MUP (Michigan Upper Peninsula) is July 5-12, 2024; Shoreline is August 3-10, 2024.
The last handful of years has shown that life is different, as we’ve come through the pandemic. Costs of holding events have skyrocketed over the last few years. Volunteerism for events lasting longer than one day is at a low point. Financially, organizations like ours are at the tipping point of breaking even.
With some of these things in mind, we’ve had to take a step back and evaluate what is working and what’s not – not only for LMB, but for our riders, volunteers, supporters, members, and the cycling community at large. The scope of the events that we organized in 2022 and 2023 was no small feat, and the toll is showing on our staff, volunteers and finances. In 2022, we came back from a two-year hiatus and added a third week-long tour, the Michigander. In 2023, we expanded further, brought back HUB Fest and pivoted Sunrise Adventure to the fall.
At the end of the 2023 season, I had to take a step back and look at the last two years weighed against the last decade of historical data from our events. I discovered that we need to host the events that do well from a registration standpoint and make those events sustainable for the long term. Once that is accomplished, we can start layering additional programming and events back in.
For 2024, we will offer MUP in the Upper Peninsula from July 5-12, 2024. We will also offer Shoreline on the coast of the Great Lakes from August 3-10, 2024, in addition to Bicycle and Trail Advocacy Day in May and Silver Bells in November.
Based on rider registration numbers over the last few years and other factors, we’ve decided to put Michigander, Sunrise and HUB Fest on the shelf until we can get our flagship tours to full capacity. These decisions were made by surveying and talking with riders and key volunteers, as well as holding discussions with many other event organizers across North America. This is not a decision we take lightly.
Some of the shelved events may have a place alongside our weeklong tours. For example, the folks behind Sunrise Adventure out of the Alpena area and HUB Fest in Tecumseh, MI already are in discussions to have a role in Shoreline. Stay tuned to hear what’s in the works for these opportunities.
I’m not going to lie: Michigander has been a challenge for us. It was on the decline before we took it over, and it really needed attention and some innovation to become a stronghold of the touring circuit once again. After two years, it’s not there yet and we need to step back from it. We are so thankful to our friends at Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance for allowing us to take this event over, and we want the community to know we’re talking about how we can bring it back in the future with the flair that it had in its first years.
LMB has also been working to form a larger partnership with the Michigan Gravel Race Series (MGRS). LMB will have a significant presence in the Series in 2024, and we’re looking forward to sharing some of these developments and partnership announcements in 2024.
With all great things comes change. We are at a pivotal moment in this organization where we can embrace the change or watch our ridership, supporters, finances, and numbers dwindle. I came to LMB to help resuscitate these events and bring them to new strength. I’m also tasked with bringing broader programming, events and community outreach via our events to the cycling community at large. This is the next step in achieving that goal.
All we ask from you is to have an open mind, come on out and support our events in whatever way you can. It all makes a HUGE impact! Whether you are a rider, volunteer, sponsor, or even a vendor, you help move the needle forward and allow us to continue our great work here in Michigan.
Registration for both MUP and Shoreline will open for LMB members on Jan. 2 at noon, and for the general public on Jan. 17 at noon.
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