Adventure Cycling Association enjoys banner year

As North America’s largest membership nonprofit cycling organization, Adventure Cycling‘s income and staff support the organization’s efforts to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle and improve conditions for bicycling and bicycle travel across the U.S.

New Maps and Sales Growth

In February 2012, Adventure Cycling released the second section of the Underground Railroad Detroit Alternate, a new routing option for cyclists wishing to travel between Oberlin, Ohio, and Owen Sound, Ontario. With the addition of this map section, the Adventure Cycling Route Network now encompasses 41,420 miles — the largest mapped network of bike-friendly routes in the world.

Research for Adventure Cycling’s next long-distance route, Bicycle Route 66, was finished this year as well. The complete route will be approximately 2,500 miles in length; maps will be available in late 2014. Research also began on a new dirt route connecting Idaho hot springs.


This year, Adventure Cycling’s total membership numbers hit an all-time high with 45,225 members. Overall, the program experienced a 5.5% growth rate, which caps a 20% growth rate in membership over the last decade.

The organization welcomed 120 new life members, double the number who joined in FY11, bringing the total number of life members to 1,733. Adventure Cycling’s life member program is a very popular way to support the organization; funds from life memberships are restricted to provide long-term support for the nonprofit. In the past, life member funds helped purchase Adventure Cycling’s headquarters and, this year, complete its renovation


Adventure Cycling experienced a record-setting year in tour signups and revenue, offering more than 50 guided cycling tours — including supported trips, self-contained tours, and educational courses. By the end of the season, 1,275 cyclists rode with Adventure Cycling on tour, a 33% increase in participation in one year.


In FY12, Adventure Cycling saw a 23% increase in charitable contributions, which totaled $712,982, in support of its outreach and program work to advance bicycling and bicycle travel.

Individual donations were up 50% over last year, however, grant funding dipped as several of the organization’s foundation supporters shifted their giving focus. Members and donors stepped up in a big way to raise over $250,000 to support the renovation and expansion of the organization’s Missoula, Montana, headquarters.

Members also gave to support Adventure Cycling’s work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System, and continue growing the Adventure Cycling Route Network, including a major re-route on the Northern Tier to address safety issues. Cycling businesses also supported the organization, with gifts ranging from sponsorships to product donations, which were used in raffles and the organization’s summer auction.

Looking Ahead

Work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS), an emerging official national network of cycling routes, will continue with even more states designating U.S. Bicycle Routes, completion of a best practices report to aid states in implementation of routes, and the signing of U.S. Bicycle Route 20 in Michigan. Adventure Cycling’s new Department of Travel Initiatives, which coordinates the USBRS, will focus part of its time to grow support and enthusiasm for bicycle tourism. Adventure Cycling will also continue work with other national cycling groups at the federal and state levels to improve bike-friendly policies and facility investments.

In FY13, the Adventure Cycling Tours Department will offer more than 70 trips (a 24% increase over FY12) featuring a diverse lineup of tours to accommodate a wide variety of touring styles and skills. 


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