Largest North American cycling group’s revenue and capacity expanding
Missoula, Montana — Adventure Cycling Association today announced a strong financial and programmatic showing for FY11, capping a decade of growth for the organization, during which time its membership has increased 19%, map sales 48%, and charitable donations have tripled. The organization now operates with a $4.1 million dollar budget, up 65% over the last ten years.
Adventure Cycling’s overall capacity is expanding as well. In 2011 the organization hired its first full-time development director along with a new assistant, as well as budgeting for expansion in its publications, media, and information technology departments for the coming year.
As North America’s largest membership nonprofit cycling organization — with nearly 44,000 members — Adventure Cycling’s income and staff support the organization’s efforts to improve conditions for bicycling and bicycle travel across the U.S. and provide resources and inspiration for people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
Jim Sayer, Adventure Cycling’s executive director said, “Adventure Cycling is growing in nearly every way possible and it’s helping us grow awareness and support for bicycle travel throughout North America.”
In FY11 Adventure Cycling saw a 24% increase in charitable contributions in support of its advocacy and program work to advance bicycling and bicycle travel.
Individual donations were up 23% over last year. Members and donors appreciated the group’s ongoing work to establish an official U.S. Bicycle Route System, as well as the association’s work on federal and state transportation policy. Along with donations, Adventure Cycling supports these programs by securing grant funds from foundations, which increased 27% in 2011.
In the last ten years, charitable contributions have more than tripled, with the majority of that growth happening in the past two years, when contributions have increased 100%.
“We are completely astounded at the generosity of our members and donors and their commitment to furthering the cause of bicycle travel,” said Amanda Lipsey, Adventure Cycling’s development director. “Everything we are able to do to support riders out on the road is a direct result of our member contributions.”
New Maps and Sales Growth
In August 2011, Adventure Cycling released the first 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, Adventure Cycling’s Route Network now encompasses 40,974 miles — the largest mapped network of bike-friendly routes in the world. Section 2 of the Detroit Alternate will be available in February 2012.
The organization’s popular bicycle-touring maps are available online at Cyclosource. In 2011 the sales department saw a modest 2.2% increase in overall map sales, selling more than 32,400 maps for the year. However non-member sales revenue jumped 14% over 2010, with 70% of that growth stemming from map sales. Total sales revenue increased 7% in 2011, with the average order size up 4% over 2010.
In the last decade, Adventure Cycling’s map sales have grown 48%, and total sales revenue has grown 66%.
“The explosion of map sales over the last ten years attests to the powerful impact of our mission,” said Teri Maloughney, sales and marketing director. “We’re getting more people out there traveling by bike!”
Membership and Adventure Cyclist Magazine
Adventure Cycling’s total membership numbers dipped slightly in 2011, down 2.7% compared to 2010. In the last decade however the association’s membership has grown nearly 19%.
Membership renewals were stronger than 2010, increasing 3.7% and inquiries (people asking about services and member benefits) grew 5% with over 13,800 requests for more information. Adventure Cycling also attracted 237 bike shop members and 133 club memberships.
The organization welcomed 47 new life members in 2011, bringing the total number of life members to 1,636. Adventure Cycling’s life member program is a very popular way to support the organization and it has grown 62% in the last decade. An individual life membership costs $1,000, while a joint life membership runs $1,500.
Advertising in Adventure Cycling’s membership magazine, Adventure Cyclist, increased 3.2% over 2010. Published nine times each year, Adventure Cyclist features bicycle-travel stories from around the world, how-to information, gear reviews, and more, reaching more than 87,000 readers annually. Adventure Cyclist is the association’s number one member benefit, along with discounts on maps.
Adventure Cycling Association’s nearly 44,000 members represent every state in the U.S. with the most members residing in California and the fewest in North Dakota. 1,492 live outside of U.S. with 52 countries represented. From Austria to the United Arab Emirates with Luxembourg, Malaysia, Slovakia, and Swaziland in the mix, members reside and travel all around the globe.
Business membership support doubled in 2011 compared to 2010. “Our May social media fundraiser for the U.S. Bicycle Route System continues to draw new companies to the program,” said Amy Corbin, membership and marketing coordinator.
Working closely with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Adventure Cycling’s leadership in the creation of an official U.S. Bicycle Route System is attracting many new supporters to the organization. It’s also creating important alliances between the association, other cycling organizations, and transportation officials on the state and national levels.
Although Adventure Cycling experienced a small decline in participation and tour revenue in 2011, it has maintained an average growth rate of more than 10% over the past 3 years. Offering 43 guided cycling tours — including supported trips, self-contained tours, and educational courses — more than 960 cyclists rode with Adventure Cycling during the 2011 season.
Since 2001 Adventure Cycling’s tours department has doubled its offerings and more than doubled revenue. “We have been adjusting our tour schedule to meet the needs of our membership,” said Arlen Hall, Adventure Cycling’s new tours director. “We’ve added inn-to-inn tours, which are self-contained, as well as a full line of van-supported tours. Both are very popular types of trips.”
In early October, Adventure Cycling announced its guided tours schedule for 2012, offering 56 bike trips for the coming year. “In the first six weeks of sign ups, we have already seen a 60% increase in tour signups compared to the same period last year. Five tours have sold out and more than twelve are 50% full,” said Hall. “If the trends continue, we are looking forward to a record setting year.”
What’s in Store for FY12?
In the coming year, Adventure Cycling will continue research on its next long-distance bicycle route, Bicycle Route 66, as well as continue work to convert its existing routes using GIS (Geographic Information Systems), which will allow for easier and more timely updates of its maps. In addition, the organization plans to expand its spring campaign for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, combining what has been primarily a social-media driven effort with its annual appeal for the project. Adventure Cycling also plans to bolster and promote its popular new web resource: BikeOvernights.org, hoping to reach aspiring touring cyclists and bike commuters looking for local adventure.
Adventure Cycling is also expanding its Missoula, Montana-based headquarters to allow for the addition of 12-15 new staff over the next 5-8 years. The expansion should be completed by the end of May 2012, and is made possible by life member contributions and donations from Adventure Cycling members.
“It’s a great sign when you’re growing by every metric imaginable — revenue, staff, enthusiasm, building space — and we’re looking forward to a fantastic 2012,” said Sayer.
Learn more about Adventure Cycling Association at www.adventurecycling.org.