Tag Archives: cross country bike tour

Jim Sayer: The Big Money Business of Bike Touring

JS head shot 4.12
Adventure Cycling Association’s Executive Director Jim Sayer.

As winter turns to spring and the weather starts airing on the side of nice, cyclists give in to powerful daydreams of summer adventures to come. Staff meeting bullet points are lost to fantasies about dry singletrack in remote forests. Dreadful morning commutes in the pouring rain are rationalized as preparation for that big ride marked on a distant page of the calendar. And now, more than ever, those summer cycling trips are taking the form of bike tours. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but the cycling world is experiencing an undeniable bike travel boom, from fully supported luxury rides to self-supported cross-country tours to family bike rides out to the local park for a night of camping. Nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association has played a role in that growth. For the past 43 years, ACA’s been mapping routes, leading tours, and advocating for better bike touring conditions in North America. Executive Director Jim Sayer has been at the helm for the past 10 years. I spoke to Sayers about ACA’s work, his love for cycling and bike travel, bike tourism advocacy, the huge economic impact of bike travel, and more.

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Lowell Smoger: the Mechanical Engineer’s 5,000-Mile Job Hunt

Lowell and his Troll. Picture stolen from Facebook.

Fall 2010, Lowell Smoger finished his masters program in engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology and found himself–like many young Americans–high on smarts, degrees, and skills, but low on that all important, job-landing element, experience. Unlike many young Americans, however, Lowell didn’t move back in with his parents and start scouring Craigslist for job openings. He started planning a bike tour that would introduce him to America and maybe introduce him to a few bike industry folks along the way, as well.

I met Lowell this Labor Day weekend while he was stopped in Seattle. A college friend of mine, Hannah, had ridden with him for the first few weeks of the tour and had sent me a message telling me to meet up with her tour partner when he got to Seattle. Lowell, my girlfriend, and I spent an afternoon exploring nearby Bainbridge Island by bike. On the ferry ride over to the island, Lowell and I talked about his reasons for touring, his life on the road, his take on the kindness of strangers, and more.

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