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USA Cycling Continues to Grow
In a report released yesterday by USA Cycling, the governing body for bicycle racing in the U.S. marks its seventh consecutive year of growth. Individual membership has increased by 6 percent and the number of affiliated clubs has increased by an impressive 10 percent. These are impressive numbers especially considering the current economy.
Like so many passionate bike advocates, my love for cycling began within the racing community. I am especially grateful to have been introduced to the sport through collegiate cycling, where school pride unifies cyclists of all abilities. There are very few sports that can weave their way into every facet of one’s life. During the weekday, I use my bike to get to work and to maintain a healthy lifestyle; while on the weekend, I use my bike to push my physical and psychological limits on the race course. The relationship between recreational and utilitarian cycling is inseparable; the success of one is in direct relationship to the other.
This reminds me of the League’s own history. In the early years, the League of American Wheelmen were not only responsible for paving roads and protecting cyclist's rights , they also officiated races. I recently came across an old race report in the New York Times archives from August of 1894 entitled, “More New Bicycle Records: Great racing at League of American Wheelmen meet.” In the late 1800s, before the fall of track racing, the League of American Wheelmen filled a similar role to that of the modern day USA Cycling. It’s interesting to think that I followed a similar path of the organization I work for.
And so, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing the sport continues to grow. Given more time I would love to see their membership data broken down by age and gender, but alas, I should really get back to work.