Participation in competitive cycling continues to climb
Colorado Springs, Colo. (December 4, 2008)—The sport of competitive cycling in the United States continues to grow according to the latest figures released today by USA Cycling.
For the sixth consecutive year, the number of licensed competitive cyclists has risen compared to the previous year, while the number of registered clubs and event sanctions also increased. Collectively, these categories represent the popularity of bike racing in America from a participation standpoint.
At the close of the 2008 license sales season on November 30, USA Cycling listed 63,280 licensees, a 2.9% increase over last year. In similar fashion, the number of sanctioned clubs rose 1.8% as USA Cycling listed 2,155 teams among its constituents. USA Cycling also sanctioned 2,551 events, a 3.1% jump from a year ago.
The growth in membership continues a six-year trend which has seen the number of licensed racers in America increase by 48% since 2002. Over that same period of time, the number of events sanctioned by USA Cycling has risen by 50%, while affiliated clubs have grown by 30%.
Many of the sport’s insiders point to the success and popularity of American athletes in cycling’s most notable events, such as the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, as a primary factor in the sport’s recent boom. The most significant growth occurred throughout Lance Armstrong’s dominant seven-year winning streak at the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005, while success by several other Americans on the sport’s biggest stage since then has encouraged continued interest. If history is any indication, cycling is poised for similar growth in 2009 following a five-medal performance in Beijing – the most successful ever for a U.S. Cycling Team at a non-boycotted Olympic Games – as well as a return to competitive cycling and the Tour de France by Armstrong. Factor in the 13 major internationally-sanctioned professional men’s and women’s races set to take place in the U.S. next year, as well as Armstrong’s commitment to race in February’s Tour of California, and the notoriety of the sport on U.S. soil next season is sure to reach new heights.
“Once again, we’re excited to witness continued growth in the sport of cycling,” commented Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. “The market for amateur sport in the United States is a competitive one with so many choices and opportunities available to athletes these days. That said, to experience another year of increased participation is very rewarding. Looking ahead, with the continued expansion of professional cycling opportunities both domestically and abroad, we hope and expect this growth trend to continue throughout 2009 and beyond.”
Broken down by specific disciplines and types of licenses, road, track and cyclo-cross grew by 3.2%, while mountain bike increased 1.2%. The number of professional riders in the U.S. rose 6.3% and the amount of student-athletes competing for collegiate clubs jumped 2.5%. Of all of its licensees, USA Cycling’s largest increase was in the number of licensed bike race officials, a figure that rose 17.6%.
About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization and sanctioning body, USA Cycling consists of 64,000+ members, including 57,000 competitive cyclists, 1,500 coaches, 4,000 student-athletes, 2,200 officials, 350 professional cyclists, and 200 certified mechanics. USA Cycling also sanctions 2,500 competitive and non-competitive organized cycling events throughout the United States annually, as well as 1,800 clubs and teams. Associations of USA Cycling include the United States Cycling Federation (road, track & cyclo-cross), the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), the BMX Association, the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the United States Professional Racing Organization. USA Cycling is also responsible for the identification, development, support and promotion of American cyclists through various athletic initiatives and programs including the USA Cycling National Development Team, the USA Cycling Women’s National Team, the USA Cycling Junior Development Team, Talent Identification and Regional Development Camps, domestic and international race calendars, direct athlete funding and support programs, and educational camps and seminars. USA Cycling also fields and supports U.S. National Teams for various international events, including the Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan American Games, Continental Championship and World Cups across all levels and disciplines of competitive cycling. USA cycling further supports grass roots and locally-based initiatives through its 32 Local Associations and comprehensive network of licensed and certified coaches and officials. Additionally, USA Cycling conducts National Championship events for amateur and professional cyclists, awarding more than 600 national titles annually to men and women in junior, U23, masters, elite, professional and paralympic categories throughout the various disciplines of competitive cycling. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org. For media-related or general inquiries, please contact USA Cycling Director of Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Article Published December 5, 2008 For more information contact: