Annual Membership MeetingFeb 27th, 2012 | By Jeff Stephens | Category: News
Why the surge in bicycle travel sweeping the nation and the world? Sheer happiness explains much of it, says Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling. Learn what else Sayer shared at our annual meeting Feb. 26.
(This article contributed by Kathy Hoke)
Consider Biking partnered with Adventure Cycling for its annual membership meeting.
Jeff Stephens, Executive Director of Consider Biking, presented highlights and accomplishments from 2011 and plans for their work in 2012 around seven specific initiatives: the 2 BY 2012 campaign, bike share system, downtown bike lanes, a west side bike hub, Safe Routes to School, local and federal advocacy, and special events. He acknowledged the Board, staff, interns, volunteers, and the members and donors that have provided support to make a positive impact on local communities.
Stephens then transitioned the presentation to Adventure Cycling by acknowledging the roots of the U.S. bicycle touring movement, the 1976 BikeCentennial movement, and the growth of the Adventure Cycling Association, back to Columbus natives Dan Burden and Greg Siple and their beloved TOSRV.
After decades of development, bicycle tourism is developing a surge in popularity, thanks in part to several cultural and economic trends, says Jim Sayer, executive director of Adventure Cycling, America’s bike-travel expert.
These include budget travel, frugality, do-it-yourself activities and buying food and other products from local sources.
In his Feb. 26 talk to more than 100 in Columbus, Sayer says these trends mesh well with Adventure Cycling’s mission. Founded in 1973 as part of the BikeCentennial, Adventure Cycling aims to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle for fitness, fun and discovery.
“Any bike is a touring bike,” Sayer said. “If you haven’t done a bike trip, do a bike overnight. If you screw up a bike overnight, you just have to go home.”
With 45,000 members, Adventure Cycling is America’s largest bicycling membership organization. Based in Missoula, Montana, the group was founded by four young adults from Columbus – Greg and June Siple and Dan and Lys Burden, with help from Charlie Pace.
In his talk at Consider Biking’s annual membership meeting, Sayer encouraged investment in both groups. “We’re not doing the same things.”
In addition to producing a magazine and content-rich website, Adventure Cycling advocates with the Federal Highway Administration on topics such as rumble strips and works collaboratively for the development of a national bike route network.
“Our goal is to have the largest bicycle route system in the world,” Sayer said.
Part of that system is Adventure Cycling’s Underground Railroad route, launched in 2007 and updated in 2009 with a Michigan loop. Hilliard resident Chuck Harmon played a key role in developing the route through Ohio and earned recognition several years ago as Adventure Cycling’s Volunteer of the Year.
As more of us travel by bicycle, local government and small business take notice and respond with investments in bicycle infrastructure and services.
Wisconsin, for example, enjoys $1 billion in annual revenue from bike travel and tourism, with half coming from people out of state.
“This is bigger than fishing, and bigger than deer hunting,” Sayer said.
The surge in bicycle travel is fueled mainly by the pursuit of happiness and self discovery, as well as the desire for community and connection, Sayer said.
“Bike travel brings people together,” he said.