in 2015. At AORE, I met so many bright and enthusiastic leaders and educators who wanted to offer similar courses in their programs, and who we would love to partner with in the future. Suffice it to say, I was very inspired by their interest in Adventure Cycling’s mission, educational courses and advocacy and plan to follow through developing these relationships.

It is important that we bring our strategic planning and goals to life every day, every month, year to year here at Adventure Cycling. This past year we saw an increase in youth and young-adult bike-travel group visits to our Missoula, Montana headquarters — groups like the Jett Ride (Oregon to New Jersey), Bike & Build (Providence, RI to Seattle) and Overland Summers (Banff to Missoula, pictured above) to name a few. It was our pleasure to meet and host these groups passing through last summer and we hope to see many more young bike travelers and leaders come through in the future.

Since our tours are available to members only, now is a great time to join Adventure Cycling. Join today and we'll send you a copy of our 2015 Bicycle Travel Calendar, and enter you into a raffle for some great prizes in 2015.

If you are looking for ways to get involved as a bike-tour leader, or you know someone who is, join Adventure Cycling, apply for or donate to our Young Adult Bike Travel Scholarship, and attend one of our educational courses to hone your bike-travel leadership skills in 2015. Hope to see you in Missoula, at an LTC and beyond!

Post by Darrah Rogers | Photo 1 by Greg Siple | Photo 2 by Ruth Miller 

ON THE ROAD is written by the tours team — Lydia, Darrah, Mike, Mandy, and Arlen — tours specialists and intrepid bicyclists, covering all things related to the Adventure Cycling tours department. Check out our 2015 Guided Tours today!


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