Missoula, Montana - In 2010 big gains were made in Adventure Cycling Association's life member program, with 48 new life members joining the organization, a 37% increase over 2009.
While the total life members joining in a year is a relatively small number compared to the nearly 45,000 other memberships in the organization, life membership is a significant commitment, and one more and more members seem willing to make, despite the economy.
"In less stable economic times, people often turn to what is most important to them," said Julie Huck, Adventure Cycling's membership director. "Bicycle travel has a significant impact on people's lives and we're seeing a marked increase in people making the commitment to support Adventure Cycling and our programs by joining our organization as a life member."
Adventure Cycling has more than 1,500 life members. An individual life membership costs $1,000 while a joint life membership runs $1,500.
"My relationship with Adventure Cycling began back in the 70s, I loved reading the life member profiles in the magazine," said life member Donna Sakson, of Seattle, Washington. "But what sealed the deal for me is that life membership provides long-term support for the organization. In my opinion, this is a very important time to be a life member - to help maintain the organization's long-term strength."
In the past, life member funds have helped Adventure Cycling purchase its headquarters building - saving the Association thousands of dollars in interest payments - the savings was then put toward the creation of routes and other programs.
Adventure Cycling has been working to improve conditions for cyclists and bicycle travel since 1973 when it was established as Bikecentennial. Since then, the organization has mapped more than 40,000 mile of cycling routes throughout North America, led the way in working to create an official U.S. Bicycle Route System, and cultivated an award-winning bicycle-travel magazine, among other accomplishments.
"Since childhood, a bicycle, the open road, and the gadgetry of cycling in a self-supported fashion have sustained my love of bicycle touring. Adventure Cycling Association provides institutional support to this passion of mine," said life member Julian Shepard, attorney and counselor-at-law in Washington, DC. "I look forward to pedaling my way to the headquarters someday to meet the staff. In the meantime, I look forward to every issue of the magazine and to the joy of advocacy in partnership with Adventure Cycling on behalf of the U.S. Bicycle Route system."
For Barbara Murock and Carl Ferman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a joint life membership was their gift to each other on their wedding anniversary.
"Cycling has been a lifelong love of mine, which I have shared with our family, who have all become avid cyclists," said Ms. Murock. "We have had many great experiences and happy memories of cycling and became lifetime members for our anniversary as a way to honor its place in our lives and to support Adventure Cycling which as played a significant role in our enjoyment of bicycle travel."
An Adventure Cycling life membership provides a lifetime of benefits including: 9 issues of Adventure Cyclist magazine every year, access to Adventure Cycling's guided tours, discounts on the organization's world-renown cycling maps, a special life member jacket, and more.
Ms. Sakson added, "Another benefit is that you don't have to pay your dues every year and the magazines keep coming!"
Adventure Cycling Association enjoyed a much more robust year than expected in 2010, with record levels of revenue, map sales, tour participants, advertising in Adventure Cyclist magazine, and cycling visitors to its Missoula, Montana, headquarters.
"Our members and donors were a very significant part of our record-breaking year," said Ms. Huck. "We truly appreciate their support and look forward to inspiring them - and other cyclists - as we roll into 2011."
For more information about Adventure Cycling's life member program visit www.adventurecycling.org/life.